The winner is Lillian Bayley Hoover, who executes detailed oils of buildings. Her tightly framed “Pergamon Altar” could depict a bit of the Hellenistic site in Turkey or a piece of the city’s plundered architecture that was installed in a Berlin museum in the early 20th century. Hoover’s paintings contrast Nate Larson’s blank photographs of blank American structures, which he cross-references with Twitter messages that originated from the same coordinates.
There’s also a sort of dialogue between Dean Kessmann’s black, gray and white “Test Strips” (which ranked third) and Diane Szczepaniak’s luminous color-field watercolors. Kessmann makes camera-less photograms, exposing photographic paper to light of various intensity (or none at all) to yield monochromatic yet rich individual patterns; these are amplified here by closely abutting 48 of the images. Szczepaniak applies thin layers of pigment, usually of one color family, to create a sense of depth. Although these glowing hues are contained in rectangular planes, they recall the flowing forms of Morris Louis’s “veils” — and also those paintings’ sheer beauty.
Tom Block and
Szczepaniak titles her recent works after poems by Wallace Stevens or Friedrich Holderlin; the pictures in Micheline Klagsbrun’s “Kiss the Name of the 9 Muses Goodbye” are named for Dylan Thomas phrases and inspired by Ovid — her longtime muse. Rendered with colored inks and pencils, these works on paper are smaller and more abstract than the ones in the artist’s recent “Tree Fever” show. Those images mingled human and vegetative forms, as do a few of these, notably the elegantly arching “a nacreous sleep amid soft particles and sleep . . .” It’s one of the standouts, but so is “The Poppy of Sleep,” which depicts pure flora. While Klagsbrun succeeds in depicting what she calls “states of neither/both,” these near-liquid drawings also exalt color, texture and motion.
Interspersed with Klagsbrun’s delicate and colorful pieces are Tom Block’s paintings, which are raw, streaky and black on white. These 10 mixed-media works (from a series of 80) portray archetypes the artist dubs “mystics.” Such portraits as “Bunny Mystic” and “Politician and Aide Mystic” (captured at “the quintessential Washington, D.C. cocktail party”) combine the childlike crudity of underground comics with the excitation of abstract expressionism. When Block calls these characters mystics, he doesn’t mean they’re serene.
Jenkins is a freelance writer.
David A. Yano:
Stroke of Genius
on view through Oct. 6 at Waverly Street Gallery, 4600 East-West Hwy., Bethesda; 301-951-9441; waverlystreetgallery.com.
on view through Sept. 22 at Studio 1469, 1469 Harvard St. NW, rear; 202-518-0804; studio1469.com.
on view through Sept. 29 at Gallery B, 7700 Wisconsin Ave. #E, Bethesda; bethesda.org.
Tom Block and Micheline Klagsbrun: Kiss the Name of the 9 Muses Goodbye
on view through Sept. 30 at Adah Rose Gallery, 3766 Howard Ave., Kensington, 301-922-0162, adahrosegallery.com.