Special Exhibits


Main Gallery

Reality Check

Anna U Davis

July – November, 2021
Exhibit Opening, Friday, July 23, 6 p.m.
Exhibit Closes, Sunday, Nov. 28, 4 p.m.

Reality Check investigates the concept of diffusion of responsibility with pressing global issues. Diffusion of responsibility is a socio-psychological phenomenon whereby an individual assumes that other people are responsible for taking necessary action. In Reality Check Davis juxtaposes mixed media paintings depicting diffusion of responsibility with works investigating gender equality, racial discrimination, and climate change. The work addresses our unwillingness to listen, our resistance to speak up and our inability to see the imminent consequences of our indifference.

Anna U Davis is known for her bold, colorful mixed-media work, where she explores social inequalities. Davis began developing her artistic practice and her signature Frocasian characters in the 1990’s. Frocasians appear in her art as abstracted grey toned figures which were born out of her interracial marriage. They act as a representation of her belief that everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, should be treated as equals and have the same opportunities in life. Starting from this standpoint, Davis creates narrative work where her characters investigate social inequalities, often focusing on gender relations. A topic Davis explores based on her own experiences growing up in Sweden with her life as an adult in the United States. What started as hard-edge acrylic paintings have evolved into multimedia work which incorporates acrylic paint, traditional pen and ink drawing techniques, cut paper collage, textile and video. Davis’ artwork has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Cuba, including those at The Corcoran Gallery of Art, House of Sweden, Bredgade Kunsthandel and Hemphill Fine Arts. Her work was featured at the 13th Havana Biennial in Cuba and highlighted in the Swedish cultural television program “Sweden!” in 2019. Davis is a member of the review board for the D.C. contemporary art center IA&I at Hillyer and served as a juror for the 2013 Mayor Arts Award in Washington, D.C. Davis is a 2 time recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and has received multiple artist fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In 2020, Davis was featured in the 46.1 issue of Feminist studies, the first scholarly journal in women’s studies founded in 1972. Her work can be found in public and private collections in the United States and in Europe.

Raoul Wallenberg Gallery

Essential Worker Portraits
By Carolyn Olson

Exhibit Opens, Friday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m.
Exhibit Closes, Sunday, April 24, 2022

Carolyn Olson is a narrative artist working and living in northern Minnesota. She intends her art to inspire us to be better people as we become more aware of ourselves and the world around us.

Beginning with the “Stay at Home order” in March 2020, Carolyn has worked on a series of pastel portraits of essential workers. She watched and listened to stories about the effect of Covid-19 on communities and families. Her two adult children work as essential workers. This pastel work provided her with an outlet for her anxiety about her family members working as essential workers. Many worked unvaccinated – at huge risk of getting sick and/or dying. It seemed society was OK with some being sacrificed. The art begs the question “how can we ask the essential worker to do this work while not being paid enough, provided no health insurance or affordable housing?” The series continues to initiate conversations between people who have only met online and are asking what it takes to bring about systemic changes in society.

Sponsors of our Special Exhibits: