Arts Desk

Reviewed: Karen Hubacher and Tory Cowles


The work of Karen Hubacher and Tory Cowles is a study of complementary contrasts: Hubacher is meticulous and contained, her color palette muted and soothing and almost Southwestern. Cowles is playful and loose, her colors bright but also tempered by a fair amount of black and white. The common thread in their paintings is delineated geometry. Hubacher lists Mondrian as one of her favorite artists, and his influence is evident in her use of lines and rectangles. Her penchant for detail sometimes gets the best of her, though–Vernal Syntax No. 4 is a rather busy collections of small, highly textured boxes that lack hierarchy and a place for the eye to rest. Cowles is bolder–her whimsical brush stokes and crayon box palette befits the large scale of her work. She frequently incorporates bits of fabric into her canvasses, used to particularly good effect in 551, her painted gumball polka dots echoing the dotted fabric scraps.

The exhibition is on view Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.  To June 20 at Gallery Plan B, 1530 14th St. N.W. Free.

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  • Karen Hubacher

    Thank you, Erin, for your review of the show. Very descriptive writing! Always nice to get an art writer's take on the work. How curious that my palette reminded you of the Southwest. I'd never thought of that, but it is one of my favorite areas for travel, and I've been deeply affected by it. I'm pleased to be made aware of that influence showing up in my work. There IS a lot of movement in Vernal Syntax No. 4, which is why I elected to tamp down the palette. Part of the challenge was how to use a contemplative and soothing palette and still keep the piece active. I'm delighted to have it and the other work out of the studio and on exhibit at planB where someone else can see it!