ArtsFort HuntOn Exhibit

On Exhibit: Springing Forward ~ Floral Expressions by Robert F. Murray and Russian Master Otari at River Farm

Nothing is more welcome than springing ahead come March! Robert Murray’s latest exhibit, “Looking Forward to Spring,” at River Farm is bringing hopeful still life florals to winter’s blues.

“Rose Bouquet”, acrylic on canvas by Otari. (Photo: Kelly MacConomy)

Alexandria, VA – After falling back in the autumn, and with winter’s chilling bones bearing down relentlessly last month, nothing is more welcome than springing ahead come March. Robert Murray’s latest exhibit, “Looking Forward to Spring,” opened January 25 at River Farm, bringing hopeful still life florals to winter’s blues.

River Farm is the 25-acre estate home to the American Horticultural Society, situated along the Potomac river banks on land that was once part of George Washington’s original five farms. River Farm, located just off the George Washington Parkway, was recently listed for sale at $32.9 million. The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, in partnership with NOVA Parks, has made an offer. Neighbors, AHS members, and gardening gurus across the DMV eagerly await a deal, potentially preserving the undeveloped historic property for continued public access and enjoyment.

Spring Song, Lilacs, acrylic on canvas by Otari. (Photo: Kelly MacConomy)

Art on exhibit at River Farm must have a horticultural subject. Bob Murray’s curation strives to challenge the cliched floral/fruit bowl still life or the classic seasonal landscape. “Looking Forward to Spring” pairs his own lyrical water expressions series and mixed-media floral work with the masterful brushwork and organic compositions of the Russian painter known as Otari.

“Chrysanthemums”, acrylic on canvas by the Russian-born artist Otari. (Photo: Kelly MacConomy)

The dichotomous artistic aesthetic of Murray versus Otari is boldly striking yet nonetheless complementary. Otari’s palette is vivid, bold, and provocative.

“Piano with Azaleas” acrylic on canvas by Otari. Photo Kelly MacConomy

Murray’s “water expressions” use of color is understated, cautious, yielding to the movement so as to not upstage the vibrant, kinetic expression of the brushwork. Together they conjure magic.

“Mothman” by Robert F. Murray Private Collection. (Photo: Robert F. Murray)

Spring dreaming on such a winter’s day is a compelling diversion. Floral symphonies composed on canvas burst forth, a welcome harbinger of taunting blooms in every color in the crayon box. This exhibit is a seduction of spring—a siren’s song beckoning visitors to stop and smell the roses. And the azaleas. And pine all the more for sweet summer days to come.

“Bouquet,” water expression by Robert F. Murray, artist and director of the Von Brahler, Ltd. Gallery in Alexandria. (Photo: Robert F. Murray)

River Farm is found at 7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria. “Looking forward to Spring” closes April 6, 2021. A reception with Robert F. Murray will take place on Saturday, March 20, from 11 am ~ 1 pm. For more information, contact Bob Murray at 703-798-8686.

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Kelly MacConomy

Kelly MacConomy is the Arts Editor for The Zebra Press.

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