Altered Ego


As visionary observers of our material world, artists employ masterful techniques – carving, sewing, photographing, and collaging – to alter what might otherwise be discarded fragments of our everyday lives into thought-provoking works of art. Used clothing is revitalized as an intricate textile. Crumpled valet tickets and a tattered animal cracker box take the form of a monoprint. Bobby pins transform into a precious triptych. Vintage oil cans reappear as the human form.

The same cultural articles that most of us pay little attention to and simply use as we go on with our daily lives hold a sublime allure over the featured artists. When asked where they “find” their unusual supplies the artists’ common response is that the materials seem to find them rather. Antique foundry patterns inspire Kim Boggs, rusty junkyard fragments enchant Lee Wheeler, and sidewalk debris captivates Brian Petro. Where most of us see only one identity or ego for these commonplace objects, the artists’ ingenious alterations elevate these objects into fine art and ultimately bestow new identities.

Stripping the material’s original function, the featured artists challenge us to see new realities, beauty, and even the sublime in the unexpected objects all around us. Altered Ego brings together the provocative and reclaimed works of Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks, Kim Boggs, Matt Hollis, Maria Karametou, Donna McCullough, Brian Petro, & Lee Wheeler. To hear the artists speak about their works, scroll down and view the video featuring images of Altered Ego works and interviews with the artists!

Altered Ego will be open from June 4 – August 23, 2014, with an opening reception on Friday, June 13th from 7-9pm. Join us on Saturday, July 19th at 3:30pm, for the Altered Ego Artists’ Talk — a rare chance to meet the featured artists as they discuss the processes and inspirations behind their altered works. A reception will follow the dialogue where visitors can chat with the artists. Scroll down to learn more about additional Altered Ego events!

Hear what the artists of Altered Ego have to say about their reclaimed works!

A special thanks to Shefa Nola Benoit for producing this video!

(Smith Center on Vimeo.)

Additional Altered Ego Events:

Mini Art Quilt Workshop with Altered Ego artist, Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks

Thursday, July 10 6-8pm

Come out and enjoy a fun-filled, hands-on workshop with Altered Ego art quilt artist Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks. Work with reclaimed materials, such as exotic fabrics, ribbons, netting, buttons, safety pins, sequins, etc. Registration is required to attend this event.

Cross-Pollinate Returns: Literary Art Tour

Saturday, August 9 at 3:30pm

Cross-Pollinate‘s poets have been experiencing the summer exhibition, Altered Ego, since its opening, and writing new literary works prompted by the artworks. Tour participants will be given a new experience to “see” the exhibition through the poet’s lens as the writers perform their literary works beside the artworks that inspired them. A short reception will follow the reading. Writers include: Genevieve Deleon, Melanie Figg, Steve Godwin, Whitney Gratton, Danielle Kuczynski, Chloe Yelena Miller, and Reuben Silberman.

Please note: The gallery will be closed on July 4th & 5th, 2014.

Donna McCullough, Team Sunoco Mercury, Vintage oil cans, 2011


Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Friday, 11am-5pm, Saturday, 11am-3pm, and by appointment.

Please note that the gallery will be closed on July 4th and 5th.

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery is located at 1632 U Street, in Northwest DC
Learn more about the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

Special thanks to our sponsors:

All of our specially featured Jackson Family Wines & Monument Fine Wines are available for purchase at Calvert Woodley

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