Artwork: The Thaw Begins and Undercurrent by Sandra Mueller-Dick

By Angela Di Bello

Something about it touched me in a profound and beautiful way / It reminded me of the many summers I spent with my family visiting the beach / I felt that it was calling me in a way / We had to have it / It helped me to understand what sacrifice really means / My decision to purchase the painting had something to do with the death of my mother / It enchanted me from the very first time I saw it.

Why are we are drawn toward one piece of art and not another? It is as though the artwork, be it a painting, a photograph or a sculpture, is at the moment of connecting with it, recognized as a missing part of you. A part that carries a profound desire, a void which can only be filled, like Klimt’s embrace in ‘The Lovers’, through the acquisition of an unforgettable, must have, work of art!

“The Thaw Begins” and “Undercurrent” by Sandra Mueller-Dick in the collection of Shareef Khatib

Why were you attracted to this particular artwork?

I found these pieces of Sandra Mueller-Dick’s striking on first glance: I was drawn to them from across the room (quite literally). On closer inspection I found a richness that is both a delicate complexity and a boldness that feels like it makes a clear statement without shouting. I think this is a rare quality in a modern culture that seems to just get louder and brasher.

I dithered a bit. I walked away but found myself comparing everything else I saw (not just in the Agora Gallery but in all the other galleries I visited that afternoon) to these pieces. I’m an art novice, but understood that a visceral response like this is what makes art necessary. I knew I would regret not having them in my home.

Did you first see the artwork online?

No – this was a cold-call.

How did the style, color, size and price influence your selection?

The ascetics of the pieces fit the visceral response I felt. I knew I wanted impressionist/abstract, twin pieces, mid-sized with a base of blue, gray or purple. These fit the bill perfectly.

Did you have a particular space in mind for the artwork before you purchased it?

Yes: I purchased my DC row house in 2014 after almost a decade of work overseas. In that time I longed to make a home and could clearly imagine the style and type of furniture I would buy. After a year and a half I realized that the walls were still bare: this needed fixing and I’m way too old for posters of any sort.

I have an open floorpan and had in mind to find pieces that I could place in the living room or the dining room. I didn’t quite know what effect the pieces would have, but I knew I needed something comforting and thought/conversation provoking.

Were you familiar with the artist before you made your selection?

No, these are the first works of Sandra’s I’ve seen.

Does the artwork still resonate with you and why?

Very much so. The pieces both provide a boundary to the space and give it a depth and focal point: it’s a wonderful combination. As I sit on my couch in the evenings or make coffee in the mornings, I still find myself doing what happened in the gallery on the day I bought them: I am struck and find myself wandering over to look closer at the layers of Sandra’s work. It’s a wonderful feeling.

How did you learn of Agora Gallery?

I just walked in. In comparison to the neighboring galleries in the district I found the artwork and the Agora team very accessible. In a single space I found quality and diverse work that was introduced, explained, understandable and affordable. As I said, I’m an art novice, but I know this is a unique find.