by Rosalia Gutierrez-Huete
What, you might ask, do yogurt and figs have in common, or a blue bowl and Evermay, the 211-year-old brick Federal Georgetown mansion?
The answer lies in a food-inspired exhibit at the Capitol Hill Art League gallery (see details below) where two winning photographs by our Forest Hills neighbor, Ann Elkington, are on display. (Ann is also a Forest Hills Connection contributor.)
The instant I met Ann, I was impressed by her effervescence and graciousness.
“Come in and get warm, it’s awful outside,” she said when, on a snowy afternoon, I knocked on the door of her house. “I will make us a cup of tea.”
We reminisced about those carefree summer days, when a bunch of the neighborhood kids would be sent off into the woods berry picking, with pots and pans in hand, for the prize of a blueberry pie baked by a mother or a grandmother.
My visit wasn’t to reminisce about our childhood, but rather to congratulate and interview Ann. She had recently learned that two of her photographs, “Yogurt in a Blue Bowl” and “Figs at Evermay,” had been selected by the jury at the Capitol Hill Art League.
That in itself is quite an accomplishment. The show features 32 works in mixed media by 29 artists. Artists could submit up to five entries, and the jury had several hundred to choose from.
It isn’t at all difficult to understand why two of Ann’s entries stood out.
Ann’s delicate compositions are distinguished by the manner in which she captures the transient nature of color and light and their connection to each other. One could argue that luminosity and clarity are her trademarks. Looking at the figs in “Figs at Evermay,” so luscious and enticing, so real you want to reach out and grab one and pop it in your mouth. Yum!
It’s not only the figs that make this selection special, but the well-balanced overall composition, including the blue concentric circles bordering the white plate, the napkin, embroidered with intermittent shadows of the fig tree. It’s as if the person partaking of this delicious fare went away momentarily, planning to return very soon for an afternoon delight.
Similarly, “Yogurt in a Blue Bowl” triggers a deep and powerful awakening of the senses, pure and simple, wholesome and healthy, inspiring us to reflect on the simplicity and elegance of the subject.
Who would have thought that a few spoonfuls of yogurt in a blue bowl would stir such emotions about a simple truth – that life and its gifts are beautiful.
Enraptured by the immense beauty of Anne’s work, I asked her, “What inspires you?”
“I remember,” she said, “when I was two and a-half, looking inside the trumpet of a blue morning glory, being sucked in by the color and light. Color and light inspire me – they are my vitamins.” (Read more about how color and light inspired Ann to create a toy that helps people.)
“Yogurt in a Blue Bowl” and “Figs at Evermay” are precisely about color and light, luminosity and clarity. You can see them in their colorful and light-filled glory at the Capitol Hill Art League’s gallery through April 16th.
Details: The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is two blocks south of Eastern Market at 545 Seventh Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003. The gallery’s hours are 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
The exhibiting artists are listed here.