Press

The Young and The Guest List 2019 Washington Life , March 8, 2019

Peggy Sparks; Director, Artist’s Proof: At the fine art gallery in Georgetown, Sparks strives to serve as a conduit connection local emerging creatives with prospective clients. Advocating for artists is a the crux of her job, she explains, citing her ability to translate their visual narratives to new collectors. “One of the great perks of my job is that I am able to be intimately acquainted with the producers of art,” she says. “ When I speak to an artist and am able to listen to what motivated them to create a piece of artistic work, that moves me.” The Singapore-raised galleries also consults on hotel, residential and commercial projects globally.

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In the galleries: Photojournalist’s memoir is a tale of two cities. Washington Post by Mark Jenkins, January 11, 2019

The four vast landscapes that dominate Nenad Zaric’s exhibition at Artist’s Proof are meant to be elemental: They depict earth, fire, and water. That’s not all the turbulent paintings represent, as the show’s title indicates. “Memory and the Subconscious” also expresses the internal landscape of a Serbian artist who was born in 1986, just a few years before Yugoslavia began to splinter and fratricidal conflict began.

Zaric’s pictures solemnize more than a century of Balkan strife, including the 1914-1918 war in which one of the artist’s great-great-grandfathers was killed. The palette is dark and mostly in shades of gray, with plumes of vivid red in the fire painting and a bit of subdued green around the blue-less pond in the water one. In two slightly earlier pictures, the images are more abstract yet literally earthy — the thick acrylic pigment is bulked with sand and dirt.

Nature is not so explicitly integrated into the element paintings, which stretch horizontal vistas across two (and, in one case, three) vertical panels. Yet the land’s ability to regenerate is one of Zaric’s themes. In his nearly monochromatic portrayal of psychic and physical damage, that patch of green may be the most important thing.

Nenad Zaric: Memory and the Subconscious Through Jan. 20 


In the galleries: In two exhibitions, three painters put aside their brushes. Washington Post by Mark Jenkins,  November 8th, 2018

The mixed-media paintings of Shar Coulson, whose “Perception vs. Reality” is at Artist’s Proof, are somewhat more traditional. The Chicago artist’s work begins as abstract but comes to include hints of nature and landscape imagery. (Her current series is titled “Fauna Flora Figure.”) Some brushwork is evident amid the strata of wax and acrylic paint, as are lines drawn in charcoal.

Yet Coulson uses tactics akin to Minah’s. She regularly rotates the canvas so as to approach the composition from fresh perspectives. Also, she abrades pigment she has applied, both to yield weathered textures and to open areas for new forays. The completed pictures feel delicate yet physical, combining muted hues and robust gestures. Coulson’s homages to flora and fauna are just as much celebrations of the act of painting.

Perception vs. Reality: An Exhibition of Works by Shar Coulson Through Nov. 25


Artist’s Proof Presents Perception vs. Reality: An Exhibition of Works by Shar Coulson. East City Art, via Artist's Proof Press Release, October 15, 2018

Artist’s Proof is pleased to announce Perception vs. Reality: an exhibition of works by American artist Shar Coulson. A curated selection of her paintings will be on view at Artist’s Proof this October. Please join us for the opening reception on Saturday, October 20th, 2018 at 4 pm at Artist’s Proof Gallery located at 1533 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington DC. The exhibition will be on view from October 20, 2018, to November 25, 2018.

Formally trained in atelier-style realism, Shar Coulson (American, b. 1955) finds her passion runs most rooted in the world of Organic Abstraction. Not a school or a movement but characterized by “the use of rounded abstract forms based on what one finds in nature,” which was prevalent in artists and sculptors such as Kandinsky, Miro, Henry Moore, and Jean Arp. Finding alignment with Georgia O’Keeffe’s sense of color and sensuality, she is inspired by the Abstract Expressionists before her, who stepped into the unfamiliar and made it a credible artistic path.


This is Georgetown: Culture, video by GeorgetownBID and Think Out Loud Productions, August 21, 2018

Forget what you think you know--THIS is Georgetown culture. 

 Check out the sixth video in our #ThisIsGeorgetown summer series, as we highlight some of the most interesting people who shape Georgetown's fashion, food, history, community, small business, specialty services, and culture! For more byGeorge stories, visit georgetowndc.com/blog. 

 Video by Think Out Loud Productions; featuring Artist's Proof

In the galleries: Every picture tells a story, but it’s up to viewers to provide the plot. Washington Post by Mark Jenkins, May 25, 2018

Technically, the “Theory of Color” at Artist’s Proof is the second half of a two-part show of local and international abstract artists. The selection spotlights bright hues, following a run of all-white work. But some of the pieces from the previous grouping are still on display, so both modes coexist.

Of the part-two artists, most evoke nature. Robert Schoenfeld’s overlapping swaths of color dotted with gold grains suggest flower bouquets, as well as Morris Louis canvases. Shar Coulson’s paintings employ more muted shades and subtle contrasts among areas of opaque, watery and seemingly abraded pigment. Kikuko Morimoto works with literal blocks of color, collaging torn sheets of single-hue paper. Simplest yet rich with detail are Craig Cahoon’s bisected fields, pitting red against orange or black vs. lime. The colors are bold but applied in streaks, which gives them texture and even a sense of movement.

Of the colorless works still on exhibit, the most striking are Maja Thommen’s bas reliefs, made of fiber resin. They conjure shapes of water, including waves, ripple and bubbles. That the material is entirely white frees the Swiss artist to focus purely on form, light and shadow.

Theory of Color: Color and Intent in Abstraction Through June 3


In the galleries: Every picture tells a story, but it’s up to viewers to provide the plot. Washington Post by Mark Jenkins, May 25, 2018

Technically, the “Theory of Color” at Artist’s Proof is the second half of a two-part show of local and international abstract artists. The selection spotlights bright hues, following a run of all-white work. But some of the pieces from the previous grouping are still on display, so both modes coexist.

Of the part-two artists, most evoke nature. Robert Schoenfeld’s overlapping swaths of color dotted with gold grains suggest flower bouquets, as well as Morris Louis canvases. Shar Coulson’s paintings employ more muted shades and subtle contrasts among areas of opaque, watery and seemingly abraded pigment. Kikuko Morimoto works with literal blocks of color, collaging torn sheets of single-hue paper. Simplest yet rich with detail are Craig Cahoon’s bisected fields, pitting red against orange or black vs. lime. The colors are bold but applied in streaks, which gives them texture and even a sense of movement. 

Of the colorless works,  on exhibit, the most striking are Maja Thommen’s bas-reliefs, made of fiber resin. They conjure shapes of water, including waves, ripple, and bubbles. That the material is entirely white frees the Swiss artist to focus purely on form, light, and shadow.


‘I Look at Every Work Like a Little Miracle’, ByGeorge Blog, February 15, 2018

DURING HER SENIOR YEAR AT A CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN SINGAPORE, PEGGY SPARKS SAT ACROSS FROM FATHER GERRAD KEANE. THE IRISH JESUIT PRIEST HAD ONE MORE LESSON TO TEACH HER. 

‘He knew I wasn’t very religious and he said, ‘You might not have faith, but never lose your sense of awe.’ He told me this when I was 18 years old and I’ve never forgotten it. That’s how I try to approach the world, and art is one of those things.’ 

Peggy grew up in a loving family with modest means on the other side of the world; another world from her current life as the owner of Artist’s Proof gallery. As soon as she discovered a globe, Peggy began a running list of places she wanted to visit. Right before college, she saved enough for a plane ticket to Thailand. There, she discovered her life’s passion.

‘You don’t think about art in your safe space. When you travel you realize that the art you see is such a reflection of the culture you’re visiting. I started to buy a painting from every place I visited, and that’s how I started to get really excited about it.’


Best Art Advisor: Best of DC, DC Modern Luxury, by the Editors. January 10, 2018

When one asks art curator and advisor Peggy Sparks what she likes when it comes to fine art, she doesn’t equivocate: The woman has a gallery to showcase her passions. From pop artist John Stango to internationally renowned photographer Fred Maroon, Sparks has the most diverse yet on-point eye in the city. The good news for companies and individuals who want to populate their offices and homes with beauty? Sparks’ talent is for hire. She believes in the commingling of personal taste and timeless imagery.



Talk About the Passion, DC Modern Luxury, by Michael McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief, January 2018

Peggy Sparks is another woman passionate about her calling: art. As the owner of Artist's Proof Art Gallery & Consultancy in Georgetown, she has one of the keenest eyes for new worldwide talent in the District, and she also happens to be one of the most insightful and genuinely happy people you'll meet in the new year.

Two Shades Of War: Nenad Zaric At The Artist’s Proof Gallery, The Georgetown Voice, by Michael Bergin, December 12, 2017

In the bewildering strife and tragedy of conflict, art has always been a positive light in the darkness. Petr Krivonogov’s painting of Russian soldiers standing with their arms up on the bullet-ridden Reichstag steps has been a Russian sign of hope for peace, or even for restoration. “Guernica” is a memorial to the chaos and confusion of atrocity and violence, while “Paths of Glory” is a dismissal of glory  searching for a lost generation. Those who live through times like these all have a unique experience to convey. Serbian artist Nenad Zaric is no exception. Selected works from his “White and Black” series, now on display at the Artist’s Proof Art Gallery, reflect Zaric’s feelings on the downfall of Yugoslavia, torn apart by ethnic conflict.


10 summer date ides that go beyond the typical outdoor movie or concert, Washington Post, by Going Out Guide staff, July 2017

The intimate pop-up concert series Sofar Sounds puts on shows in unexpected spaces: Think Artist's Proof art gallery in Georgetown, the Femme Fatale pop-up store on H Street, Shake Shake in Union Station and private homes across the city. Sit on blankets and listen to music from a mix of local bands, emerging artists and such headliners as Vanessa Carlton, Broods and Buika - three past acts. 

Walls & Plates, DC Modern Luxury, by the Editors, December 2017

Georgetown

Owner and curator Peggy Sparks has one of the finest contemporary-art minds in the city, and it shows in this place.

In the galleries: Dark hues that paint unsettling portents, Washington Post, by Mark Jenkins, June 15, 2017

Even if none of Saya Behnam’s paintings included Farsi script, which a few do, the influence of Persian illuminated manuscripts would be clear just from the colors. The Tehran-born, Leesburg-based artist’s elegant pictures are abstract rather than representational, but they’re clearly linked to tradition. Her Artist’s Proof show, “Saffron & Tea,” glistens with flower and mineral pigments used for centuries in one-of-a-kind illustrated books.

In addition to the titular substances, the artist employs henna, coffee and hibiscus, supplemented by gold. Dabs of the latter dance across a series of florals on white backdrops, while other compositions include 3-D spirals of gold leaf or white and yellow paint. The juxtaposition of loosely and tightly painted forms complements the contrast between watery, overlapping tints and rock-solid hues. The results are usually delicate, which befits techniques such as the way Behnam blows saffron grains across the surface, letting them fall where they may. As the artist writes, this process yields a permanent “testament” to a fleeting gesture.



In the galleries: These are not your usual travel pictures, Washington Post, by Mark Jenkins, May 4 2017

Like Darrow Montgomery, Pedro Correa is a street photographer, but he doesn’t focus on a particular place. The pictures from his “Urban Impressions” series, at Artist’s Proof, depict multiple cities on several continents. A Madrid-born Brussels resident who trained as a painter, Correa hops from London to Tokyo to Paris. Wherever he goes, it seems, he avoids the eyes of the people he observes. He’s a poet of urban isolation, or at least non-connection.

Correa often shoots through mist, fogged and streaky glass, or from several stories up, gazing straight down. The results include a vivid snowscape in which footprints and tire tracks reveal a black surface beneath the white powder, and a red umbrella is the only note of color.

With their generic locations and blurred and hidden faces, Correa’s photos appear to seek universal qualities of city life. Yet they often have discreet local character. Tokyo’s concrete is set off by bamboo, a cogent summary of the city’s look, and a British Rail sign identifies one scene as London. Correa’s subjects may be elusive, but they’re not entirely lost.


In the galleries: Step right up and see the sideshow, Washington Post, by Mark Jenkins, February 2017

There are only four Schalk van der Merwe paintings on display at Artist's Proof, but they pack more intensity than a dozen gentler pictures. Taken from the South African artist's latest series, "Not So Funny Now," the portraits glower at the viewer through veils of drips, scratches and smears. Shadowy sockets nearly swallow the subjects' eyes, while red accents suggest both flesh and blood. But skin and underlying muscle don't devolve into raw meat, as in the work of Francis Bacon, whose style is one of van der Merwe's reference points.

These aren't renderings of particular people, and the gallery's note argues that "identity, likeness and gender are neither clear nor important." Yet the faces appear as bristlingly masculine as the artist's method. Van der Merwe uses sketchy charcoal lines to define basic features, giving graphic discipline to the layered, painterly images. In one portrait, the lower part of the face melts into a delta of drips, and yet the overall countenance remains lucid and sturdy. These pictures may depict shock, anger or despair, but never weakness.


Women of Style, Peggy Sparks, Gallery Owner, DC Modern Luxury, September 2016

If there's more effervescent or charming person in the arts community in Washington, he or she would need to overtake Peggy Sparks, owner of Georgetown's Artist's Proof Gallery (aproof.net). Maybe one of the reasons for her cheery vibe is the fashion freedom she experiences everyday. "One of the greatest job perks in the art business is that I get to wear just about anything I want and get away with it," says Sparks, a Singapore native work worked in cities like Shanghai and Dubai before setting in the District a few years ago. " I can get away with wearing a razorback form-fitting dress with ballet flats [one day] and distressed denims with 4-inch stilettos [the next]. And then I'll wear a formal white suit to a client meeting, and no one questions the appropriateness of all three styles."


Art and Culture featuring Donna McCullough, DC Modern Luxury, March 2015


Christian Develter in the cover of the Georgetowner, Georgetowner, October 2014

At Artist's Proof on Wisconsin Avenue, "Ma Da Wine Chin," oil on canvas, by Christian Develter of Blankenberge, Belgium. Develter's latest series chooses for its subject the women of the Chin tribe in Myanmar, focusing on their elaborately tattooed faces. 


Featured Artist: David Kracov

David Kracov is a sculptor, painter and animator, who has worked on landmark movies such as "The Lion King" and "The Swan Princess." He has long captured the hearts of young and old alike, with work guided by the ever-evolving nature of pop culture, literature, and history. pg. 8


Far Out Fashion: Exhibition of Fashion Photography work by Fred Maroon, DC Modern Luxury, May 2014

During the height of the Cold War, the idea of slipping into Mongolia to stage a fashion shot was borderline absurd and nearly impossible. But if you were a determined London editor teamed with a freelancer photographer who'd shot post-World War II reconstruction, the impediments were dwarfed by ambition. The 1966 journey would produce what are now considered iconic fashion images - all shot by Washington photographer Fred Maroon, who died in 2001 and whose rare fashion work is gaining interest among collectors.

"Fred Maroon had never shot a single frame of fashion before 1966," says Peggy Sparks, owner of Artist's Proof Gallery in Georgetown. Her space has teamed up with Maroon's heirs to display and sell 20 pieces of his work this May. 



Artist's Proof, DC Modern Luxury, By Katie Bianco, December 3, 2013

For those schooled in contemporary art, stepping into Artist’s Proof (aproof.net), the new gallery in Cady’s Alley, is a joy. Peggy Sparks, the space’s down-to-earth and gorgeous owner, is a Singapore-born, globe-trotting art consultant who recently moved to the District with the mission of opening a gallery that sells exclusive, yet accessible, art. “It’s not just about art on white walls, it’s about being able to interact with the works,” says Sparks, who, before her stateside move, was a driving force behind the success of Ode To Art, one of Southeast Asia’s most respected contemporary art galleries. Here in DC, Sparks has exclusive U.S. representation for many of the artists on her walls, including Christian Develter and Pham Thanh Van. And she plans to host her featured artists for events and workshops, which shouldn’t be difficult, given the friendships she’s forged. “I’ve worked with many of these artists for years,” she says. “The most important thing is, I love them. Unless you love the work, it’s very hard for you to show the passion to anyone else.”