Becky S. Kim & Heidi Nam

The Washington Post Sunday - - ARTS & STYLE - style@wash­post.com

Korean-born artists Becky S. Kim and Heidi Nam both re­spond to land­scapes, but in very dif­fer­ent ways. Kim’s “Dream­scapes” de­pict the artist’s rever­ies, not spe­cific places. Nam’s “Net­ted” is in­spired by ur­ban pat­terns yet ven­tures into ab­strac­tion.

Nam’s Art League Gallery show be­gan with a re­turn trip to Korea, where she saw that se­vere con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture had largely dis­placed the city she re­mem­bered. Her mixed-me­dia and col­lage pieces are based in part on th­ese new build­ings; some pic­tures are high-rise panora­mas that could rep­re­sent Man­hat­tan, Seoul or many other boom­towns. The most strik­ing, how­ever, are less lit­eral. The shim­mer­ing “Soaked in Blue” evokes, all at once, Bauhaus-style struc­tures, right-an­gled street grids and the ge­ome­tries that un­der­lie them.

There’s no ur­ban bus­tle to Kim’s Foundry Gallery show, whose thickly painted oils por­tray open coun­try that might be Italy, Korea or some­place un­real. The artist also does grace­ful por­traits, and some­times places a lone fe­male fig­ure amid the scenery. There’s a hint of Modigliani to Kim’s elon­gated necks and tree trunks, al­though not to her palette, which em­pha­sizes grays and greens.

This color scheme sug­gests a bond be­tween the for­est and the per­son in it. In “Walk­ing With Won­der,” the head and shoul­ders of an ap­par­ently nude woman are framed by a syl­van path, and her thick black hair re­sem­bles a tree’s leafy crown. The most im­pres­sion­is­tic pic­ture, “Shower in the Field,” sim­u­lates rain’s power to blur vi­sion and bound­aries. The paint­ing’s wispi­ness very nearly al­lows the viewer to en­ter Kim’s dream­scape.

Becky S. Kim: Dream­scapes and Heidi Nam: Net­ted: Mor­pho­log­i­cal State of Our Ur­ban Space On view through April 2 at, re­spec­tively, at Foundry Gallery, 2118 Eighth St. NW. 202-232-0203.

foundry­gallery.org, and the Art League Gallery, Tor­pedo Fac­tory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. 703-683-1780. theartleague.org.

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