The Washington Sculptors Group, in partnership with the Athenaeum and the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (NVFAA) presents Notes of Color, juried by Mollie Berger Salah, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, National Gallery of Art.
Notes of Colorexplores the materials of both the painter and the sculptor as inspired by the unique multi-media practice of Hilda Shapiro Thorpe (1919–2000). Color Field painter-turned-sculptor, Thorpe was a fixture of the Alexandria and Washington, DC arts scene. Her studio was on the third floor of the old “Why Not” store on the corner of King and Lee Streets for over thirty years. The Athenaeum, located on the same block as Thorpe’s former Old Town Alexandria studio, is a suitable exhibition space for DC area sculptors to explore color and materials within their artistic process, just as Thorpe did. Thorpe’s work demonstrates her lifelong interest in the visual and visceral properties of color, a trait she shared with her contemporaries such as Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Anne Truitt. While the study of color remained a constant throughout her career, it was her bold use of conventional and unconventional materials that set her apart from other artists of her time. Not only an abstract expressionist and color field painter, Thorpe was a sculptor using a wide variety of materials such as balsa wood, piping, sheet metal, and gauze. She later worked in textiles and handmade paper works. Thorpe’s practice is a challenge to artists today who wish to push the boundaries of how they use materials while retaining one of the most critical elements of artmaking: color.