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Call it boot camp for artists: The first part of “E7,” the Transformer gallery’s seventh “Exercises for Emerging Artists” exhibition, closes tomorrow. Transformer’s executive and artistic director, Victoria Reis, designed the program designed the program with Jayme McLellan, the gallery’s co-founder and former co-director, to help lapsed professional artists re-enter the field.
“The idea of the program is to boost artists that feel disengaged with the art world and to help them rebuild a group of peers,” she says. In the program, artists submit their work to peers, guest mentors, and critics for an intense critique, with the goal of a formal show after three months. “Some artists come in with a plan and start making work immediately, while others come in and let the critiques help guide them,” Reis says.
Is the program successful? Jennifer DePalma, one of the artists in the exhibition, thinks so. “The program has provided me with a lot of insight and intense feedback,” she says. “I’m more receptive to critiques, as well.” DePalma graduated several years ago from the Corcoran and works as an assistant at G Fine Arts. But as an artist she’s become somewhat disengaged from the scene. DePalma says the program helped her turn a concept into a more coherent idea—-for “E7” she created geometic drawings in black, white, and grey.
Reuben Breslar, another recent Corcoran grad, had a similar experience. “I didn’t show for one and a half years and I knew of Transformer, but didn’t have the right environment to help me be more prolific.” E7’s second reception opens July 23 with artists Adam Dwight and Treva Elwood.