What Do Rust Prints and Steinway Pianos Have in Common?

GW Alumni Brian Kirk and Teresa Duke Exhibit on Campus

Teresa Duke painting
Winter Roses by Teresa Duke, oil on linen, 12” x 16”
February 10, 2017

Two talented GW alumni artists are currently exhibiting at the GW Virginia Science & Technology Campus (VSTC), in Ashburn, Virginia through April 12, with a reception to meet the artists on March 31. While their subject matters, mediums and artistic inspirations are unique, they share a connection to GW.

Water + Metal: Assemblages and Prints, Works by Brian Kirk, B.A. in Fine Arts, ‘76
Brian Kirk, a sculptor, artist and art educator, is driven by his curiosity of the natural world, his use of natural materials and learning new art-making processes and techniques. An avid sculptor in stone, metal, clay and mixed media, his unique creations can be found in private and public collections in the area.

An alumnus, he received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Fine Arts from GW with an emphasis on ceramics, sculpture and silkscreen, and a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies in Studio Art from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“My rust prints are influenced by my interest in anthropology, archeology and the natural sciences,” said Brian Kirk. “I have always been intrigued with the forces of nature.”

His foray into rust prints was an accidental discovery after he left a piece of steel on a cardboard box and weeks later discovered a pattern left by rust on the surface. Now a standard process for the artist, Kirk places a steel plate between two sheets of paper and then soaks it for six weeks in water. During that time, the steel oxidizes (rusts) and transfers that rust onto the paper. Each print is unique, and while the outcome is somewhat predictable, Kirk says, “The interesting and unexpected effects are what make the process enjoyable.”

His international experiences in Japan, Mexico, Germany, Belgium, and other parts of Europe have heavily influenced his artwork and given him the opportunity to collect unique objects and re-purpose them in his mixed-media assemblages.

rust print with large metal (center) and small metal circle (left) on watercolor paper with blue and other colors and metal curl

Bodhisattva by Brian Kirk, mixed media, cast glass, rust print, 22 x 14 x 3”

The Steinway Series, and Other Mementos: Paintings by Teresa Duke, MFA, ’87

“Most of the pieces in this show focus on my old family Steinway piano that I learned to play when I was a child,” said Teresa Ann Duke. “Fortunately it has made its way into my home. I have been fascinated by the way light at different times of day creates wonderful colors and reflections on the old wood. I've also played around with arrangements of flowers in different vases placed on the edge of the piano. It always seems to come back to light and color as the elements to which I am most drawn.”

Duke, an artist, teacher and native Washingtonian, spent her childhood painting alongside her mother, a talented watercolorist. She later pursued her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts at Boston University and a Master’s of Fine Arts at GW under the tutelage of William Woodward, professor emeritus.

She tries to capture a moment in time in her work, using a painting approach known as alla prima to quickly capture a subject and oil paints for their responsiveness. She usually works from life, which she says allows for an essential emotional exchange between artist and subject. She is fascinated by the process of capturing light in her work and finds inspiration in scenery of the Rappahannock Valley, New Mexico and other geographic locations.

There are also select still life paintings in the show. “Painting the still life keeps me focused on composition, observational drawing, and I have chosen to paint objects that have been in my possession for quite some time—my family treasures as I like to think of them,” said Duke.

The exhibits are free and open to the public in Enterprise Hall, 44983 Knoll Square, Ashburn, VA 20147 through April 12, 2017.