Over its 35 years, Zenith Gallery has migrated from Logan Circle to the erstwhile Seventh Street NW gallery row to Chevy Chase Pavilion. That last location closed when the mall was remade, but Zenith is not homeless. Gallery founder Margery Goldberg operates a salon at her Shepherd Park home and programs other venues around town, notably the Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space. Currently, she also has an exhibition at the Washington DC Economic Partnership.
Billed as an anniversary show, Zenith Salon’s “Fresh” lists 20 artists, although many more can be seen in the art-jammed house and garden. Some are showing work in a familiar style, such as Sica’s metallic-paper construction or Joan Konkel’s sculptural paintings, which combine paint, aluminum and acrylic mesh in ever-shifting planes. Among the artists trying something new is Kim Abraham, who has turned from pastel coastal landscapes to dark but light-speckled compositions that hint at the complexity of the night sky.
As is typical of Zenith, some of the items are whimsical. Glass artist Tim Tate’s recent American University Museum show combined video and projections to dream-like effect. But here he shows “Martha Stewart’s Kitchen,” an array of blown- and cast-glass pies — under glass, of course. Tom Noll starts with rebar, the steel bars used in reinforced concrete structures; he coils and paints them so they resemble flower arrangements, rooted in blocks of sandstone or wood. Chris Malone draws on African folk art for figures, both comic and totemic, with intricate patterns incised into their ceramic flesh.
Then there are artworks of simple beauty, including Bert Beirne’s exacting, traditional still lifes and Donna Feldman Lasky’s photographs of dancers, semi-draped nudes that evoke classical painting. Among the most intriguing pictures are Jesse Gillespie’s untitled mixed-media collages, which layer the recognizable and the inexplicable; they suggest a future archaeologist’s attempt to brush away multiple layers of grime to find the culture of 2013.
On view through Aug. 31 at Zenith Salon, 1429 Iris St. NW; 202-783-2963; www.zenithgallery.com
Ken and Julie Girardini
The retrospective of Ken and Julie Girardini’s work at Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space is titled “Yours, Mine & Ours” because the two artists make art separately but also run a firm that fashions distinctive household items. Girardini Design is represented in the show by eccentric (and mostly metallic) tables, baskets and vases, as well as an industrial-chic wall divider. The individual creations range from Ken Girardini’s digital prints on metal panels to his spouse’s exquisite miniatures of boats and houses.
Since they design objects for the home, it’s not surprising that both Girardinis include symbolic images of houses in their art. Reduced to an outline of walls and eaves, these structures resemble smaller versions of the “ghost house” that marks where Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia abode once stood. But Julie Girardini toys brilliantly with the archetype, placing a metal skeleton of a tree inside one (“Tree House”) or framing an absent home’s contours with crosshatched wires (“Missing House”). These streamlined structures are ingenious and evocative.