Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art presents Pressing

Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art Art & Culture

On view March 16–May 19, 2024 

Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA) presents Pressing, featuring new work by Kansas-based installation artist Rena Detrixhe and Washington, DC-based painter Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, on view March 16–May 19, 2024. An Opening Reception and Artist Talk will be held at Tephra ICA on Saturday, March 16 from 5–7pm. The Pressing exhibition invites audiences to simultaneously revel in the beauty of the natural world while considering the complexities of human history in relationship to the land. 

At a moment when much of the social discourse around climate change is politicized, reactionary, and focused on increasingly concerning storms, sea levels, fires, and heatwaves, Detrixhe and Tzu-Lan Mann create intricate and meditative works that reinsert slowness and contemplation back into the conversation about human impact on the environment. While the exhibition title points to the urgent need to address environmental preservation and climate change, it also refers to the gesture of a hand, an intimate touch, that as exemplified by these artists can have great significance. 

In conjunction with this exhibition, Tephra ICA will host Double 194 Years (2019) by artist Steven L. Anderson on loan from the Microsoft Collection. Anderson describes his Tree Rings series as “a way of growing a drawing,” mimicking the growth patterns of trees adding layers of bark season after season. 

“Each of the works in this exhibition is a landscape—a vision of a place formed through careful observation and mark making. And each artist’s departure from traditional modes of landscape painting offers a lesson in how to reconfigure our relationship to the natural environment,” reflects Associate Curator Hannah Barco. 

Rena Detrixhe is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Kansas. In her contemplative work she combines repetitive processes and collected or scavenged materials to produce large-scale objects and installations, ephemeral sculpture, performance, and drawings. Drawn to materials which possess an inherent story or familiar source and often utilizing natural elements, a continuing objective in her practice is to investigate the relationship between humans and the more-than-human world with attention to histories of injustice. Detrixhe received her BFA from the University of Kansas in 2013. She has exhibited in museums and galleries both nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including a recent one-year research residency with The Land Institute in Salina, KS. 

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann received her BA from Brown University and MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant to Taiwan; the AIR Gallery and Lower East Side Printshop Keyholder Fellowships in New York, NY; and the Individual Artist Grant, Arts and Humanities Grant, Mayor’s Award, and Hamiltonian Fellowship in Washington, DC. She has attended residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Sky Dayton, Vermont Studio Center, Salzburg Kunstlerhaus, Triangle Workshop, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Bemis Center for the Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the Jaipur, India Carbon 12 Residency. Mann’s work has been exhibited at the Walters Art Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Rawls Museum, the US consulate in Dubai, UAE, and the US embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon. 

The Pressing exhibition is curated by Tephra ICA Associate Curator Hannah Barco and supported in part by Lindy and Richard Brewster, ArtsFairfax, and Reston Town Center Association. 

Related Events 

Opening Reception & Artist Talk 

Saturday, March 16, 5–7pm 

Art After Hours 

Thursday, March 21 and April 18, 5:30–7:30pm 

Family Day 

Saturday, March 23, 12–3pm 

Reston Town Center Earth Day 

Saturday, April 20 

Closing Ceremony with Rena Detrixhe 

Sunday, May 19, Time TBA 

More information can be found at tephraica.org/programs. Tephra ICA programs are free and open to the public. 

Pictured at top:
Left: Rena Detrixhe, Red Dirt Rug (installation process), 2016. Right: Detail of work in progress by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, 2024. 

About Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA)

Tephra ICA’s gallery is free and open to the public Wednesday–Saturday, 11am–5pm. 

Tephra ICA is a non-profit, non-collecting institution committed to promoting innovative contemporary art and thinking. Leading with curiosity and care, the organization is a catalyst, generator, and advocate for visual arts. 

Tephra ICA is supported in part by ArtsFairfax, Reston Community Center, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.