FOUR GOOD and varied artists, each just beginning to emerge on the Washington scene, are the subjects of the exhibition at Gallery 10, 1519 Connecticut Ave.
Sculptor Charlie Sleichter, last seen in WPA's "Options: Washington, 1981," has created a series of evocative, free-standing constructions that he calls "barriers" -- actually small-scale models of screened doorways that do not open. Though the doorways never vary in construction, Sleichter manages to change the character and mood of each by varying the nature of the painted surfaces: One, for example, is sleekly modern, flawlessly painted in black, while others have a worn, weathered and spooky look. The free-standing doorways tend to be more successful than several others which have been embedded in canvas.
Patrice Kehoe is represented by a strong abstract painting with collage elements, all vigorously brushed with stripes that move constantly in varying directions. Her husband, W.C. Richardson, is showing energetic pattern paintings with a whimsical, patchwork look that conjures the calligraphy of Chicago's Hairy Who. Marilyn Mahoney's charcoal drawings are especially powerful combinations of architectural and fantasy elements. In "Revolver," for example, a circular stair gradually dissolves into masses mysteriously suspended in space. The show continues through Nov. 21, and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 to 5.
Sculptures of Bronze
Being the son of a famous artist can't be easy, especially if you're an aspiring artist yourself. But William Noland, 26, son of target-painter Ken, seems to have survived the ordeal and is having his first solo show of bronze sculpture at Addison/Ripley, 9 Hillyer Court, NW.
At first glance, the work looks like abstract, slab-built ceramic sculpture, which is, in fact, what occupied Noland until last year, when he set out to expand his horizons and moved into sand-casting bronze. Starting out with smooth sheets of black modeling wax, he assembled forms that often recall variations on a house of cards, with some able to sustain their weight with dignity, while others sag on the verge of collapse -- sometimes interestingly so. To the surfaces of his unique castings, Noland has applied a great variety of patinas, seeking to add interest and complexity -- a worthy goal that, with further experimentation, will no doubt come as his still very young career unfolds. The show continues through Nov. 21, and is open 10 to 5, Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Anthony Watkins is a young painter whose new show at Tolley Galleries, 821 15th St. NW, poses a tantalizing problem. Two years ago, he made a striking debut (at Tolley) of landscape paintings with an uncannily 19th-century look: American Luminist skies aglow over European-looking mountains, meadows and feathery woods. The paintings had their awkward moments, but given the fact that the artist was wholly self-taught, they had an astonishing aspect.
Watkins went to Europe for a year and has now returned to Purcellville, Va., from whence comes his current problematic show. Idyllic landscapes remain the dominant subject matter, but the method and look have changed, and not necessarily for the better. Now painted alla prima, with looser, more impressionistic brush strokes, the work has lost much of its earlier intensity and on occasion simply comes apart. On the whole, it is a profoundly dispirited show.
There are exceptions: "Dawn" and "Moonrise" are deeply felt, lyric works, as are the paintings made in Europe. Elsewhere, however, one has the feeling that, despite his ample talents, Watkins is being held back for lack of basic skills. Like a pianist who plays by ear but cannot read music, Watkins seems to have arrived at a time when the basic grammar of his art must be learned if boundaries are to be shattered. Tampering with untutored genius can be counterproductive, but given Watkins' aspirations, it would seem to be essential. His show continues through Nov. 14, Mondays through Fridays, 10:30 to 5.