J.T. Kirk­land

The Washington Post Sunday - - ARTS & STYLE -

“With the Grain,” the ti­tle of J.T. Kirk­land’s show at MPA@ChainBridge gallery, refers to his es­tab­lished tech­nique. The Ster­ling artist is known for stain­ing cen­tral ar­eas of ply­wood sheets with the washes of the same color he uses to paint a hard-edge geo­met­ric bor­der that sur­rounds the area of tinted grain. There are sev­eral ex­am­ples of this for­mat here, but also some ef­fec­tive vari­a­tions.

A few re­cent works split the com­po­si­tion across two ir­reg­u­larly shaped planks. These dip­ty­chs, sev­ered yet uni­fied, are the same color on both sides and re­sem­ble in­ter­lock­ing puz­zle pieces. More of a de­par­ture are pic­tures that em­ploy di­a­monds and rec­tan­gles in mul­ti­ple hues. These also em­pha­size the grain, but don’t stain it. The un­painted wood is cen­tral, and the painted fig­ures its frame. These paint­ings are one-piece rec­tan­gles, some dis­mem­bered vis­ually by of­fk­il­ter shapes. The most or­derly of them, the dou­ble-di­a­mond “Sub­space” 251 and 262, sug­gest Frank Stella’s 1960s style. But even these give equal play to ply­wood and paint, thus fore­ground­ing the back­drop.

J.T. Kirk­land: With the Grain On view through May 31 at MPA@ChainBridge, 1446 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean. 703-790-1953. mpaart.org.

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