Com­plex­ity de­fines the ‘Draw­ing’ card

The Washington Post Sunday - - MUSEUMS - BY MARK JENK­INS

Tra­di­tion­ally, draw­ings sim­plify what they rep­re­sent and of­ten are pre­lim­i­nar­ies for more elab­o­rate works. But the artists in “Draw­ing,” at G Fine Art, are not sim­pli­fiers. All three em­brace com­plex­ity, both in their tech­niques and their ideas.

The lo­cal in the trio is Rachel Far­biarz, whose themes are war, cri­sis and ex­ile. Her works here — mostly re­al­is­tic pen­cil draw­ings, but with some col­lage — in­clude scenes from World War II-era Europe, as well as the war in Syria and West Africa’s Ebola out­break. One stark pic­ture of a body bag stretched be­tween the two men car­ry­ing it is a vi­gnette from Liberia, but it could de­pict any­where that hu­man­ity has been bro­ken by catas­tro­phe.

Deb Sokolow is from Chicago, yet her text-heavy draw­ings some­times ad­dress in­side-the-Belt­way in­sti­tu­tions. She has cre­ated a se­ries of ironic “CIA Failed As­sas­si­na­tion At­tempt on Cas­tro” sce­nar­ios, whose blue­print-like style qui­etly mocks the tech­no­cratic mind­set. The point of Sokolow’s metic­u­lous di­a­grams seems to be that the world is ac­tu­ally a mess.

It cer­tainly is in the jum­bled col­lage-draw­ings of Lavar Mun­roe, whose mo­tif is the shank, a hand­made prison weapon. The Ba­hamas-born, New Or­leans- and D.C.-based artist is con­cerned with the like­li­hood of in­car­cer­a­tion for dis­ad­van­taged men, and his world­view is morally am­bigu­ous: The shank wield­ing killer can be a hero. Although there are harsh el­e­ments in Mun­roe’s work, the pieces also in­cor­po­rate rib­bons, stick-on stars and col­or­ful ban­dages. The last, bor­rowed from the artist’s young daugh­ter, sug­gest the pos­si­bil­ity of some kind of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Draw­ing: Rachel Far­biarz, Lavar Mun­roe and Deb Sokolow On view through July 11 at G Fine Art, 4718 14th St. NW. 202-462-1601. www.gfin­

These Mir­rors Are Not Boxes

In Lisa Noble’s “Af­ter­noon Peril,” a half­dressed woman cuts a le­mon and seems about to obliv­i­ously slice her own fin­ger. The po­ten­tial blood­let­ting is made all the more eerie by the Noble’s draw­ing style, which melds pas­tel-hued il­lus­tra­tions of do­mes­tic scenes with the ide­al­ized fe­male anatomy of pre-Play­boy pinup art.

Such con­trasts are the crux of “These Mir­rors Are Not Boxes,” a con­sid­er­a­tion of iden­tity by four D.C. and two Bal­ti­more artists. All the par­tic­i­pants in the VisArts show are women, which is sig­nif­i­cant but not al­ways para­mount. Race also in­forms such work as Anna U. Davis’s Pop-Cu­bist mixed­me­dia pic­tures of “Fro­casians” and Nora How­ell’s video of the “whiten­ing” of U Street NW by peo­ple in white haz­mat suits and wield­ing a gi­ant tooth­brush.

An­nette Isham in­serts im­ages of her­self into videos and pho­to­graphs of the rus­tic Amer­i­can West, while Mi­lana Braslavsky pho­to­graphs peo­ple whose faces are ob­scured by their hair or, in one case, are hid­den in­side pil­lows. Coun­ter­bal­anc­ing Noble’s tidy pic­tures are Amy Hughes Braden’s paint­ings, with their hot col­ors, cryptic texts and seem­ingly un­fin­ished ren­der­ings. “Mas­cu­line bravado,” Braden writes in a state­ment, “is my nat­u­ral in­cli­na­tion.”

These Mir­rors Are Not Boxes On view through July 12 at Ka­plan Gallery, VisArts, 155 Gibbs St., Rockville. 301-315-8200. www.vis­arts­cen­

New Tal­ent

Three pain­ters and a ce­ram­i­cist, all in their early 20s, are the “New Tal­ent” of Cross MacKen­zie Gallery’s cur­rent show. Their work is linked less by style or theme than by vigor and high spir­its.

Louise Smith’s large, bustling mixed-media paint­ings are par­tially col­lages, with pig­ment atop as­sem­bled pa­per and card­board shards. Maida Mon­aghan’s red-heavy pic­tures are par­tially rep­re­sen­ta­tional, but they jux­ta­pose pic­to­rial el­e­ments in un­ex­pected ar­range­ments. While Cooper MacKen­zie de­picts hos­tile na­ture in paint­ings of a sink­hole and a tor­nado, the vibe turns cos­mic and per­haps con­tem­pla­tive in his strik­ing “Enso Trip­tych,” with star-like spat­ter on space-black back­drops. (In Zen ink paint­ing, an “enso” is a quickly ren­dered cir­cle, sym­bol­iz­ing en­light­en­ment and the uni­verse.)

Although Ni­cole Gun­ning’s life-size fig­ures in­ten­tion­ally sug­gest the mul­ti­tudes of Xi’an’s an­cient Terra-Cotta War­riors, these are not minions of some em­peror. The “Nick­ies” are all self-por­traits, au­ton­o­mous and un­flinch­ingly nude— al­beit head­less and arm­less. Where the Chi­nese fig­ures are clearly part of set, Gun­ning’s are per­sonal and in­di­vid­ual, and thus en­tirely con­tem­po­rary.

New Tal­ent On view through July 15 at Cross MacKen­zie Gallery, 1675 Wis­con­sin Ave. NW.

202-337-7970. www.cross­macken­


In the quest for im­per­ma­nence, one of the par­tic­i­pants in “Ephemeral” at Olly Olly Art has a clear ad­van­tage: She works with ice. Sa­man­tha Sethi’s “En­tropic Ir­ri­ga­tion Sys­tem” fea­tures frozen mod­els of such well­known struc­tures as the Taj Ma­hal and the Parthenon, made with sand­cas­tle molds. As the mini-mon­u­ments liq­uefy, the wa­ter runs into an alu­minum trough that di­rects it to a thirsty plant. The next set of ice land­marks comes out of the fridge ev­ery time the gallery opens.

Two of the other three artists at­tempt to freeze tran­sient feel­ings. Per­for­mance artist Bita Ghavami presents an ar­ray of cloth­ing items, each tagged with a mem­ory from when she wore it. Lisa Marie Thal­ham­mer’s six “Mind Lib­er­a­tions” de­picts hu­man brains sur­rounded by emo­tional ad­jec­tives; the pa­per she uses is pre-stained with wine and green tea, which adds more volatile el­e­ments.

Pain­ter Jay Hen­drick is show­ing works on can­vas, but also on such throw­away media as ban­dages and a card­board box. He of­ten in­cor­po­rates grids, some­times in­cis­ing the or­derly lines into loosely ap­plied pig­ment. These pic­tures’ drips and splotches may qual­ify as ephemeral, or at least as per­ma­nent records of fleet­ing ges­tures. But their boxes, X-shapes and in­ter­sect­ing lines are as eter­nal as plane ge­om­e­try.

Ephemeral On view through July 18 at Olly Olly Art, 10417 Main St., Sec­ond Floor, Fair­fax. 703-789-6144. www.ol­ly­oll­

Sid­ney Lawrence

When Sid­ney Lawrence flies around the world, it seems he re­ally flies around the world. “Globo Tour,” the lo­cal artist’s show at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Washington Cen­ter, in­cludes many aerial views. Some may rep­re­sent the vis­tas from moun­tains or high build­ings, but oth­ers must be semi-imag­i­nary. One pic­ture gazes down at Venice from above St. Mark’s Campanile, the city’s high­est struc­ture, and another takes a sim­i­lar per­spec­tive on Ubud, Bali, a town that has no tow­er­ing build­ings.

Lawrence is known for bird’s-eye de­pic­tions of the Mall, of­ten fea­tur­ing his for­mer work­place, the Hir­sh­horn Gallery. From above, he makes rice pad­dies and the Eif­fel Tower’s lat­tices ap­pear as kin­dred pat­terns.

Globo Tour: Travel Works on Pa­per by Sid­ney Lawrence On view through July 16 at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Washington Cen­ter, 1608 Rhode Is­land Ave. NW. www.sid­ney­ style@wash­

Jenk­ins is a free­lance writer.


LavarMun­roe uses unique ma­te­ri­als to con­vey his themes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.