Executed primarily in black and gray, the paintings in Jeanne Garant’s “275 Stripes” are almost austere. Yet there are glimmers of sensuousness in the Touchstone Gallery show, whether in the infrequent bright colors — a gold bar, a red line — or the textures within the muted, monochromatic blocks. Another low-key element is the translucent wax that partly covers some of the pictures, offering both a smooth sheen and ragged drips.
Garant’s work shows the apparent influence of Barnett Newman, who called his thin vertical lines “zips” rather than stripes. Both artists take a geometric approach yet sometimes punctuate the rational forms with a freehand band of color, as in “Recto/ Verso.” The Arlington artist ventures further with “A Bit of Curry,” a study in wavy lines whose only hard edges are the borders of the canvas. Most effective, though, are the pictures that maintain a tension between precision and intuition. Garant’s stripes can either hold a field together or slash it apart.
Jeanne Garant: 275 Stripes: Oil & Cold Wax Paintings On view through May 28 at Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave. NW. 202-347-2787. touchstonegallery.com.