Meet The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 Designers: An Exclusive Interview With George Hemphill

The Gallery by Hemphill Artworks, LLC presents ASPIRE HOUSE McLean visitors with the opportunity to look at how architecture and interiors provide a stage for selected artwork. As an art advisor and gallery owner, George Hemphill uses his knowledge of art to complement the overall aesthetic of the home. Read more about his inspiration in an exclusive interview with Sherry Moeller.


Corporate lobby: art installation, Hemphill Artworks, LLC.; artwork by Leon Berkowitz; photo by Matthew Kleinrock.

Sherry Moeller: Describe your room at the show house. How did you come up with the concept and what’s the backstory?
George Hemphill: The Gallery is an architectural space devoted to the display of art and presents an opportunity for an exhibition. The interior possesses physical characteristics that dramatize certain kinds of artwork experiences. The choice of a particular piece for a specific location should demonstrate a sensitivity to the perception of the artwork. The rule being: the architecture and the interior design need to contextualize the experience of the art. And the collection of pieces should serve the overall aesthetic experience of the home.

SM: What’s a favorite element you plan to incorporate into your space at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean?
GH: There are no favorites among great artworks. Each work sends a different message. The artwork choices were guided by the feeling that under the current milieu the viewer desires vibrant color as well as intellectual engagement.


Corporate lobby: art installation, Hemphill Artworks, LLC.; artwork by Steven Cushner; photo, Matthew Kleinrock.

SM: What projects have you done in the past that most resemble or relate in some way to what you plan to design at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean? Or is this a completely different concept?
GH: I bring the knowledge and experience of the hundreds of exhibitions, homes and offices where I have placed art. What keeps it alive for me is responding anew to the personality and background of the client. I look upon the architecture and the interior as a stage upon which the personality of the client is expressed through the selected artworks.

SM: Have you participated in other show houses and why?
GH: There is the opportunity to experiment in a show house. An important reason for exhibitions, art fairs and show houses is to learn from the general audience response. There is a surprising amount of information gleaned from observing the way strangers respond to art. A gallery exhibition can feel de-personalized. Art in a show house occupies a kind of tableaux. This life-like setting can tell us more. And obviously, there is a degree of salesmanship in participating in a show house.


Rendering of the Gallery at ASPIRE HOUSE McLean with artwork by Hemphill Artworks, LLC. Rendering by Roberta Marovelli.

SM: What’s next for you design wise—are there some projects you’re particularly excited about? Are there any projects you’d love to tackle, sort of a design bucket list?
GH: Art more than anything else shows us what is at the heart of a society. We are presently in a period of turmoil and change. The dark times of the 14th Century lead to a better world. We see this in the artwork that followed. As difficult as our current times are, I look forward to being involved in the art that follows the present challenges.

Proceeds for ASPIRE HOUSE: McLean will benefit the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Diversity in Design Scholarship Fund. Click here to learn more, and purchase tickets for the event; opening August 21 through September 14, 2020.


About the Designer | George Hemphill established Hemphill Artworks, LLC in 1993. The gallery has mounted more than 200 exhibitions, showing the work of contemporary as well as historic artists. Additionally, he is an art advisor to many corporate and private collections. He possesses a wide range of expertise beyond contemporary art, including mid-20th Century African American work, 19th and 20th Century photography, and the Washington Color School. He has served as a board member on several local and national art organizations.


Sherry Moeller is a contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine, see more of her work here.

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