This Week in Art: Openings, Closings, Reviews of Curator’s Office and Hemphill
OPENING: "Beautiful," works by Victoria F. Gaitán, Bernis von zur Muehlen, Elizabeth Menges, and Elissa Farrow, open today Greater Reston Arts Center; work by Mike Weber opens today at Long View Gallery; "5 Years, 5000 Images: A Celebration and Retrospection," an exhibition of Critical Exposure's first five years of work, today at Edison Place Gallery; works by Jenn Figg and Tricia Keightley open Saturday at Project 4 Gallery; "Portraits of D.C.," an exhibition contest sponsored by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the D.C. Counts Campaign, and FotoWeek DC, opens Tuesday at Social.
CLOSING: "Shining Ones, Elders, Faire Folke, Fey," works by Lisa Tayerle, Marcos Bisticas-CoCoves, JL Darrah, Jennifer Herbert, Zia Hilditch, Laurel LaFey, Andrea McCluskey, and Michael Sylvan Robinson close Saturday at Gallery 10; an exhibition of glass objects presented by the National Capital Art Glass Guild closes Tuesday at Rockville Civic Center Park; works by Andrew Acquadro, Elizabeth McNeil Harris, and Freda Lee-McCann close Saturday at Studio Gallery.
ONGOING: See our listings.
Reviews of Charles Cohen, Steven Cushner, and "Isolation" after the jump.
If painter Brice Marden liked fast cars, he would like Charles Cohan. For Cohan’s “Circuits,” his latest show at Curator’s Office, the artist layers the tracks from worldwide racing championships atop one another to create a tangled knot—a tighter, sportier, and more conceptual echo of Marden’s famous looping abstract paintings. Cohen is interested in the patterns humans leave in the land: For his last D.C. show, “Terminals,” he individually reproduced the layout of the world’s largest airports, and spread them across the gallery walls for the purpose of comparison. But “Circuits” is the antithesis of comparison—pressed together, the Formula One and MotoGP tracks are indistinguishable from each other. And also unlike the just-the-facts “Terminals,” the repetition of “Circuits” amplifies the meaning of each layer, until the end result is the illusion of a vehicular deathtrap—a course so complicated and dangerous, daredevils the world over would line up to give it a spin.
Ironically enough given its title, the value of the exhibit “Isolation” actually resides in the interconnectedness of its works. Many of the artists in the Carroll Square Gallery exhibit are familiar from past shows at Hemphill Fine Arts, which helped mount it; they include Mingering Mike and his album covers, Max Hirshfeld and his street portraits, and Tanya Marcuse and her understated photographs of trees. But it’s hard not to notice the stylistic links between, say, the overwhelming white space in Noelle Tan’s delicate, vaguely limned photographs; the void surrounding the hunched, crying man in a Sharon Sanderson silkscreen; the swath of gold leaf surrounding a smattering of pedestrians in Paul Vinet’s mixed-media works. Ultimately, the most visually striking works may be Rob Tarbell’s inky efforts at capturing smoke on paper, one of which ends up looking very much like a skull, and a pair of polished photographs by Jason Falchook, one of a corrugated-metal fence and the other of a semidetached house painted in a luscious, creamy yellow.
Maura Judkis also visited Steven Cushner's exhibition at Hemphill Fine Arts, running until May 28:
So heavily influenced by the Washington Color School, Steven Cushner’s work looks far from contemporary, but that’s OK. With a keen sense of history, he summons forth the stripes of Gene Davis, the concentric lines of Kenneth Noland, the geometry of Alma Thomas, and the soft shapes and drips of Morris Louis. Naturally, he also utlilizes the palette of all of the aforementioned artists—a vibrant interaction of primary and secondary, cool and warm, bold and pastel. Unlike some of his predecessors, though, Cushner does not strive for flawlessness, and the drips and imperfections of his paintings make them more hospitable. Color School paintings such as his have an energizing effect—they’re a palate cleanser for the eyes, heightening senses for whatever art you see next. One look at “Panorama” or “More or Less,” and everything will seem a little bit brighter.