The art is not ‘Strictly’ any­thing, re­ally

The Washington Post Sunday - - GALLERIES - BY MARK JENK­INS Jenk­ins is a free­lance writer.

The McLean Pro­ject for the Arts’ bi­en­nial “Strictly Paint­ing” sur­vey is 20 years old, so the ti­tle’s mod­i­fier is prob­a­bly here to stay. No mat­ter that this year’s as­sort­ment, in­cludes semi-sculp­tural pieces that bend the pic­ture plane, pro­trude from the wall and even dan­gle from the rafters. Or that one of the par­tic­i­pants is ac­tu­ally a pho­tog­ra­pher.

The show fea­tures 55 works by 38 re­gional artists, cho­sen by Phillips Col­lec­tion cu­ra­tor Ve­sela Sreten­ovic. Among the least tra­di­tional in form or tech­nique are Richard Paul Weib­linger’s neon-hue, pho­to­graphic close-ups of flow­ers; Jackie Hoysted’s col­or­ful con­struc­tions of sil­ver me­tal and painted wooden cir­cles; and Sanzi Ker­mes’s mo­biles of painted-pa­per lozenges in var­i­ous sizes.

The re­al­is­tic paint­ings tend to­ward cam­era em­u­lat­ing pre­ci­sion. In Lil­lianne Mil­grom’s dip­tych, “Le Rouge and LeNoir,” two ex­act­ingly ren­dered young women, red­head and brunette, stare away from each other. Dorothy Bon­ica’s “Cast­away Child” is an ex­cep­tion­ally large and de­tailed view of grass, dirt, leaves and a crum­pled piece of pa­per; it shows a place where some­thing may have hap­pened, now aban­doned. Just as un­in­hab­ited and much more stream­lined is Lil­lian Hoover’s “Awning,” in which ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail serves an ex­er­cise in com­po­si­tion.

Ge­or­gia Nas­sikas’s muted, sub­tly grad­u­ated pic­tures re­sem­ble land­scapes but ap­proach Rothko-like ab­strac­tion and seren­ity. Two ex­am­ples of Bill Hill’s “Bon­den Cross­ings” se­ries, painted with di­luted oils in shades of pur­ple, have hor­i­zon­tal ges­tures that seem to flow left to right. There’s even more sense of mo­tion in Greg Braun’s diamond-shape “Pur­ple Pansy Petal,” whose ma­genta sur­face al­lows glimpses of blue and yel­low un­der­coats. The corners flex as if the piece is ready to curl off the wall, es­cap­ing lit­eral no­tions of what paint­ing can be.

Strictly Paint­ing 10 On view through Aug. 1 at McLean Pro­ject for the Arts, 1234 In­gle­side Ave., McLean. 703-790-1953. www.mpaart.org.

Ana Sediles

Sim­plic­ity is para­mount when paint­ing in wa­ter­color, which is Ana Sediles’s prin­ci­pal medium. The Span­ish artist, whose first Amer­i­can show is now at All We Art, ex­e­cutes land-and-seascapes that rely on fluid tex­tures, sim­u­lat­ing the play of light and a strong con­trast be­tween ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal. In­ter­est­ingly, and ef­fec­tively, Sediles usu­ally for­goes the cus­tom­ary land­scape for­mat. Rather than max­i­miz­ing the hori­zon line, she grabs a ver­ti­cal slice of a long vista.

Sediles also is show­ing some ab­stract in­taglio prints, bold and monochro­matic, and two sketchy acrylics that fol­low the tra­di­tional wide-an­gle ap­proach. It’s her wa­ter­col­ors, how­ever, that dom­i­nate. Work­ing pri­mar­ily in blue, brown-gray and the white of the un­der­ly­ing pa­per, the artist evokes the Mediter­ranean shore or bu­colic streams. Two paint­ings show Cen­tral Park bor­dered by sky­scrapers, but Sediles’s pic­tures are rarely so ur­ban or so spe­cific. Draw­ing on mem­ory or imag­i­na­tion rather than pho­to­graphs, she paints mo­ments in which what mat­ters is not lo­ca­tion but the uni­ver­sal in­ter­play of sun­light and rip­pling cur­rents.

Ana Sediles On view through July 26 at All We Art, 1666 33rd St. NW. 202-375-9713. www.all­weart­stu­dio.com.

Kurt God­win and Betsy Packard

There is no uni­fy­ing mo­tif in “Out­liers: Kurt God­win and Betsy Packard,” but that’s in­ten­tional. Cu­ra­tor J.W. Ma­honey calls the Amer­i­can Univer­sity Mu­seum show “a sam­pler — not a ret­ro­spec­tive.” ( Yet it does sort of func­tion as the lat­ter for God­win, who died last year.) Both lo­cal artists fo­cus on the ev­ery­day, which in God­win’s case means mostly na­ture, and in Packard’s, fre­quently the do­mes­tic realm, though it’s some­times eerily trans­formed.

To judge from this se­lec­tion, God­win of­ten headed into the for­est but rarely took the same style with him. “Through the Trees” breaks the view into near-ab­stract pat­terns, while “Dump in the Woods” is more re­al­is­tic in its de­pic­tion of sky, fo­liage and de­tri­tus. His paint­ing “In­ven­tory of Ev­ery­thing” re­sem­bles a patch­work quilt, and thus it ven­tures close to Packard’s method. She can paint, but fre­quently uses fab­ric and found ob­jects. She wraps com­mon­place things, ar­ranges cloth into geo­met­ric col­lages and, for “Solemn Vow,” dis­as­sem­bles a black suit, so it hangs on the wall like a ghostly pres­ence. The rem­nant sug­gests both the hu­man fig­ure in gen­eral and the spe­cific ex­is­tence of the per­son who wore it.

Out­liers: Kurt God­win and Betsy Packard On view through July 26 at the Amer­i­can Univer­sity Mu­seum, Katzen Arts Cen­ter, 4400 Mas­sachusetts Ave. NW. 202-885-1300. www.amer­i­can.edu/mu­seum.

Joseph Craw­ford Pile

Grow­ing up on a farm in Ken­tucky, Joseph Craw­ford Pile came to love the harsh mu­sic of pick­ups, dirt bikes and, swish­ing to a nearby Army base, mil­i­tary chop­pers. The artist started mak­ing crayon draw­ings of such de­vices as a small child, and some of those pic­tures are in his Hil­lyer Art Space show “Ve­hi­cle Mis­be­hav­ing.” These days, Pile’s mixed-media works are more so­phis­ti­cated in tech­nique, and more ab­sur­dist in out­look. They also have a new el­e­ment: Their back­drops are of­ten the streets of Bal­ti­more, his cur­rent home.

Many of the re­cent pieces are small and on pa­per, as the ear­li­est ones were, though they in­clude ab­stract pat­terns that prob­a­bly wouldn’t oc­cur to a young boy. Ren­dered in a mix of free and pre­cise ges­tures, the larger pic­tures imag­ine epic bat­tles in which mo­tor­cy­cles, he­li­copters and jacked-up 4-x-4 trucks con­tend on rec­og­niz­able thor­ough­fares. (Pile la­bels one par­tic­u­larly baroque sce­nario a “lu­cid dream.”) View­ers who don’t share the artist’s taste for de­mo­li­tion-derby ac­tion can still ap­pre­ci­ate the streetscapes.

Joseph Craw­ford Pile: Ve­hi­cles Mis­be­hav­ing On view through Aug. 1 at Hil­lyer Art Space, 9 Hil­lyer Ct. NW. 202-338-0325. www.hilly­er­artspace.org.

John Stango

In the world that Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschen­berg and Roy Licht­en­stein wrought, is it still pos­si­ble to be a pop artist? Some may doubt it, but not John Stango. The Philadel­phian’s paint­ings, 12 of which are now on dis­play at Artist’s Proof, are de­riv­a­tive but hardly ten­ta­tive. Stango brashly ap­pro­pri­ates his pre­de­ces­sors’ tech­niques and em­pha­sizes bold, mostly pri­mary, col­ors.

Stango de­picts such mid-’60s idols as John F. Kennedy, Muham­mad Ali and Mar­i­lyn Monroe — as well as su­per­heroes and com­mer­cial in­signias — with a mix­ture of rev­er­ence and gid­di­ness. Where Warhol did Brillo boxes and Camp­bell’s soup cans, his suc­ces­sor goes for Cadil­lac, Chanel and Ab­so­lut — and Camp­bell’s soup cans. The artist is a dis­tant cousin of Nor­man Rock­well, but he’s bet­ter at pop-cult im­ages than ev­ery­day scenes. The least con­vinc­ing pic­ture here is a celeb- and logo-free view of D.C. mon­u­ments.

John Stango On view through July 31 at Artist’s Proof, 1533 Wis­con­sin Ave. NW. 202-803-2782. www.aproof.net.

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ERIC GARNER/MCLEAN PRO­JECT FOR THE ARTS

Above, Eric Garner’s “Pyra­mid,” which is part of theMcLean Pro­ject for the Arts’ bi­en­nial ex­hi­bi­tion “Strictly Paint­ing.” The 10th edi­tion fea­tures mo­biles and pho­to­graphs, not just paint­ings.

JOSEPH CRAW­FORD PILE/HIL­LYER ART SPACE

AllWe Art is fea­tur­ing Span­ish artist Ana Sediles’s wa­ter­color paint­ings , such as “Wa­ter­color 8,” left.

ANA SEDILES/ALL WE ART

Right, part of “Green­mount Ave Lu­cid Dream” by Joseph Craw­ford Pile. Pile’s mixed­me­dia work in the ex­hibit “Ve­hi­cle Mis­be­hav­ing” at Hil­lyer Art Space cen­ter on his child­hood mem­o­ries of liv­ing near an army base.

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