Jiha Moon's Fantasy Islands

By Jessica Dawson
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jiha Moon's
Jiha Moon's "Avatar Blazing," ink and acrylic on rice paper, at Curator's Office.(Curator's Office)
Just a few days after winning the $10,000 Trawick Prize, painter Jiha Moon triumphed again with the opening of her solo show at Curator's Office last weekend. Moon's detailed ink-and-acrylic paintings on rice paper evoke fantasy worlds, ancient scroll painting and the "Hello Kitty" aisle. Lessons learned during the artist's studies in her native Korea gave her the brushwork of a skilled miniaturist. Now living in Annandale, she's supplemented her homeland's visual vocabulary with images from her adopted culture. Whether or not cute rainbows and tiny fire-breathing dragons co-exist on the same frame, every picture rewards close looking.

"Symbioland: Works by Jiha Moon" at Curator's Office, 1515 14th St. NW, Wednesday to Saturday noon-6 p.m., to Oct. 15, 202-387-1008.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Run for Your Life

By now, episodes of the long-running reality show "Cops" have caught hundreds -- more likely thousands -- of arrests on camera. But 26-year-old District artist Jason Zimmerman decided to change that, suspending those cops and their quarry in a constant state of pursuit by linking chase scenes from over 150 episodes into 18 solid minutes of lung-exploding pursuit. These cops never get their man. Such intervention with found footage is a fairly common conceit in contemporary art, and Zimmerman's doesn't so much thrill as lull. Which is, presumably, what viewers at home must be feeling after watching so many episodes. Zimmerman rightly explores America's ever-increasing tolerance for televised violence -- though this work could have pushed a little harder.

"Jason Zimmerman: Fair Game" at Transformer, Wednesday-Saturday 1-7 p.m., to Oct. 15, 202-483-1102.

Unlikely Beauty When Man Makes the Scene

Photo taken in 1988 of a gate at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
Photo taken in 1988 of a gate at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.(Collection Of Nevada Museum Of Art)
In contrast to 19th-century American photographers, many of whom captured virginal landscapes, the late-20th-century photographers exhibiting in "The Altered Landscape" opt out of such fantasies. Instead, these pictures culled from the Nevada Museum of Art collection document man's built environment as it interacts with the land. Sidestepping polemics, these images find unlikely beauty in even the most toxic intrusions. Edward Burtynsky awes us with his gorgeous picture of rust-colored factory effluent flowing in rivulets over charred earth. Robert Dawson (no relation) turns his lens toward a metal gate erected on a lakeside pier, transforming the structure into a metaphor for man's impotence in the face of nature.

"The Altered Landscape: The Carol Franc Buck Collection" at the National Academy of Sciences, 2100 C St. NW, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 202-334-2436, to Oct. 15.

Oskar Fischinger, Fast on the Draw

Oskar Fischinger's 1934
Oskar Fischinger's 1934 "Square" at the Goethe-Institut.(Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles)
Those mourning the recent closing of "Visual Music," the Hirshhorn's ambitious if flawed exploration of music in visual art, can indulge their lust for synesthesia with this mini-survey of one of the exhibition's featured artists, the German Oskar Fischinger. He died in 1967, leaving behind a considerable cache of experimental films and plenty of two-dimensional abstract works. The group at Goethe includes paintings, gouaches and drawings from the 1930s through the '60s. The canvas "Outward Movement," from 1948, with its grid-incised squares repeated ad infinitum, looks like a distant cousin of Muybridge's early photographic experiments in motion. Still, despite their concern with movement, Fischinger's paintings remain surprisingly static.

"Oskar Fischinger -- Motion Paintings" at the Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 Seventh St. NW, Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 202-289-1200, to Oct. 26.

The Trunks Show at Kathleen Ewing

Marine Patrick Schmidt in  --  and out  --  of uniform at Kathleen Ewing Gallery.
Marine Patrick Schmidt in -- and out -- of uniform at Kathleen Ewing Gallery.(Kathleen Ewing Gallery)
Here's hunky Patrick Schmidt in a minimal bathing suit that leaves none of his assets to the imagination. Here's Schmidt again, expression pensive as a poet's, outfitted in an impeccably pressed Army uniform. Who is Patrick Schmidt? He's one of two dozen armed-forces officers (all but three are men) that collaborators Jonathan Anderson and Edwin Low photographed wearing either sports or military apparel for their series "Athlete/Warrior." The format will look familiar to those who saw Timothy Greenfield-Sanders's "XXX" series last year, in which porn stars wore their street clothes in one picture and work clothes in the other. Both series look at bodies as erotic ciphers; Anderson & Low also meditate on fascism, idolatry and the meaning of great abs.

"Anderson & Low: Athlete/Warrior" at Kathleen Ewing Gallery, 1609 Connecticut Ave NW, Tuesday-Saturday noon-6 p.m., 202-328-0955, to Oct. 29.

An Art Form That's Worth Looking Into

The view inside a Charles Karadimos kaleidoscope.
The view inside a Charles Karadimos kaleidoscope.(The Mansion At Strathmore)
Okay, so it's not high art. But Strathmore's "Kaleidoscope Reflections" sure delighted folks filling the mansion's upstairs galleries last weekend. With eyeballs pressed against ornate tubes -- yes, we're encouraged to touch the art -- visitors oohed and aahed at 103 versions of the much-loved plaything. Artists from across the country shaped their scopes into a bevy of forms, including perfume bottles and one very kitschy walrus. Look inside, though, and the view is much the same: Mandalas in richly pigmented colors appear like rose windows inside a pint-size Gothic church. For those seeking more sophisticated stimulation, a roomful of visitors with tubes attached to their faces makes a performance piece unto itself.

"Kaleidoscope Reflections" at the Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 301-581-5160, to Oct. 15.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company