Alexandria, VIRGINIA—I visited the Torpedo Factory yesterday and wandered in and out of countless artists’ studios observing a range of work in terms of quality, innovation and media.
A sprawling three-story space, the Torpedo Factory was actually built to manufacture torpedos. At the end of World War II the government business ceased and decades later in 1974 the City of Alexandria put the space to create use for artists.
Today, more than 180 artists work and display their art in the factory’s 82 studios and there is a gallery space sponsored by Target, where “Petri Dish,” a wonderful exhibit featuring small-scale work, is on view through tomorrow, Dec. 31, 2011.
After visiting the studios that were open, I was struck by the work of two women—Carol Gellner Levin, and Beverly Ryan.
Levin is a mixed-media sculptor whose work is very conceptual. She told me she used to work strictly with ceramics but for larger pieces the material became heavy so she started incorporated other materials, as demonstrated in her sculpture “Those on the Fence” (detail shown at top). Ryan’s painted canvases (at left) are characterized by fantastic and abstract interpretations of figures and other subjects and bold color interactions.
The Torpedo Factory is open throughout the year and welcome’s the public to explore the studios, watch the artists work and purchase their art.
All photos by Arts Observer
Above and at top of page, “Those on the Fence,” (terra cotta, burlap, twine, cotton, feathers, drift wood) by Carol Levin.
Detail of “Skirt” (oil and graphite on canvas) by Beverly Ryan.
“Crossing II,” (oil on canvas) by Beverly Ryan.