Hand Workshop Art Center
1812 West Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220


The galleries at the Hand Workshop Art Center always have something special to see.  Be sure to join us on opening night for each new exhibition—our openings are a Richmond tradition. 

Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 11-7, Saturday 10-4, Sunday 1-4.
The galleries are free and open to the public. Get directions.

In the Galleries

Adaptation Syndrome: Painting in Contemporary Image Culture
January 21 – March 13, 2005

Adaptation Syndrome considers the role of painting in a contemporary culture that abounds with visual images, where communication has shifted from a verbal language to visual, digital, and electronic ones.

Sylvan Lionni, Pick 6, 2002
Acrylic on canvas, 32 x 84 inches
Courtesy Fusebox, Washington, DC
(click for larger version)

n this kaleidoscope of images, the most persuasive means of visual production no longer rests with artists, but with media gurus, theme-park designers, genetic scientists, fashion photographers, the military, advertising designers, and computer engineers. When almost anyone can create an arresting visual image, how do painters respond? Curated by Dinah and Paul Ryan of Staunton, Virginia, the exhibition illuminates the ways in which painters interact inventively with image culture, addresses some of the questions that have arisen about visual art, spectacle and entertainment, and invites a creative dialogue about this interaction.

The 12 artists in Adaptation Syndrome come from diverse areas of the U.S. and from abroad. Through a wide range of technical practices, their work represents a variety of image sources and cultural references, including medical and scientific imagery, advertising, custom car culture, the computer, fashion, kitsch, and issues concerning privacy and surveillance. At the same time, their paintings possess an artistic and conceptual integrity that exists separately from their source material. Sylvan Lionni’s paintings, for example, while pulled directly from patterns in such everyday things as lotto tickets and web designs, read as abstractions that refer to modernist painting of the last century, in which the artist’s hand plays a major role. Alternately, painters like Margaret Evangeline, who uses a handgun to score her panels, and Rosemarie Fiore, who allows machines such as theme park rides and lawnmowers to literally make the marks in her work reclaim an increasingly mechanized visual language for painting.

Participating artist Ziga Kariz will travel to Richmond from his home in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to create an on-site installation entitled The Private Future. Combining wall paintings with other elements, his installation will be on view at the Reynolds Gallery beginning February 4. Also featured in the show are works by Ron Johnson, an assistant professor of painting at VCU, as well as Scott Barber, Jane Callister, Shirley Kaneda, Jeff McMahon, John Pomara, Daniel Raedeke, and Vincent Szarek.

Adaptation Syndrome: Painting in Contemporary Image Culture is made possible with generous assistance from the Department of Painting & Printmaking, School of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, and from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton.

Coming to the Galleries

A Random Portrait of Virginia: Photographs by Glen McClure
April 1 – May 15, 2005

Previous Exhibition

The Long Day: Sculpture by Claudette Schreuders
This exhibition, the artist’s first to travel in the U.S., featured 11 new sculptures and a selection of recent prints. Read our news release for details.

Artist Nancy Blum in Residence This Fall

HWAC will host New York-based sculptor Nancy Blum as part of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s (MAAF) Creative Artists’ Residency Program, which focuses this year on contemporary ceramic sculpture. Arriving in mid-October, Blum will work on site for at least one month. Her MAAF-sponsored residency is one of nine taking place in 2004 throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The new work produced by Blum and the other participants will form an exhibition opening next March at the Maryland Art Place in Baltimore.

Blum’s porcelain-and-cast-bronze Lotus Pond was featured in the exhibition North American Ceramic Sculpture Now, seen at HWAC this past spring. She has served as an artist-in-residence at venues throughout North America, most recently at Hunter College in New York City and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. The recipient of a 2001 Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, Blum is currently completing a 77-foot-long wall installation commissioned for the Seattle/Tacoma International Airport.

^ Top

Previous Exhibitions

Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Arts (ended Oct. 17, 2004)

Sculptural objects of extraordinary beauty, dazzling craftsmanship, and great sophistication, bamboo baskets have long been prized in Japan for their formal qualities and utilitarian functions. For centuries, they have played an integral and cherished role in the formal tea ceremony and flower arranging – activities with profound artistic and philosophical meaning in Japanese culture. In the 1950s, some bamboo artists began to emphasize self-expression over utility, considering the basket as primarily an aesthetic object rather than a functional container for flowers.

This exhibition features 35 works selected by Robert Coffland, director of the TAI Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a specialist on bamboo arts who has traveled extensively in Japan for over 20 years. “The possibilities for artistic expression with bamboo as a material are limitless.” he notes. The range of approaches represented in the exhibition underscores his observation, revealing dramatically different outcomes. While certain artists continue to reinterpret traditional aspects of this art form with exquisite results, others readily embrace experimentation in freer form works that synthesize Eastern traditions with an array of contemporary influences. “Anyone who is interested in sculpture,” Coffland says, “will find this show fascinating.”

Loans to the exhibition include works from the Cotsen Collection, acknowledged by Japanese and Western experts as the most comprehensive group of bamboo baskets in existence. For collector Lloyd Cotsen, Japanese bamboo baskets are “truly works of sculpture,” as well as windows into “a long cultural tradition” that strikes a harmonious balance “between the visual and the visceral.”

Speaking about the appeal of these objects, he explains, “I was attracted by the tensions created by the balancing of forces: of cohesion and chaos, structure and nature, refinement and exuberance, and ultimately, simplicity and complexity.” This exhibition also includes a selection of portraits of the artists by Los Angeles-based photographer, Art Streiber.

Individuals profiled will include Living National Treasure Hayakawa Shokosai V, as well as Nagakura Kenichi and Kawano Shoko, winners of the Cotsen Prize, a biannual competition established by Loyd Cotsen in 2000 for younger bamboo artists.

Fujinuma Noboru, Spring Tide, 1997, 22 ½ diameter x 12 ½ inches. Collection of Lloyd Cotsen. Photograph by Pat Pollard. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Yamaguchi Ryuun, Tide Wave, c. 1990, 20 x 19 x 16 inches. Collection of Lloyd Cotsen. Photograph by Pat Pollard. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Torii Ippo, Wind Wave, 2002, 20 ½ x 18 x 15 inches. Courtesy Tai Gallery, Santa Fe. Photograph by Lois Ellen Frank. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Floral arrangements for the opening were provided by Ikebana of Richmond. Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Arts is made possible in part by Maruchan Virginia, Inc. and Wako Chemicals USA, Inc.

Featured Bamboo artists include:

Abe Motoshi
Fujinuma Noboru
Fujitsuka Shosei
Hatakeyama Seido
Hayakawa Shokosai V
Higashi Kiyokazu
Higashi Takesonosai
Honda Shoryu
Honma Hideaki
Honma Kazuaki
Iida Seiseki

Iizuka Shokansai
Kajiwara Aya
Kajiwara Koho
Katsushiro Soho
Kawano Shoko
Kawashima Shigeo
Kosuge Fuunsai Kogetsu
Minoura Chikuho
Monden Kogyoku
Nagakura Kenichi
Nakatomi Hajime

Nebayashi Jiro
Shono Tokuzo
Sugita Jozan
Tanabe Takeo
Tanaka Kyokusho
Torii Ippo
Watanabe Shochikusai II
Yako Hodo
Yamaguchi Ryuun

On Site / Artists’ Projects: Wendy Ewald (ended July 25, 2004)
This multi-site project features a public art installation in Richmond’s Carver neighborhood, with exhibitions at the Children’s Museum of Richmond and previously at the Hand Workshop Art Center.

Developed over the last two years, this ambitious multi-site project brings to town internationally acclaimed American photographer Wendy Ewald through a unique collaboration with the George Washington Carver Elementary School and the surrounding Carver community; the Carver-VCU Partnership and the Creative Writing Program, Department of English, at Virginia Commonwealth University; and the Children’s Museum of Richmond. The HWAC initiated this partnership as part of its annual series, On Site / Artists’ Projects. The fourth installment in the series, Ewald’s project moves art beyond the boundaries of the gallery walls into the public arena, expanding the meaning and implications of the term “on site.” Read a biography of the artist.

Over the course of several weeklong visits last fall and winter, Ewald worked with a group of third, fourth, and fifth graders at Carver Elementary School. (Read a March 3 article published in Style Weekly.) Together, they developed photographic images and text exploring the students’ perceptions of self, community, and home. This material – a multifaceted portrait of the Carver community – ultimately took the form of 29 large-scale photographic banners, each measuring 10 by 8 feet. (Read a May 26 article published in Style Weekly.) The banners were installed in various outdoor locations throughout the neighborhood, remaining on view for the next year. In her work with the children, Ewald was ably assisted by three graduate students from the VCU Creative Writing Program.

An exhibition featuring new work by Ewald and the students at Carver, along with selections from the artist’s earlier projects, opened concurrently in the HWAC’s galleries and continued through July 25. The Children’s Museum of Richmond will present through August a traveling exhibition of interior banners, The Arabic Alphabet, which Ewald produced last year at the Queens Museum of Art in New York.

We acknowledge with gratitude and admiration the participation of Carver students Marco Baylor, Celine Crawley, Jovan Curry, Cevonte Jackson, Chai Dasha Jackson, Chelbany Lewis, Latia Lewis, Kentrell McCoy, U’maana Ricks, Tonette White, and Xavier Woolridge. Shannon Smith, Principal of Carver Elementary School, has provided invaluable support and assistance from the start.

We also extend special thanks to participating VCU students Jim Panos, Turia Pope, and Michelle Young-Stone; Laura Browder, Associate Professor in the VCU English Department; Barbara Abernathy and Leah Lamb of the Carver-VCU Partnership; Cathy Howard, Director of the VCU Office of Community Programs; and Randee Humphrey and Claire Mehalick of the Children’s Museum of Richmond.

On Site / Artists’ Projects: Wendy Ewald is made possible in part by generous support from the Circuit City Foundation and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.^ Top

North American Ceramic Sculpture Now
Ended April 18, 2004

Showcasing a wide array of diverse approaches, North American Ceramic Sculpture Now featured work by 14 American and Canadian artists and one collaborative group who today are transforming the medium of clay. The exhibition was organized by Seattle-based independent curator and art critic Matthew Kangas for the 2nd World Ceramic Biennale Korea, which took place this past fall at the Icheon World Ceramic Center in Icheon, Korea. Its presentation in Richmond is made possible with the cooperation of the World Ceramic Exposition Foundation of Korea. (Read a related article published in Style Weekly.)

View a complete list of artists participating in the exhibition, which includes Virginia Commonwealth University professor Allan Rosenbaum. To represent more fully the accomplishments of these artists, the Hand Workshop Art Center has organized an expanded version of the show for which sculptors Jennifer Lapham and Sadashi Inuzuka have created special site installations.

The individual pieces making up the exhibition fall loosely into three groups, depending on whether they use abstraction, the human figure, or imagery derived from popular culture as an expressive means. As Kangas observes in his catalogue essay, social-political content, isolated individual vision, and the adoption of an installation format are among several important characteristics that emerge in this exhibition, connecting North American ceramic sculpture to the broader contemporary art scene and the rise of conceptual art internationally.

The many themes illuminated in these works, Kangas continues, “join concerns about the nature of the object, the manner of fabrication, surface decoration, and ornament. Today, however, the latter two aspects alone do not suffice to interest younger artists, many of whom seek ties to the world we live in and hope to reflect the temper of their times in art made of clay.”

A pioneer in the discussion of craft as fine art, Matthew Kangas has written about American clay artists in American Ceramics, American Craft, Art in America, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Sculpture Magazine, and La revue de la céramique et du verre. He has curated numerous exhibitions, including the recent nationally touring shows, Breaking Barriers: Recent American Craft for the American Craft Museum in New York City and Tales & Traditions: Storytelling in 20th Century American Craft for the Craft Alliance of St. Louis.

A former Renwick Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, he received the Everson Medal for his contributions to American ceramics, as well as critic’s fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Seattle Arts Commission.

Nov. 14, 2003 – Jan. 18, 2004
Disguise the Limits: Sculpture & Drawing by John Newman

This exhibition featured 16 exuberant tabletop sculptures and related drawings by New York artist John Newman. Characterized by eccentric organic forms, seductive textures, and high-keyed colors, Newman’s sculptures are meticulously constructed from diverse materials, including papier-mâché, hand-blown glass, cast bronze, gilded paper, plaster, sisal, stone, enamel, wood, clay, wicker, wire, and steel. Dozens of small drawings, as well as several large-scale examples, also were included in the show, revealing how the artist uses this medium to freely imagine structures and forms.

Sept. 5 – Nov. 2, 2003
Nick Cave Exhibition — learn more.May 30 – July 20, 2003

Indelible Images: The Art of Winfred Rembert and From the Collection of Norrece T. Jones, Jr..  Learn more.