Broad, impeccable taste is the hallmark of Marsha Mateyka's gallery, which she opened in a beautifully preserved turn-of-the-century brownstone on R Street in 1984. The parquet floors and dark wood paneling are a welcome break from the "white-box" look of galleries the world over; although the relatively narrow confines of a former residence do place some limits on the size of work that can be shown.
But the physical space never detracts from the consistently high quality of the art Mateyka shows. Every exhibition is put together with obvious thought, care and attention to detail. "With the exception of Gene Davis, my gallery is devoted to the work of living artists, both American and European," says Mateyka, who represents a number of internationally known artists, including Barbara Allen, Michele Blondel, Aline Feldman, Kitty Klaidman, Maria Moser, Nathan Oliveira, Sabina Ott and Andrea Way, as well as the estate of Davis, one of the stalwarts of the Washington Color School.
"It's a diverse group representing many different approaches to contemporary painting, sculpture and work on paper, ranging from the figurative imagery with social comment of William T. Wiley, Luis Jimenez and Nancy Wolf to the minimal, conceptual works of Buzz Spector, L.C. Armstrong and Christopher French."
Works by many of Matekya's artists can be found in leading private collections and top-level museums. Such quality does not come cheap, but the gallery has a broad price range -- from $500 to $30,000 -- that leaves room for first-time buyers, as well as seriously addicted, financially secure collectors. Whether one is buying or just browsing, Mateyka and her staff are consummate professionals, knowledgeable, friendly and organized.
-- Ferdinand Protzman