New Public Mural at Torpedo Factory Art Center
Erin Curtis’s Beaded Curtain beautifies a lowly loading dock door
Artist Meet & Greet: Thursday, May 12 at 7 pm
April 27, 2016 – Alexandria, Va. – The Torpedo Factory Art Center has a brand new mural on the loading dock door, facing Union Street. DC-based artist Erin Curtis finished her newest work, Beaded Curtain, last week.
Beaded Curtain is a playful interpretation of a beaded curtain, a beloved, though kitschy decoration for doorways. With some intended irony, this design in the loading dock doorway lightens the door’s presence. It has transform the modest aluminum exterior and draws attention to the space, enlivening the neighborhood.
“My work explores the intersection of architecture and decoration,” said Curtis. “I aim to create playful pieces that engage the public and celebrate color and pattern. It was important for me to design a work for the Torpedo Factory that would be approachable and readable by most viewers, while remaining true to my practice.”
Curtis is no stranger to projects that beautify the most humble of surfaces. Local residents will recognized her work, as she previously designed recycling truck wraps for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She also embellished traffic control boxes along Duke Street and elsewhere for the Public Art Commission for the City of Alexandria.
The public has a chance to meet Curtis during Second Thursday Art Night, May 12 at 7 pm.
The mural was painted with acrylic paint, repeating multiple layers of beads using stencils. The process echoes the uniform nature of beads, but ultimately looks handmade. The surface texture of the door suggests the movement and shape of hanging beads. It will be a temporary mural, remaining in place for three years.
About the Artist
Erin Curtis is an artist currently living and working in Washington, D.C. Her work explores abstraction, repetition and ornamentation and their historical roots in weaving, architecture, ritual and body ornamentation. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2010 and been awarded fully funded residencies at Anderson Ranch, 2012, and Vermont Studio Center, 2014. In 2008-2009, Curtis was a Fulbright Scholar in Jaipur, Rajasthan. In 2015, she was commissioned to create a two-story painting, by Art in Embassies for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Curtis has received grants from the Dallas Museum of Art, the Andy Warhol Foundation, the City of Austin and the District of Columbia. In the fall of 2015, Curtis had solo shows at Big Medium Gallery in Austin, Texas and at Flashpoint Gallery in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Williams College with a bachelor’s in 1999 and received her master’s of fine arts from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. Curtis’s website can be found at www.erinelizabethcurtis.com.
About the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Founded in 1974 in an old munitions plant, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is home to the largest number of publicly accessible working artist studios in the U.S. The organization’s mission is to foster connections between artists and the public that ignite the creative spirit. Just south of Washington, D.C., the Torpedo Factory Art Center overlooks the Potomac River in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Va. Each year, more than a half million national and international visitors meet and interact with more than 160 resident artists in 82 working studios and seven galleries. The Torpedo Factory Art Center is also home to The Art League School and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. For more information visit torpedofactory.org or follow the Torpedo Factory Art Center on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram via @torpedofactory.