Mythos On view in Target Gallery | September 19 - October 25, 2020

About Mythos

Target Gallery, the contemporary exhibition space of Torpedo Factory Art Center, presents Mythos, which explores mythologies, legends, and folklore. It spotlights the impact that myth has on culture through symbolism and visuals, with each artist reimagining these ideas in a contemporary context.

The exhibition features 20 artists, 13 of whom are from Virginia or the greater D.C. metropolitan area. It was juried by Dr. Michele Greet, professor of modern Latin American art at George Mason University and director of the Art History program.

For information about making purchases from the exhibition, contact via targetgallery@alexandriava.gov.

Juror's Statement

The artists represented here address the concept of myth in truly expansive and creative ways. Many of the works submitted for consideration reference Greek and Roman traditions, but others draw on a broader concept of myth, looking to legends from around the world including Persian, Hindu, Christian, Native American, Hawaiian, Norse, Yoruba, Laotian, Celtic, and Chinese cultures. Geographic and cultural diversity therefore played a significant part in the selection process, as I felt it important to present a global vision of myth and legend to demonstrate how storytelling, ritual, and tradition define culture and serve as a means to mediate the mysterious and unexplainable aspects of life.

(Continued below.)

Annie Rochelle (Knoxville, TN). Europa and the Bull (The First Eurotrip), 2016. Watercolor, gouache, and pen on paper. $900.

"This watercolor, gouache and pen illustration is part of the Mythos/Dogma series, of which an underlying theme is the restitution of agency to the female figures of Greek mythology and the Catholic canon. In a way, it’s a retelling of a story so long dominated by male perspective, ambition and dominance.

"Here I have re-imagined Europa not as victim of kidnapping but as an adventuress mounting the back of Jupiter in the form of a bull and embarking on the first ever Eurotrip." - Annie Rochelle


M.A. Papanek-Miller (Becker County, MN, and Chicago). Preparing for Winter: Once Again the Animals Were Conscious of a Vague Uneasiness I, 2018. Mixed media drawing, graphite, collage, and acrylic paint on paper mounted on wood. $5,000.

"Preparing for Winter series engages the myth of the American farm as place in conversation with the animals portrayed in Orwell’s book Animal Farm. Orwell’s cautionary story regarding his warning of the dangers of political innocence are layered with a variety of myths and mythological influences that reflect on current circumstances as a third layer of context. For example in this work: the centaur’s music is believed by a trio of animals near him while it directs a line of animals to nowhere." - M.A. Papanek-Miller

Florence Alfano McEwin (Green River, WY). Leadership is More Than Howling ½ e.v., 2017Photo intaglio, chine colle of found, digitally altered, cut, torn, painted papers, ink, two plates. $750.

"In my Red Riding Hood series, I explore the tensions of 21st century life occurring around the script of male - female relations. The series is envisioned after Red Riding Hood and the Wolf have set up life together with a twist of feminine empowerment. In this particular work I'd taken a cue from the political drama that is the USA today. The included digitally reproduced sketch in this exhibition is of my Wyoming surroundings." - Florence Alfano McEwin


IG @Mcewinflorencealfano

K. Johnson Bowles (Raleigh, NC). Death By A Thousand Cuts (Mobbing), 2020. Mixed media collage. $1,500.

"This piece reframes the story of Christ's journey to be crucified. This work represents the journey many women (and I) take to seek justice after being harassed, assaulted, and discriminated against. On the journey to justice women are often stigmatized, blamed, shamed, and treated like pariah. The tassels reference wounds and blood but also meant to point to pasties worn by strippers (to symbolize vulnerability/ stereotypes/shaming). Mobbing is the sociological term for bullying by a group.

"The work is from the series Veronica's Cloths. While this body of work is not about a particular religious belief or cannon, the series title takes its name from the St. Veronica legend. It is said Veronica wiped Christ’s face with her veil during his journey carrying the cross. The image of his face miraculously left an impression on the cloth. The series explores the residual nature of physical and emotional trauma." - K. Johnson Bowles


Nico Gozal (Suitland, MD). Srikandi, 2018. Painting on silk, silk dyes, gutta serti (resist) technique. $600.

"Srikandi was one of the first documented portrayals of a transgender character as found in the Hindu epic tale of Mahabaratha. Various versions of how Srikandi who was born female transformed to male are told. With appreciation of both gender characteristics Srikandi was known as a fearless warrior." - Nico Gozal


FB @nicosilkart

Virginia Maksymowicz (Philadelphia). Panis Angelicus, 2012. Fiberglass resin, hydrostone. $10,000.

"In Panis Angelicus, hollowed-out Corinthian capitals are transformed into cornucopias overflowing with breads, among which were hidden a variety of putti (baby angels). Everything is presented in the same stark whiteness, blending the tangible with the ineffable, the material with the spiritual, and the architectural with the metaphorical.

"Vitruvius described the development of the form of Corinthian capitals as having come from a basket that had been placed over the grave of a young maiden, with a flat stone on top to prevent it from tipping. Acanthus leaves grew up around the basket. Contemporary architecture historian Joseph Rykwert proposes that the Corinthian virgin, to whom Vitruvius refers, was in fact Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of grain, and by extension, the goddess of life." - Virginia Maksymowicz


Juror's Statement (cont.)

Other works in the exhibition reimagine fairytales and magical creatures, or employ archetypes, allegories, or mythical narratives to explore personal tragedies and triumphs. Thus, Shiva and Nike, griffins and unicorns, Medusa and Red Riding Hood occupy these walls together and speak to one another across time and culture.

Kenneth Reed (Falls Church, VA). Transformer, 2015. Mixed media, polymer clay. $650.

"The god Shiva is usually known as The Destroyer, but one of his alternate names is The Transformer. His role is to clear away the old to make way for what comes next. When Shiva opens his third eye the world is swept clean by fire. Here, Shiva appears in the form of a CPU, with his third eye open. The hands hold both traditional tools of Shiva and of modern technology.

"In the background is part of the poem The Dance of Shiva by Paresh, translated into binary:

"Shiva closes his eyes and the sun goes out. Holds his breath and all of the creatures fall dead. Covers his ears and the universe goes silent. And the dance goes on even though worlds collide, the sun burns out and the universe freezes. It just awaits the next step. The dance begins. Dance continues. Dance never ends." - Kenneth Reed

Ken Beerbohm (Columbia, MD). Mystical Cyclist, 2013. Mixed media. $765.

"The unicorn as a legendary creature has captured the imagination of humankind since antiquity. As a symbol of grace and purity, it embodies the power to heal and to turn destructive elements into life-giving ones. Modern unicorns have never been more beloved and ubiquitous, featured in TV and films, not to be overlooked in the beauty scene, with unicorn hair, unicorn nails and glittery body gel or in the coffee scene with Starbucks unicorn frappuccino. Of all the magical creatures competing for our embrace, it is the unicorn that may be the most alluring, a symbol of hope that things will get better." - Ken Beerbohm


Rosemary Luckett (Wilmington, DE). Seeking Confidence, 2015. Acylic and mixed media. $2,400.

"My life has been one of seeking paths--some well-worn, others less traveled. Together they led me from a confining home and religion to one in which free expression and creativity are honored."


Michelle Simoneau (Reston, VA). I Will Not Be Flung Over the Precipice, 2018. Oil and mixed media. $1,500.

"The conventional seductive elements have been removed from the face of the devouring monster. Is she still erotic or only majestic?" - Michelle Simoneau

Kristi Kuder, (Battle Lake, MN). Delphi, 2019. Stainless steel mesh, fire-treated, alcohol inks. $475.

"Dating back to 1400 BC, the Oracle of Delphi was one of the most important shrines in all Greece. It was here that a priestess supposedly breathed vapors from a cleft in the rocks and delivered riddles from Apollo to persons who sought her advice.

"This piece titled, Delphi, is in reference to the cryptic nature of ambiguity in our lives—particularly in reference to Ambiguous Loss when questions don't have answers. Logic symbols which are illogical float upon its surface. Wire tendrils spray outward." - Kristi Kuder


Jon-Joseph Russo (Washington, DC). Hands of Gods: Jupiter and Io, 2015. Alabaster. $4,900.

"This piece is inspired by the Ovid’s Metamorphoses -Jupiter and Io, and the Correggio painting of the same title. Represented are dualities, such as maintaining balance within my Libra personality. Formally the egg-shaped piece is two-sided like yin/yang, positive/negative. Symbolically it represents gods/mortals: the Jupiter/Io seduction scene, and the Mercury/Argus sleep scene, which are the emotional extremes.

"I want to capture the solidity of the cloud’s embrace in the Correggio painting, Jupiter emerging from the clouds, as I also have the arms emanating from the stone cloud. There also is a lion face hiding in the cloud form alluding to the savagery hidden in the dark side of man." - Jon-Joseph Russo


Juror's Statement (cont.)

The works presented here explore the theme of myth in various media, from painting, photography, and sculpture, to mixed media installations. The artists use color and abstraction, composition and form, to emphasize the emotional impact of narrative and to highlight aspects of a story that may perhaps be hidden or subliminal in oral or textual form. In other words, visual representation narrates differently than the written word. Rather than choosing works that directly illustrate myths and legends, my selection process focused on works that transformed or reinterpreted the original tale to make it relevant to our contemporary reality.

Cindy Packard Richmond, (Annandale, VA). Torpedo Factory Art Center Studio 3. Roman Gods: Then and Now, 2009. Oil on linen. $8,000.

"Behind a Bernini Poseidon Statue in the Piazza Navona, in Rome, there hung a huge advertisement for Sisley clothing. It covered most of a building. The juxtaposition of modern man and mythology intrigued me." - Cindy Packard Richmond


IG @cindypackardrichmond

Judy Tallwing-McCarthy (Baltimore, MD). Father Sky Gifting Mother Earth, 2020. Iron copper, iron, gold, minerals and oil. $2,200.

"Father Sky saw how beautiful Mother Earth is and came to love her. Mother Earth saw how beautiful Father Sky is and she loved him. They watched each other with love for a long time. Father Sky decided that he would visit Mother Earth and Mother Earth welcomed him. They came together and, in their joining, created ALL The People of Earth.

"When Father Sky went back to his place in the heavens he knew he could not be here to care for his children, so he left pieces of his heart across Mother Earth to protect and bless us these pieces of Father Sky are the turquoise found in many places. Father Sky put blessings any good father wishes for his children into the turquoise; Protection from harm; Abundance, good health, strength and love.

"We see the love of Father Sky and Mother Earth when we look to the horizon. They are forever touching." - Judy Tallwing-McCarthy

Alessandra Ricci (Reston, VA). Pandora’s Box, 2019. Mixed Technique. $2,400.

"Pandora’s Box, the mythological and vindictive gift from Zeus that Pandora opened out of curiosity. From the box broke out all evils known to humanity, including sickness, toil, rage, and suffering. Pandora managed to withhold ‘hope.’

"In this painting, I wish to portray the explosion of colors and human emotions at the moment of opening the proverbial box. In suffering, we recall our individual mortality, joy and hope... to the envy of the gods." - Alessandra Ricci


Juror's Statement (cont.)

Several of the artists included here revisit traditional stories from a feminist perspective, challenging the dichotomy of good and evil (where the female is often evil) to reinvent mythical creatures as complex, feeling beings, sometimes trapped in intolerable circumstances. Across the board, the works collected here look to ancient symbols and stories as metaphors for the struggles of contemporary life, indicating just how relevant myths continue to be these trying times.

Petra Barth (Berlin, Germany). Carnaval, 2020. Hahnen muehle fine print on photo rag. $1,100.

"Called Uru Uru in ancient times, the area that is now Oruro, Bolivia served as a center of religious and cultural tradition in the Andean world. Originally an indigenous festival tracing back to the 18th century, the Carnival of Oruro is now one of UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The stories of the past are expressed through music, folk dance and celebration by a community aware of its history and proud of its tradition." - Petra Barth

Saya Behnam (Leesburg, VA). Talisman of Hard Days I, 2020. Saffron, Sacred Bamboo, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, ink and gold on handmade paper. $3,500.

"The mythical images of the Divs or Daeva/Dews (translated to demons) are divinities that promote chaos and disorder. They are personifications of every imaginable evil in Persian, Zoroastrian, and Avestan tradition and folklore. Divs still exist in our modern life in new forms or concepts, such as bio-chemical, scientific, technological items; power imbalances; personal ego; or even the dark side and shadow of our own soul.

"If a Talisman, an object marked with magic signs, is believed to confer on its bearer supernatural powers or protection, then the modern translations of Talismans can be binary codes, technology signs and patterns, etc.

"In my pieces, I combine the concept of Persian mythology with our day to day, technology and scientific related images and concepts of our life." - Saya Behnam


IG @sayabehnam

Katherine Pedrick (Washington, DC). Medusa, 2020. Oil on canvas with gold metal leaf. $2,250.

"We’ve all heard the tale of Medusa, the horrible Gorgon with eyes that turn men to stone. I thought I knew the whole story, until one of my professors delved into her origin as a young priestess in the temple of Athena. Poseidon raped her and Athena sought vengeance by turning Medusa into the snake-headed monster we know. I felt the pain and power in that terrible curse that also meant she could never be hurt again. More and more, I've realized my need to question the stories we have been told, whose perspective we are looking through, whose voice is being heard.

"I wanted to depict Medusa embracing her power as the dignified priestess, even with her hair of snakes. In today’s world, Medusa is neither just a monster nor just a victim. She is all the complex layers of her story, a survivor standing tall and in control of her narrative. Still looking you in the eye." - Katherine Pedrick

IG @kepedrick_art

Target Gallery is the contemporary exhibition space of Torpedo Factory Art Center, which is managed by the City of Alexandria's Office of the Arts, a division of the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities.

#targetgallery • #artsALX