D.C. area galleries showcase work of local artists


Regina Miele, "Southern Exposure," on view at Gallery Plan B. (Courtesy Regina Miele/Courtesy Regina Miele)
March 15

Christian Platt, one of the two artists in Susan Calloway Fine Arts’s “Ink,” works on a grand scale, although he doesn’t disguise the smaller elements in his style. Platt’s intricately detailed drawings, mostly of nature scenes, are constructed from white dots on black, suggesting the influence of printing and computer technologies. One of his pieces is mounted on a lightbox, as if to emphasize his concern with specks, motes and gleams. The largest drawing, the wall-size “Arrangement of Light,” is assembled from 16 free-hanging sheets. However big Platt’s pictures grow, the Washington draftsman maintains an atomistic outlook.

Brian Petro also works with ink on paper, but in a calligraphic mode that permits such secondary elements as paint, pencil, pastel and wax. Assured swoops of black, red or green ink are shadowed by lighter shades, and sometimes lines echo the main forms. The richly layered “tri-cruciform in red ink.1” is four thick strokes of black, three vertical and one horizontal, with red pencil slashed atop them. The D.C. artist’s work alludes to various writing systems, both historic and current, but its poetic gestures are meaning enough.

Ink: Brian Petro & Christian Platt

On view through March 22 at Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-965-4601; callowayart.com.

Regina Miele

One of Regina Miele’s principal subjects is sky, cloud-flecked expanses of delicate light and myriad hues. In her show at Gallery Plan B, the heavens can frame open water or Jersey City skyscrapers. But most often they’re above the 14th St. NW corridor, home to the artist and the gallery.

If local color is part of this work’s appeal, that’s not all it offers. Miele is adept at classical realism, and versatile as well. The selection features such large, vivid canvases as “End of the Day, 14th Street Summer,” which depicts an orange and black sky with vivid sunlight close to the skyline. But there also are watercolors, and drawings in ink and charcoal. The latter range from the sweeping “Cook’s Point for John Cage,” a suitably Zen-like contemplation of near-emptiness, to a series of “Chesapeake to Gotham” cityscapes tightly framed by the view from an Amtrak train. Color and openness are among the hallmarks of Miele’s work, but she doesn’t require either to craft a striking picture.

Regina Miele

On view through March 23 at Gallery Plan B, 1530 14th St NW; 202-234-2711; galleryplanb.com.

Pat Goslee and
Jessica Van Brakle

When she first decided to put their paintings side by side, Adah Rose Gallery proprietor Adah Rose Bitterbaum recalls, she thought the two artists were “polar opposites.” Pat Goslee’s style is colorful and intuitive, featuring shapes that appear organic. Jessica Van Brakle’s work is hard-edged and minimalist, with the repeated motifs of trees and construction cranes. But, Bitterbaum notes, their new work overlaps as well.

Van Brakle combines drawing and painting in depictions of towering forms framed by areas of pale blue, each embellished with a jewel-shaped bit of bright color. In these works, the Maryland artist often multiplies the central figure, twinning it in mirror images or arranging it in circles that suggest mandalas and kaleidoscopes. White backdrops and the limited palette retain the austerity of Van Brakle’s earlier work, but her compositions have become friskier.

It’s coincidental, but two of Goslee’s canvases feature a blue that echoes the shade in all of Van Brakle’s. These five canvases also feel a bit more orderly than the D.C. painter’s previous work. The forms in “Falling Upward” look more delicate, even lacy, and are rendered mostly in reds and pinks. Yet Goslee hasn’t abandoned edgy contrasts and spontaneous gestures, which are evident in “CPR,” the show’s most muscular picture.

Pat Goslee &
Jessica Van Brackle

On view through March 23 at Adah Rose Gallery, 3766 Howard Ave., Kensington, 301-922-0162, adahrosegallery.com.

William Adair, Walter Egan

Local artist William Adair is known for his work with frames, portals, mirrors and metallic leaf, all of which feature in “The Golden Doors to Infinity,” at Gypsy Sally’s, a Georgetown nightclub that includes a display space. (It’s programed by Chris Murray, whose Govinda Gallery used to be nearby.) Adair’s project is a traveling exhibition, and its journey is part of the concept.

The three doors on display are adorned with graffiti, and ready for more. (Markers are provided.) Whatever messages people wish to scrawl will march from Normandy, where the doors will arrive on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, to Berlin, following the route of U.S. troops during World War II. The piece will end up in the California desert, left to decay. The symbolism of all this includes the obvious — opening/closing, entering/departing — as well as Adair’s personal themes. But as that supply of pens indicates, he’s open to other people’s ideas as well.

Adair’s golden doors were inspired by a Flying Burrito Brothers song, “Sin City,” and its co-writer, Gram Parsons. That pioneering country-rocker’s visage is among those in “The Martyrs of Rock,” also at Gypsy Sally’s. The portraits of departed musicians are by Walter Egan, who began his career with D.C.’s Sageworth & Drums and whose “Magnet and Steel” was a Top 10 hit in 1978. Egan’s pictures probably will appeal less to art connoisseurs than rock fans, who are advised to check out the exhibition at 7 p.m. on March 20. That’s when Egan will perform a free show in which he will sing a tune associated with each of the performers he has memorialized.

William Adair: The Golden Doors to Infinity
Walter Egan: The Martyrs of Rock

On view through March 29 at Gypsy Sally’s, 3401 K St. NW; 202-333-7700; gypsysallys.com.

WPA Select 2014

As it has for 33 years, the Washington Project for the Art’s annual “Select” provides an unsystematic but expansive look at local art. Settled this year at Artisphere, the exhibition will culminate in an auction and gala on March 22. Among the one-dimensional highlights are Gary Kachadourian’s large realistic drawings, Lely Constantinople and Kate MacDonnell’s multi-photo views of Southeast D.C. and Jeff Huntington’s portrait, on the scale of an epic canvas but collaged from scraps of glossy magazines. Notable sculptures include Sean Hennessey’s glass forms fixed in concrete, Joseph Corcoran’s twists of mirrored, copper-colored glass, and Rachel Rotenberg’s grinning loop of twisted, partly painted wood and vine. If picking six from than 100 artists is inevitably arbitrary, that brief list does hint at the show’s wealth of styles and media.

WPA Select 2014

On view through March 21 at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-875-1100; artisphere.com.

Jenkins is a freelance writer.

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