Yesterday we drove our son Matthew to Dulles airport. He had stripped his life down to an over-sized suitcase and a duffle bag (total 100 pounds, max), a knapsack (with laptop and iPad) and a few boxes that friends and colleagues will smuggle into California. He left his car, some boxes and his new flat screen TV in storage with us (I don’t know if there’s space). He gave up a nice paying job working for a NASA contractor at the Goddard Space Center, though the post was no more secure than anything dealing with the Federal government these days. He could have lost funding in the next round of sequestration cuts.
My son, Matthew, has been selected to show his photos in the Washington Project for the Arts‘s Options 09 exhibit, the 13th installment of the biennial show. He was one of the 250 artists that the WPA evaluated this year, ending up as one of the final 13 who will show. He’s the only one who does not have formal art training (a Masters in Fine Arts) so it’s his talent that’s getting him in there. For the first time, he will be displaying his photos in the format that he originally envisioned them (larger prints, sparing no expense):
As a tradition, OPTIONS is a survey of the brightest and most talented emerging artists in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia regions and offers visibility for artists who do not have gallery representation. WPA originally developed the biennial series in 1981 with legendary artist Gene Davis and Washington Review Managing Editor Mary Swift as curators of the first WPA OPTIONS showcase.
This year, WPA is fortunate to have Anne Collins Goodyear, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, curate the exhibition.
The exhibit opens today at the Conner Contemporary Art, 1358 Florida Ave, NE,2nd Floor, Washington,DC, and will last through October 31.
Needless to say, this is a big breakthrough for him, and we’re very, very proud of him. See his website.
The exhibit got a review in the Washington Post‘s Weekend supplement: “Other surprises: the sheer amount of painting. Work by Johnson, Mullins, Kim Manfredi and Polly Townsend may give hope to those who have heard rumors of its demise, and the shortage of great photography. True, Ren, Matthew Smith and Matthew Wead all contribute interesting photographic works. But where are the others?”
My family has been in an extended debate about what the last enigmatic line means?
Yesterday, my son Matthew got his Masters in Geography from the University of Maryland. He will start working full-time at the Global Landcover Facility (GLCF) next month. He’s been working there part-time while he was a graduate student, and they saw fit to bring him on staff. Teresa and I went to the graduation at the Memorial Chapel and then a reception afterwards. Finally we took him out for dinner. Matt has grown a lot over the past two years, and it’s encouraging to hear his dreams and ambitions, grounded in humility and honesty. It’s tough forging a career, but he’s earned his achievements.
On another note, please excuse the spotty performance of this website over the weekend. I upgraded the server to Apache 2 (as well as other security changes) and the modifications had several unforeseen consequences for the site. Hopefully, Interland, my hosting service, will work out the other kinks. All the maintenance issues kept me from putting up new content.