Sunday, July 10, 2011

Betty Mae Kramer Gallery Launches New Exhibition – Opening Reception on Sunday, July 10, 2011

WHO: Artists: Jorge Bernal, Joanne Bleichner, Florence Gang,Diane Mesirow

WHAT: “On theEdge,” an exhibition featuring the works of four Montgomery County painters

WHEN: On display from Monday, July 11 to Monday, October 3, 2011. Opening reception on Sunday,July 10 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.

The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM.

WHERE: Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room, Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910

PRICE: Addmission to the gallery and reception is free.

SILVER SPRING, MD(July 6, 2011) — Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) announces the opening of “On the Edge,” a new exhibition at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room inside the Silver Spring Civic Building in downtown Silver Spring.The opening reception will be held Sunday, July 10 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Gallery. The public is invited to this free event.

“On theEdge” features four local artists working in oil, acrylic and encaustic. These artists were selected in a juried process based on the excellence of their work. For each of these artists, the use of lines and the edges where one color meets another define their work.

Jorge Bernal uses encaustic (hotwax) paintings with dark straight lines and strong colors to create powerful abstracts. The edges that divide Joanne Bleichner’s anatomical tree limbs from their backgrounds of sky and forest create commanding images that make the viewer think of trees in a whole new way. Florence Gang pours acrylic ink on canvasor paper and adds opaque lines to create flowing abstracts. The hard edges of Diane Mesirow’s buildings and commercial sites are drawn free hand to create stark contrasts that are simultaneously landscapes and abstracts.


An interdisciplinary artist working in mixed-media painting and collage/assemblage, Jorge Bernal was born in Havana and raised in Jersey City. He received a BFA in ceramics and art history from Florida International University and an MFA in architecture from Virginia Tech. Recently, he has been focusing on encaustic monotypes. His work is inspired by a variety of interests: the exhilaration of color, texture and space, fragmenting architectural images influenced by his architectural training and interpreting human emotions, biblical texts and spirituality. Bernal’s work is greatly influenced by Gottlieb, Rothko and Kandinsky. He says that this artwork explores the realms and depths of his dreams, beliefs, spirituality and his daily life journey. These compositions represent personal archetypes communicated through historical,architectural and mythological symbolism. His goal is for a story to unfold through layered abstractions.

Joanne Kephart Bleichner graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Studio Art and Art History and was the recipient of the Colonel James P. Wharton Award for Excellence in Art. For the past 25 years, she has taught hundreds of Montgomery County students at her private studio, inspiring many to art-related studies and careers. She draws and photographs bare tree limbs and roots, acknowledging their anatomical resemblance and relationship to their surroundings of sky,ground and forest. As a painter, she focuses on leafless trees through which she explores composition, color and brushwork. The contour or edge of the lines of the branches creates friction with the surrounding space by their shape,texture and color. Bleichner is drawn to the inherent strength and dignity of trees as a subject to be contrasted with varied backgrounds that evoke diverse moods.

Florence Gang has been active in the Washington area art scene for over 30 years and has exhibited at the Katzen Art Gallery, Rockville Art League, Glenview Mansion and Strathmore Mansion. She has a degree in Art History and Studio Art from American University and did graduate studies at the University of Maryland, the Corcoran Gallery and with William Christenberry, Mindy Weisel and Michaele Harrington. Her work is unplanned and intuitive. She interacts with the color and medium. Her work derives from personal experience, emotion, memory and a definite solution apart from conscious thought. Gang hopes the viewer shares some of the excitement she feels during its creation.

Diane Mesirow has studied art for over forty years, including extensive study with Doris Haskel. Prior to that, she took watercolor classes and workshops with various artists until she realized that oil painting was her love. She has participated in many group and solo shows, and her work has been represented by agents and galleries. Mesirow is interested in showing the beauty in buildings,farms, and other architectural shapes. She loves color and order, happiness and, yes, humor in her paintings. Mesirow says that she wants to bring joy and a smile to those who view her work.


The Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room is a tribute to the former First Lady of Montgomery County who passed away in March 2010. Mrs. Kramer was an active arts patron and performing arts. She led the volunteer efforts to establish the Executive’s Ball for the Benefit of the Arts in 1986 when her husband, the Honorable Sidney Kramer,was elected County Executive. Since then, the Ball has raised more than $1 million to benefit a variety of non profitarts and humanities organizations.

Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County has been designated to manage the Gallery and Music Roomin partnership with the Silver Spring Regional Center. An endowment fund has been established by AHCMC for the management of the gallery and music room in perpetuity. Major donors to the gallery include the Kramer Family, GEICO and Montgomery County with other gifts from Fran and Hillel Abrams, Joseph Adler, Ike and Catherine Leggett, Senator and Mrs. Laurence Levitan, Lawrence Resemble, Bobbi and Larry Schulman, and Sami and Annie Torah. To make a donation to the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room, please contact Suzan Jenkins, CEO of AHCMC, at 301-565-3805 ext. 23

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