Yesterday, I purchased the first piece of art that will belong to the “1×57 collection” – art dedicated to the precepts of 1×57: innovation, inspiration and social value creation. It’s a whimsical creation by Maggie O’Neill, who I consider one of the most talented artists in the DC area. I discovered her through, wait for it, Facebook. She’s a friend of friends and as soon as I saw her work, I friended her. I quickly discovered she’s the mastermind of some of the most stylishly decorated and designed restaurants in DC, from Oya to SEI to the soon-to-be opened Lincoln.
Steve and I made a visit to her studio in Kensington, MD and Maggie’s talent is unmistakeable. She paints and creates with such a vision for life, light, color and texture, it was easy to fall in love with the painting that’s now hanging over our office work table. It’s a rendering of the Capitol building and when I look at it, I see the ideals and energy of liberty, of people and values as varied, mixed and diverse as a painter’s color palette, but with an overlaying foundation of democracy that unites and elevates us all. There’s also a fun secret hidden within the painting which compelled me to name the piece, “The Cover-up.”
More important than it’s pure aesthetic appeal, the piece is reminder of my most favorite period of art history, the shift from a formal, non-secular, constrained style of painting (the Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical periods) to Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Expressionism, which completely turned the world on it’s head. When the group of artists now known as Impressionists came onto the Paris art scene, they were viewed as seditious, crude and a threat to the very existence of traditional art.
A fraction of the group were deemed “Intrasigents” – an expression that borrowed it’s name from the radical political party that attempted to overthrow the constitutional monarchy in Spain. Now these revolutionaries – Monet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso – are known as some of the most talented, revered and brilliant artists in the world.
So a big thanks to Maggie for making DC such a beautiful place to live and a bigger thanks to all the artists, creators and visionaries of the world for challenging the status quo and inspiring the unimaginable.