‘Spring So­los,’ as pre­sented by seven artists

The Washington Post Sunday - - IN THE GALLERIES - BY MARK JENK­INS Aline Feld­man: Im­ages From Wood, a Thirty Year Sur­vey On view through June 27 at Mar­sha Mateyka Gallery, 2012 R St. NW. 202-328-0088. www.mar­sha­mateyk­a­gallery.com. Jenk­ins is a free­lance writer.

With seven re­gional artists who work in such media as paint­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and freezedried food, Ar­ling­ton Art Cen­ter’s “Spring So­los” has to be di­verse. Po­lit­i­cal themes do link most of the par­tic­i­pants, although the is­sues they con­sider aren’t al­ways the latest.

Nate Lar­son’s pho­to­graphic suite might seem an or­di­nary trip from down­town to the ex­urbs, ex­cept that it fol­lows John Wilkes Booth’s flight from the city where he shot Abra­ham Lin­coln. Ni­chola Kinch also looks to the past, but with a newsy an­gle: She de­picts po­ten­tial 2016 pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in cast shad­ows and presents a sim­u­lated Vic­to­rian-era zoetrope in which an ele­phant be­comes a don­key that be­comes an ele­phant, eter­nally.

Kate Kretz’s 19th-cen­tury av­o­ca­tions in­clude em­broi­dery and sil­ver­point, whose del­i­cacy she un­der­cuts by us­ing them to por­tray ag­ing and death. She em­broi­ders with women’s gray hair, and her paint­ings rep­re­sent both male vi­o­lence (a men­ac­ing dog, ti­tled “Testos­terone”) and fe­male re­venge fan­tasies (a bleed­ing vac­uum cleaner, im­paled by a knife). Her most po­tent im­ages of ev­ery­day bru­tal­ity are em­broi­dered like­nesses of “But­ter­cup” and “But­tons,” an­i­mals whose cute names didn’t pre­vent them from be­ing cut into meat.

With “Pro­fes­sional Am­a­teurs,” Paul Shortt turns to of­fice pol­i­tics, of­fer­ing cloth­ing, busi­ness cards and such for the no­body who as­pires to be some­body. The artist A. Gray Lamb par­o­dies science ex­hi­bi­tions with ar­ti­facts from a sup­posed mis­sion to an as­ter­oid, although the amount of in­for­ma­tion that’s “redacted” or “un­avail­able” sug­gests that she’s more in­ter­ested in real am­bi­gu­ity than in make-be­lieve fact. Bradley Criss, too, is on a space trip, mak­ing freeze-dried snack sculp­tures (“Berry Hole,” “Rasp­berry Red Planet”) that dou­ble as cos­mic phe­nom­ena.

In large oil paint­ings that are bright in color yet watery in tex­ture, Dan Perkins com­bines a ro­man­tic sen­si­bil­ity with or­di­nary sub­ject mat­ter. His sub­jects in­clude vivid sun­sets and met­al­framed chairs, re­al­is­tic land­scapes and what ap­pear to be model build­ings. Perkins’s al­most­world is just odd enough to re­quire a sec­ond look.

Spring So­los On view through June 28 at Ar­ling­ton Arts Cen­ter, 3550 Wil­son Blvd., Ar­ling­ton. 703-2486800. www.ar­ling­tonarts­cen­ter.org.

Evan Reed, Hsin-Hsi Chen and Dane Win­kler

Some­where in North­ern Vir­ginia, Evan Reed is raid­ing his neigh­bors’ trash. If that makes any of them ner­vous, a trip to Hil­lyer Art Space should be re­as­sur­ing. The work in Reed’s “Plat­forms” trans­forms un­wanted stuff into el­e­gant raw-wood sculp­tures.

The artist doesn’t sim­ply re­pur­pose rec­og­niz­able items. In­deed, his ini­tial source of in­spi­ra­tion is of­ten not im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous. The wooden hive that hangs from a sim­u­lated branch, for ex­am­ple, looks to be en­tirely Reed’s work. The breached model-house frame must be mostly his, split in em­u­la­tion of its pedestal: a three-part ta­ble whose cen­ter leaf is miss­ing. A piece in which two wooden shoes seem to bud from carved bushes ex­em­pli­fies not only Reed’s skill, but also his method: Ev­ery­day ob­jects bloom in his work, even if the grow­ing process runs back­ward from ex­ist­ing thing to imag­ined ori­gin.

The pop­u­lar no­tion that art­works evoke mem­ory of­ten seems vague, but not in the case of Dane Win­kler’s “Con­jure.” The piece takes its power from be­ing highly spe­cific and sub­jec­tive. The artist has con­verted Hil­lyer’s small­est gallery into the in­te­rior of a hay wagon, as he re­calls it from his child­hood on a farm in Up­state New York. The space is dark, with glim­mers of light through slats along the side and a sag­ging blue tarp at the top. A loamy smell com­pletes the mul­ti­sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence. En­ter­ing the room may not quite plunge visi­tors into Win­kler’s rec­ol­lec­tions, but the sen­sa­tion is, well, mem­o­rable.

Hsin-Hsi Chen is known for ex­trap­o­lat­ing pen­cil-drawn lines into such sculp­tural in­stal­la­tions as the one that wraps around a cor­ner in her Hil­lyer show, “He­drons.” The chunky forms — made of wood and pa­per and lit from in­side — sug­gest both mod­ernist ar­chi­tec­ture and pure ge­om­e­try. There is at least one other in­spi­ra­tion for Chen’s con­struc­tions: the pen­cil it­self. In prints of 43 sketch­book draw­ings, the Tai­wan-born lo­cal artist de­picts the wood-wrapped graphite stick as a el­e­men­tal form. Its cylin­dri­cal shape can mu­tate into more com­plex poly­he­drons, just as surely as a se­ries of pen­cil lines can sim­u­late mass, depth and shadow.

Evan Reed: Plat­forms, Dane

Win­kler: Con­jure and Hsin-Hsi Chen: He­drons On view through June 27 at Hil­lyer Art Space, 9 Hil­lyer Ct. NW. 202-338-0680.

www.hilly­er­artspace.org.

Ron Me­ick

Print­mak­ers fash­ion three-di­men­sional ma­tri­ces to trans­fer ink to one-di­men­sional sheets of pa­per. But Ron Me­ick won’t let go of the orig­i­nal ob­ject, which is sel­dom a flat rec­tan­gle of wood or me­tal. His show at Washington Print­mak­ers Gallery, “Ar-TiFacts,” ex­hibits the carved mold along­side its printed re­sult, some­times com­bin­ing the two in a sin­gle piece. “Ax­iom Ob­ject,” for ex­am­ple, nes­tles a small axe, its han­dle distinc­tively etched, next to an im­pres­sion made from it.

The Delaware artist works with such com­mon­place items as a hangar, a brush and a car­pen­ter’s level. (The last he puts, wink­ingly, at the cen­ter of a print that is hung on an an­gle.) Some things, such as the one that gives “In­ves­ti­ga­tion of a Bar Stool” its ti­tle, are too big to fit in­side the frame. Yet Me­ick man­ages to turn the seat into a sort of over­size stamp, akin to the ones used to im­print an Asian artist’s seal. Spot­light­ing the process by which art­works are made can be pedan­tic, but not in this witty show. Form and func­tion blur en­ter­tain­ingly as Me­ick loops from 3-D to 1-D and back.

Ar-Ti-Facts: Re­cent Works by Ron

Me­ick On view through June 28 at Washington Print­mak­ers Gallery, 1641 Wis­con­sin Ave. NW. 202-669-1497.

www.wash­ing­ton­print­mak­ers.com.

Aline Feld­man

Among the ploys Aline Feld­man learned from Ja­panese wood­cuts is the dra­matic van­tage point. Most of the large prints in “Im­ages From Wood, A Thirty Year Sur­vey” at the Mar­sha Mateyka Gallery gaze down from a high imag­ined perch. Ob­served from such an aerial per­spec­tive, ev­ery vista turns into a col­or­ful patch­work, whether show­ing the peaks and fields of “Hawai­ian Mem­ory” or the semi-fic­tion­al­ized Dupont Cir­cle of “Midtown Move­ment.”

In­stead of mak­ing in­di­vid­ual blocks for each color, the Mary­land artist carves com­plete com­po­si­tions and prints their seg­ments sep­a­rately, us­ing wa­ter­color paint rather than ink. The method al­lows her to blend col­ors and re­sults in un­usu­ally vivid hues. (It means that none of the prints, although done in edi­tions of 15 or 25, is iden­ti­cal.) The most re­cent works in this ret­ro­spec­tive, two “Tidal Di­a­logues” made last year, em­ploy a less el­e­vated view­point and a gen­tler pal­ette. They still share, how­ever, Feld­man’s well-es­tab­lished sense of color and har­mony.

DANE WIN­KLER/COUR­TESY OF HIL­LYER ART SPACE

Dane Win­kler’s “Con­jure,” top, at Hil­lyer Art Space, takes its power from be­ing highly spe­cific and sub­jec­tive.

KATE KRETZ/COUR­TESY OF AR­LING­TON ARTS CEN­TER

Kate Kretz’s 19th-cen­tury av­o­ca­tions in­clude em­broi­dery and sil­ver­point, whose del­i­cacy she un­der­cuts by us­ing them to por­tray ag­ing and death, such as in “The Fi­nal­Word,” above.

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