Art ExpressionZ: Kerry Hentges’ “Study of Emotion”

“Collaborative Thoughts” Part 1~ markers on canvas. (Photo Kelly MacConomy)

By Kelly MacConomy

ALEXANDRIA, VA – There have been changes at the Torpedo Factory Art Center since the City of Alexandria assumed permanent control last fall. Work on sprucing up the exterior continues at a rapid pace. The interactive Mirror Mirror art was installed at Waterfront Park in March, in collaboration with the storied art center. The New Project Studio established in Studio B provides a temporary exhibit space to “test new program ideas, spotlighting underrepresented voices, and enhancing community engagement.” Art in person and in progress is the mission of the space, which rotates on a regular basis.

The studio is currently occupied by M.A.P.S., which stands for Mason Arts Project Space. Sponsored by the George Mason University School of Art Master of Fine Arts program, the space throws out the welcome mat to curious patrons and casual visitors alike.

Last month, Zebra introduced readers to the Voices in the Grey Project, created by Rachael Bright, local artist and owner of Local Colour Old Town, LLC. Rachael created a binary character representing the personal experience of depression. Through her illustrations, inspired by anonymous comments to her blog which comprise the captions, art helps heal.

“Futility”, 2019 by Kerry Hentges~ altered book, nails, wire, and glue. (Photo Kelly MacConomy)

This month, On Exhibit focuses on another local artist who is confronting anxiety in a contemplative, Zen-like chapel of quiet reflection. In Study of Emotion, on exhibit in Studio B through June 30, Kerry Hentges invites the viewer to assume control of more visceral, tactile, and experiential artwork, creating an environment of introspective analysis. As a mixed-media artist, Hentges draws from a wealth of mediums: paper, textiles, canvas, wood, and metal, as well as found objects. Even books.

There is chaos. And there is control. The vintage, hardbound History of Art is nailed shut. An unassuming, tattered paperback copy of Webster’s Thesaurus, entitled Futility, is strung by a protective web of gold. Hentges equates this closure with the dichotomy of the creative act, of making art or pursuing knowledge with the inevitability of death.

“Study of Emotion” Box ~ Wood, string, paper, and paint. (Photo Kelly MacConomy)

The title work, Study of Emotion, hangs suspended on the far wall, a series of cubes resembling nests to which entry is thwarted and exit is denied. Each box represents the range of emotive conflict and contradictions during one week of Hentges’ life.

Incorporating text into art is powerful and Hentges accords ample opportunity for the viewer to make words part of her art. She commands, “Draw Your Thoughts” block-printed on a graffiti-littered mirror adjacent to canvas stretched on the gallery wall, inviting quotes, love notes, laments, poetry, comments, and doodling.

In the string art Collaborative Thoughts, connectivity and disconnect represent the polarity of human experience. People are tied throughout a timeline strung from life to death, intertwined among the collective study of emotions.

“Collaborative Thoughts” Part 2~ interactive string installation. Fiber, wood, and nails. (Photo Kelly MacConomy)

Find yourself and your art exploring Kerry Hentges’ self-examination in a Study of Emotion. Come for introspection and expression therapy. Stay for three floors of top-notch progressive, as well as traditional, art galleries situated on the scenic Potomac River waterfront.

Free and open to the public daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., as well as for monthly Late Shift Fridays. Check the Torpedo Factory Calendar for dates.

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