Where to See Art Gallery Exhibits in the Washington Area


Today’s high-tech art relies heavily on computers, but PCs, smartphones and digital imaging didn’t exist in the 1960s, when Rockne Krebs (1938-2011) began applying the lessons of color painting from Washington to art made with Plexiglas and lasers. None of his laser works are included, of course, in Pazo Fine Art’s “The Technological Sublime”; they have all been designed for large outdoor spaces. Instead, the three-artist exhibit includes some of Krebs’ designs from the early 1970s for works of art made of pure light. Also featured are several of the DC artist’s clear plastic pyramids, some of which are partially painted.

Van Gogh through a pinhole

The idea of ​​both series is essentially the same: pull the hues off the canvas and float them in the air. Most of the designs concern “rainbow trees” which would curve colored light around the top of a tree, outlining the foliage in space. Among the two-sided pyramids are some that are just translucent shapes, two coated in soft abstract pigments, and one whose joint contains a single vertical red line. It’s not as vivid as a laser, but this seemingly disembodied red bar exemplifies Krebs’ ambition to take color field painting beyond painting.

The technological aspect of Beverly Fishman’s recent sculptural paints is expressed through their precision-cut shapes and glossy urethane paint finishes. Assembled from elegantly contoured pieces, the Detroit artist’s images look a bit like distilled cityscapes. However, their subtitles reveal a very different inspiration: pharmaceutical packaging. To describe one piece, Fishman lists the medical conditions as “pain, opioid addiction, bipolar disorder, muscle spasms.” His perfectly executed works of art refer, albeit indirectly, to human frailty.

Ruth Pastine’s glittering paintings are closer to the images that impressed Krebs when he moved to DC five decades ago. Each features gradients of a single rich color, with the lightest region near the center. Nothing particularly technological in the paintings of the Californian artist painted in oil on canvas whose beveled edges evoke infinity pools. Yet Pastine’s assured technique produces colors that shine like lasers.

The technological sublime Until November 10 at Pazo Fine Arts, 4228 Howard Ave, Kensington. Open by appointment.

For nearly 40 years, Craig Kraft has been shaping glass tubes into neon-lit sculptures, drawing on inspirations as diverse as graffiti, cave paintings and endangered creatures. That the artist’s recent work is more immediate is suggested by the title of his new show, “Emergency Neon”. Gun proliferation, lost or abducted persons, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are among the topics explored at the Honfleur Gallery, which adjoins Kraft’s studio.

Red neon “missing persons” notices glow in the venue’s window. Inside, “Stop Putin” is spelled out in the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag, and a handgun surrounded by a pulsing red light has its barrel twisted so it can’t fire. More conceptual is “Finding Hope,” its white-engraved title name, which is designed to be mounted in what the artist calls “unlikely places” where it can be discovered and documented on social media. As part of a collaboration, Kraft added neon flames to Luis Del Valle’s hair, tie and shoes. The painting of Donald Trump.

The magazine that gave photography unprecedented power

Kraft’s shop window displays the sketched head of an endangered African elephant. The degradation of the environment is also the theme of the most complex offer at the Honfleur show, “Climate change”. The artist has stacked and mounted metal and wooden storm debris, which is backlit in pink and blue, and punctuated by three lightning bolts: jagged white-colored tubes with glowing tubes wrapped around them. White light travels down the vertical tube like electricity crackling from sky to earth, giving the installation movement and a hint of menace. While most parts of “Emergency Neon” are simple signs written in neon, “Climate Change” is a multi-act drama.

Craig Kraft: Emergency Neon Until November 5 at Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Road. SE.

Andrew Sovjani and Graceann Warn

Sensual surfaces are a source of affinity between the works of Andrew Sovjani and Graceann Warn, paired in “Graphic Rapport” at Calloway Fine Art and Consulting. Sovjani photographs assemblages of found books, often painting their spines white. Warn creates layered abstractions on wooden panels, partly covering repeated geometric figures such as concentric circles with wax-based encaustic pigment. Both artists make images that are basically flat, but play with a sense of depth.

Although Sovjani is primarily a photographer, parts of his compositions are rendered in paint. Rather than using computer effects, the Massachusetts artist physically adds accents, either before or after clicking the shutter button. The blue shadows of “Fact/Fiction” are painted and the red backgrounds of the “Color Construct” series, which include Warn-like circles, appear flat but actually bend from the back to the bottom of a stack of books. Sovjani, whose influences include the carnal paintings of cakes and pies by Wayne Theibaud, transforms everyday objects into lush exercises in color and shape.

Warn’s academic background includes studies in classical archaeology, which hints at the role of excavation in his style. The Michigan artist’s paintings can look like palimpsests, repurposed documents that reveal multiple layers of text or images, or explicitly evoke partially erased blackboards. They are often divided into regions of contrasting colors and patterns, or literally divided into multiple panels, including a set of three strongly vertical wall columns embellished with circles and stripes. Rectangular, hard-edged wood highlights areas of bright mottled color, which Warn applies as if concealing and uncovering at the same time.

Andrew Sovjani and Graceann Warn: graphic report Until November 5 at Calloway Fine Arts and Consulting1643 Wisconsin Ave NW.

Originally inspired by a book about loggers in the Pacific Northwest in the early 20th century, Tom Hill’s “Unnatural Desires in Natural Settings” playfully combines woodland motifs with homoerotic imagery, some of which is self-explanatory. The skillfully crafted 3D wall collages include small stumps and miniature logs, sometimes covered in shimmering pink, and phrases such as “cuddly bitch”. The goal, explains the artist’s note, is to “move beyond the taboo to a place of acceptance.”

Tom Hill: Unnatural Desires in Natural Environments Until November 5 at Portico Gallery, 3807 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood.

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