Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Seeing Food


Food. Its production, distribution, and consumption impacts our lives in myriad ways, shaping our landscape, culture, and family interactions. 

Seeing Food, reminds us of Montgomery County’s agricultural roots and explores the ways in which artists have both viewed and manipulated food, whether in paint, fiber, photographs, glass, video, or poetry.

Exhibition & Event Dates
  • This exhibit is on display from Monday, April 8 to May 24, 2013.
  • Opening reception on Thursday, April 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Poetry reading by Maritza Rivera at 6 PM
  • The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM.
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Several artists, such as Nori Thorne and Vicky Surles, document Montgomery County’s fertile farmland and produce with rich pastels, oils, and watercolors, as do Susan Bradley, Sandra Levine and Moira Ratchford.  Others focus on the human interaction with food, beautifully recorded in paint by Cathy Abramson and in video by Mark Pagan. In his experimental short film, Pagan examines the psychological links between food preparation and family. Still for some, food becomes a formal device, collaged with other elements so that shape and color are emphasized, exemplified in Joyce Jewell’s vivid digital prints. Wilfred Brunner takes a cerebral approach to painting, mixing image with text and creating color harmonies with the greens and reds of fresh produce against textured backgrounds. Veronica Hunter’s enigmatic photographic series depicts a pair of glitter-coated potatoes. Evoking two bodies, each image becomes a frame in an animated film.



The exhibition includes quilts by fiber artists Susan Callahan—also a chef—Jan Gavin, and Susan Walen, as well as elegant serving platters by fused glass artist Jill Tanenbaum. Lastly, Seeing Food features a poetry installation by Maritza Rivera, conceived in the Cordel tradition, a Brazilian art form where poets hang their verses across vending stalls.   We hope you enjoy this sumptuous repast. 


Seeing Food was co-juried by Dorit Yaron, Acting Director of the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Dr. Michele Cohen, Director of the Public Arts Trust of Montgomery County and Curator of the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery.


The Artists

Cathy Abramson

Cathy Abramson studied painting at the Yellow Barn at Glen Echo and the Washington School. She has exhibited locally at the Orchard Gallery, the Yellow Barn, Vis Arts, Maryland Art Place and her work can be found in many private collections.


Wilfred Brunner

Wilfred Brunner received his BA in English from Franklin & Marshall College and his MFA in Painting from George Washington University. He has exhibited regularly and his work is included in a number of private and public collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection.

Susan Callahan

Susan Callahan is the chef instructor for the Hotel Restaurant Management Program for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore at the Universities at Shady Grove. Her passion for feeding people intersects with her infatuation with textiles. She loves to be able to express herself in both food and fiber.

Jan Bonnett Gavin

Gavin is a fiber artist who finds inspiration in the natural surroundings and changing seasons in Maryland. She observes the subtle shift in lighting and color. She uses dyed and hand designed fabric, threads and sometimes beads to create layers of depth on the visual phone.

Veronica Hunter

Veronica Hunter's father gave her a Kodak 110 camera for her 8th birthday. Since then, she has traveled, studied, worked, and lived all over the world writing and creating motion pictures and photographs with a compelling since of how an individual's perspective colors their visual perspective. Veronica uses her work to ask questions, elicit emotions, and demand participation with and interpretation of the world around us.

Joyce Jewell

Joyce Jewell received her AA from Montgomery College Takoma Park, a BA in Art from American University, and an MFA in Printmaking from George Washington University. Traditional printmaking techniques and their intersections with drawing, collage, and painting has long been her focus.

Sandra E. Levine

Sandra E. Levine recieved her BFA in Fine Art and BA in Art Education at the University of Buffalo, Albright Art School. A member of the Montgomery Art Association Gallery in Wheaton, she has also exhibited in local juried shows. In addition to painting beauty of produce, Levine has long been an advocate for food free of additives and genetically modified products.

Mark Pagan

Pagan's work includes film, video, writing, monologue, performance, and direction of film and theater. His recent projects evoke the intimacy of his experiences within distinct community life and expose the absurdities inherent in social connections. He received his BFA in Film Studies from Concord University in Montreal, Quebec in 2002, and his work has been presented at Slamdance Film Festival. Studio Theatre, and the Union Citizen's Brigade Theater.

Moira Ratchford

Moira Ratchford is a self-taught painter whose canvases distill the beauty of nature into splashes of color, from huge fruits and vegetables suspended in cobalt skies, to vibrant flowers rippling drama. Ms. Ratchford has exhibited throughout the tri-state area, has sold her work in the U.S. and abroad, and is a member of the Friends of the Yellow Barn, the Montgomery Art Association, and the Laurel Art Guild.

 Maritza Rivera

Maritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet and Army veteran whose work has appeared in a number of publications. She is the author of About You and A Mother's War, written during her son's two tours in Iraq. Maritza is a contributor to Poets Responding to SB 1070 and participates in the Memorial Day Writer's Project (MDWP) and Warrior Poetry Project at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. She receieved a 2012 BID International Writers Fellowship in Bahia, Brazil, and has been accepted to attend the 2013 Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Sicily.

Vicki Surles

Vicky Surles creates still lifes, figures and landscapes that are inspired by nature, looking closely at the world and reflecting its beauty.  Her love of nature drives her to capture and explore the structure and intricate details of life.  She works mainly in watercolor and color pencil.



Jill Tannenbaum

Jill has been working with fused glass since 2002 where she started at Glen Echo, Maryland. Currently, she has her own studio where she teaches and hosts open studios. Her work has been shown at many places in the DC area including Gallery Plan B, The Glenview Mansion, and Ratner Museum.

Nori Thorne

A retired teaching artist of Montgomery County Public Schools, Nori Thorne is a member of the Art League of Germantown, Gaithersburg Fine Arts Association, and Mid Atlantic Plein Air Painters. Her work was recently showcased in the Points of View exhibit at the Strathmore Mansion and the Annual Friends of Yellow Barn exhibit. An avid air painter, she is currently working on a series of landscapes in spectacular Mather Gorge, where her favorite spots can only be access by paddling her kayak upriver.

Sue Walen

Sue Walen began quilting in 2002. Finding so much pleasure in it, she retired from her profession as a psychologist, to open her own studio. Her work tends to be figurative, bright, and joyful. Many of her quilts, even those of vegetables, seen to be portraits of one sort or another.

Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley previously provided management and exhibit support to Smithsonian museums and government consulting firms before pursuing painting during a recent sojourn in France.  In 2009 she and Anne McDermott mounted “Deux Regards,” an exhibition of their paintings and photographs at the International Energy Agency. Susan has a B. A. in Social Sciences from the University of California, and a M. A. in American Studies with emphasis on 19th Century American Art from the University of Maryland, College Park.



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