The manipulations can be computer-generated, as in “High Voltage — Blue,” where the bottom is a cut-and-paste mirror image of the top. But Makepeace also paints atop the photos, blacking out simple, central shapes with thick pigment. The oxidization in “Red Voltage — Corroded” was applied by the artist, both to further the industrial theme and to highlight the edges of the many squares that combine to make the overall photo-painting. While such additions increase the works’ visual complexity, they also have a larger purpose. They compel viewers to examine the pictures more closely, much the way Makepeace scrutinizes industrial structures that are often ignored.
Timothy Makepeace: Hubs + Feeders
On view through Nov. 17 at District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW, 202-462-7833, dcartscenter.org
Joan Belmar and Lori Anne Boocks
The richly textured paintings of Joan Belmar and Lori Anne Boocks are nearly abstract, yet suggest both personal and historical meanings. The two artists’ works, on display in “Mathematics, Maps and Myths” at Adah Rose Gallery and Studio 1469, feature mottled, grainy textures that suggest layers of earth and sand. For Boocks, the depths symbolize family history; to Belmar, they represent the indigenous peoples of Chile, his native land.
The artists are showing larger pieces at Studio 1469 and smaller ones at Adah Rose, but even the latter feel expansive. Boocks begins and ends with charcoal, with which she renders forms, often rectangular, as well as words and numbers. In between, she lays down and then partially removes acrylic washes. The technique gives luminosity to the muted hues, often earthy browns or metallic blues. Sometimes she connects pictorial elements with drawn lines, cotton twine or rusted twigs of metal. The sculptural aspect adds another tier to her intriguingly multi-strata style.
The bottom level in Belmar’s pictures is spray-painted and soft, but the D.C.-based artist contrasts that with hard-edged, brightly colored forms derived from maps he studied as a child. Belmar’s “Arauco” series, named for the region of southern Chile where his father was born, contrasts precise and amorphous forms, chart and terrain. The painter calls his subject “a search for freedom in a structured world,” but in such dense, immersive paintings as “Arauco #1,” the straight lines and perfect circles are just as crucial as the loose, watery color fields.