Project 4 is a fabulous new gallery on the far end of U Street (at 9th Street). It’s adding to the diversity of DC’s art scene by providing “a room for art and ideas spanning a range of cultural issues.” I like the boldness of the four owners (all designers in some fashion), and the director Anne Surak (asurak@project4gallery.com) has an upbeat, friendly attitude that is very approachable and that generates excitement about art collecting.

The gallery is hosting an opening tonight from 6 to 8:30 PM for DC-based artists Kate Hardy and Noelle Tan. For more information, the gallery’s website is: www.project4gallery.com.

A little something about the artists:

Kate Hardy’s intimate watercolor paintings are postmodern curiosities. The compositions are based on exploration illustrations of objects from the 18th century, which were usually depicted completely out of context. With no sense of scale or weight, the subjects became specimens. She eplains, “One only has to flip through an art magazine to see that contemporary work tends to lean towards the mundane and sterile or the shocking and grotesque. These new paintings are an examination of what current art seems to be avoiding. The images portrayed are studies of sentimentality, nostalgia, and wonder.”

Noelle Tan’s untitled series of black and white silver gelatin photographs consists of highly overexposed images. The series depicts random environments and scenes that Tan encountered while traveling through the deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. “This work is about evoking a psychological space,” Tan says. “I’m interested in spaces where civilization and wilderness meet. The white space acts as a stage and the viewer seeks what is out of eyesight. It is this play of the visual and its association to narrative space that ultimately informs the work.”

Kate Hardy received a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, her MFA in ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and a Certificate of Masters in Museum Studies from George Washington University. She is currently artist-in-residence at the Red Dirt Studio in Mt Rainier, MD.

Noelle Tan earned her BFA from New York University and her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Ms. Tan has shown her work throughout the United States and was recently an artist-in-residence at the Center for Photography in Woodstock, New York.