Posted by John Anderson on Jul. 16, 2012Washington City Paper

Scattered through the crowds of bikers, cops, and civil servants in the large canvases are historical figures, Washington notables, and bar regulars including, always, Folsom himself. His appearances are more Jackie Chan than Alfred Hitchcock: He painted himself taking a punch from Park regular Alan Schwartz in 1982's The Fight, crawling up the bar, glasses askew in 1984's The Reunion, and spilling beer in his lap in Last Call, the 20-foot triptych he finished in 1987. Folsom keeps bearing the brunt of the joke or the violence, he says, "because there's got to be a fall guy in there." The dancers stand impassively on their platforms, like working-class cousins of Vargas angels. Some are classically posed; all transcend their surroundings by being unaware of them. "I don't paint the dancers they're protected. Naked is vulnerable, nude is not," Folsom says. Within the paintings' cosmology, "someone needs to be vulnerable, and I like playing the fool....I'm the one who doesn't go home pleasantly drunk, the one who releases the tension."

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1975: My work had focused on male and female nudes in stark, surreal settings. These 'freeze-frame soap operas' were first shown at Gallery K, beginning our 14 year association. By 2008, my surreal nudes had become contemplative, mood studies. It has taken decades to work my way past the front of the flat painted surface -past the nakedness, to the soulful presence within, and finally, past solitude to stillness.

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Beyond that feeling that there is an audience out there, waiting breathlessly for this paper you're working on, it helps to have a clear sense of what you're trying to do for this audience. Are you trying to entertain them? That is surely a lofty purpose: writing to lighten someone's spirits is not a project to be undertaken lightly. Is your paper a matter of self-expression? Do you have opinions or feelings that you need to share with others? Are you trying to persuade others that you have a view of things that is clear-sighted, useful, and needs to be shared? Or that someone else's position is faulty, muddle-headed, or otherwise wrong? Are you trying to provide an exposition of facts or process or definition that others can take advantage of, or are you trying to persuade them of the rightness of a moral or ethical position? Do you want your audience to read your paper and then act, filled with new energy because of what you've told them? The objectivity, mood, and earnestness of your prose will be determined by this attitude or sense of purpose.

Last Meals Lapham s Quarterly fussy in krak w blogger Pieter Bruegel

Fred Folsom's monumental painting "Last Call (at the Shepherd Go-Go Bar)" anchors the exhibition. At least it has a size advantage over the other paintings, measuring more than six feet tall by 19 feet wide. The work is a testament to Folsom's recollection of his past life, when he was "drunk, overweight, and no fun to be around." In Fineberg's portrait of the artist, Folsom points to his likeness in the triptych, with a broken nose and bloodshot eye. Another artist in the exhibition, Rebecca Davenport, is also visible in the composition, leaving the mind to wonder who else is in there.

The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Bruegel the Elder my daily

"The Constant Artist" captures the lives, words, and product of several prominent D.C. artists from various points across decades. Photographs and interviews are the work of Paul Feinberg, and the paintings on the wall are the works of his subjects, like Tom Green, Sam Gilliam, and the late Manon Cleary. Theoretically, we see how the work ages as the artists and their perspectives do the same. But in many cases, the work doesn't evolve, at least in technique, as much as the artists.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder Online

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