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  • Woman looks at artwork displayed on the walls of the Stone Tower Gallery

    STONE TOWER GALLERY

    Glen Echo Park's Stone Tower Gallery presents intimate exhibitions of work in the Park’s most historic structure. This gallery is a welcoming space for visitors and is well suited to solo or themed exhibitions featuring a small group of artists.

    Gallery Hours

    Saturday & Sunday  |  12pm to 6pm

  • cut paper lightbox depicting witches working over a cauldron among other vignettes

    "Guggle Fuddle Boil and Bottle"

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  • cut paper lightbox depicting people of various social classes

    "Well Heeled"

  • cut paper lightbox depicting various vignettes with chickens

    "Fowl Play and Egg Money"

ON VIEW NOW

Melanie Kehoss
Tales, Near and Far
June 7 - 30, 2024

Stone Tower Gallery Hours: Saturdays & Sundays, 12 pm – 6 pm

Opening Reception: Friday, June 7, 6 pm – 8 pm | During Art Walk
 

RSVP  (preferred, not required)


The Stone Tower Gallery presents Tales, Near and Far, a solo exhibition by artist Melanie Kehoss featuring cut paper lightboxes that explore the histories of cultural phenomena – from food, to fashion, to recreation.  These works illustrate how ordinary customs and products evolve through the mingling and conquest of peoples, and with the influence of technology and trade.  Each work travels through centuries and over continents, reminding us that globalism is nothing new.  

The interior tableaux of the lightboxes are knife-cut from a single sheet of paper, echoing the linked nature of the elements.  The cultures referenced within the scenes often influence their arrangement.  For instance, Catholic stained glass inspires the symmetrically-stacked and arched vignettes in “Bittersweet Currency,” while Persian Illuminated books inform the cascading composition of “Well Heeled.” 

This cultural quoting extends to the exterior painted pattern, which borrows from the visual culture of one or more scenes.  The pattern surrounding "Fowl Play and Egg Money” is inspired by chikankani, a style of embroidery developed roughly when and where chickens were domesticated.  The pun is a happy accident.  
These works are a microcosm of the Stone Tower itself, which was part of the original Chautauqua School and the oldest building at Glen Echo Park.  They both invite viewers into a space of wonder and charm, but the histories they hold are nuanced and unexpected. 
 

Artist Biography
Raised near Milwaukee, WI, Melanie Kehoss is an artist and art instructor living in Arlington, VA.  After graduating from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, she began exploring papercutting.  She continued to experiment with cutting approaches as a graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison.  In 2008, Melanie began displaying her papercuts as lightboxes, which remain her signature.

Melanie’s work has appeared in over a hundred exhibitions throughout the country and internationally and has been featured in solo shows at venues such as McLean Project for the Arts (McLean, VA), Hillyer Art Space (Washington DC), RAAM103 (Ghent, Belgium) and Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Ana, CA).

Melanie teaches art at Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington and US Arts Center.  She is a founding member of the Arlington Visual Art Studio Tour and is an active member and board member emeritus of the Guild of American Papercutters.
 

Artist Statement
I am delighted by the surprising histories of common customs.  For ten years, I have been creating cut paper lightboxes that explore the curious evolutions of cultural phenomena.  From my research on a given subject, I select a few stories to illustrate, based on their potential to be visually compelling and relatively unknown.  I look to texts, paintings, photographs, and documentaries to help compose the scenes, with fashion serving as a marker of time and place.  Reminiscent of codices or medieval visual storytelling, the compositions travel through time and space in a single image. 

I make lightboxes to create the wondrous feeling of looking into another world.  Mirrors lining the interior create the impression of a limitless scene. The silhouette allows me to tell human stories without specifying expression or skin color; they remain mysterious, yet familiar. The backlit, cut figures – like shadow puppets – give the impression that they could move at any moment.  The impression of movement exists in contrast with the need for each shape remaining in place, literally holding up everything around it.


Upcoming Exhibition

Camille Kouyoumdjian
July 5 - 28, 2024

Stone Tower Gallery Hours: Saturdays & Sundays, 12 pm – 6 pm

Opening Reception: Friday, July 5, 6 pm – 8 pm | During Art Walk


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