Bourgeon, an arts magazine for the unpretentious, has now published a book featuring the works and voices of 50 local D.C. artists. The book’s group show held at Tryst on 18th Street on Thursday, May 9, 2013 featured selected works by three of the artists represented in the book, curated by Elizabeth Grazioli CEO of ArtSee, a local arts consultancy.
The Bourgeon book, Bourgeon: Fifty Artists Write About Their Work, is a project of the non-profit Day Eight and the brainchild of general editor, Robert Bettmann.
While the art presented may not meet the expectations of the art-elite it is no less representative of the passion of expression that is at the core of every artistic experience. The Bourgeon art philosophy boldly contends with the elitist assumption that good art must be inaccessible.
In the preface, arts journalist Leonard Jacobs exclaims, “At precisely the moment the nonprofits arts world hungers and thirsts for something that feels like unity, common purpose and cohesion, we are pitted against each other; faction against faction” (Bourgeon, xiii).
Outside of publishing, Bourgeon is many things: an artists’ collective; a nonprofit endeavor for culture, taste, and diversity; a passionate project to make the arts more accessible physically and intellectually; and a provocative alternative to the sometimes exclusive, academic, commercialized, competitive art world.
Featuring artists working in contemporary and traditional styles in dance, visual arts, and poetry – working in many mediums, the Bourgeon project encompasses the diversity of D.C. arts outside the galleries and museums.
The exhibition honed in on the diversity of the Bourgeon book, while only representing a mere 6% of the book. Featuring a photographer, a painter-collagist, and a watercolorist the exhibition holds true to the breadth of style, technique, and aesthetic represented in the book.
Camille Mosley-Pasley’s “Mama Love” photography series is well-titled. The warmth of maternal love exuding from each image is breathtaking. Her work is like that of commercial family portraiture but with the keen sense of a true artist, in composition and inspiration. Her essay in the book points to her father’s photography as artistic inspiration and sheds light on the familial themes in her work.
Megan Coyle calls her collage technique “painting with paper.” Her small handcrafted collages of D.C. cityscapes and nature are constructed of layers of magazine clippings, which are carefully selected based on lighting and shading. Each work consists of a purposefully-constructed color palette ultimately resulting in a well-crafted artwork.
Michele Banks examines microorganisms in her quilt-like watercolors. Her work consists of brightly colored grids, each box featuring a stunningly-detailed study of cells or other small living things. Her work bridges the gap between the sciences and the arts.
While the audience of Tryst is not the usual well-established, well-to-do, older stereotypical collector demographic, young Millennial-hipster newbies in art collecting should also be exposed to the opportunity to collect art.
In partnering with Tryst Bourgeon provides the opportunity for young people to explore the beginnings, or continuation, of their own private collections. Art collecting newbies can approach the Bourgeon exhibition with confidence knowing that as a “for-us, by-us” artist initiative the Bourgeon artists are peer-reviewed and advised by a committee. So the artwork represented has been properly vetted.
For those interested in beginning to explore art for themselves but are not yet ready to make the commitment to open their lives to a permanent art fixture in their homes or offices, the Bourgeon book is a good introduction into the works, styles, techniques, and aesthetics of D.C. artists.
Elizabeth Grazioli’s curation of the book show compliments both Bourgeon’s and Tryst’s personalities. The framing is casual and the hanging of works displays creative ingenuity that customers can re-create for their own home collections.
The show is well-constructed. Even without a distinct narrative the groupings of the works are reflective of composition, contrast, and concept. The works complement one another, despite their vast differences.
Being open to collaboration with local venues and organizations, Bourgeon has established a reputation for discerning taste in local art. Many of the Bourgeon artists have successfully sold their work, or had their work exhibited in local shows, offices, and even some galleries. Their Kickstarter.com project to fund the book, begun almost a year ago, met its donation goal in under a month, and gained them the attention of many art supporters including ArtSee.
Many of the artists, committee advisers and supporters of Bourgeon the magazine and the book are involved in other D.C. based art organizations including the D.C. Advocates for the Arts. Thus, Bourgeon is a representation of the multifaceted arts management, advocacy, and programming of D.C.
by Kayleigh Bryant
Original Publication URL: http://www.examiner.com/article/bourgeon-exemplifies-multifaceted-d-c-arts-scene