By choosing an ambiguous but universal theme -- pursuit -- organizers of the 9th Biennial Members' Exhibition of the Washington Print Club were able to pull together a show that is at once entertaining, generally excellent in quality and broadly representative of print-making styles, techniques and historical periods.
Members were asked to submit images in some way responsive to the theme "In pursuit of . . ." These prints then were judged for fittingness and quality by a three-person jury (artist Prentiss Taylor, dealer Jane Haslem and Corcoran Gallery curator of collections Ed Nygren), which selected the exhibition of 61 items that opened yesterday at the National Museum of American Art.
Predictably, love in its many unpredictable guises makes a strong appearance. The most conventional concept (and all the more pleasing for that) is perhaps conveyed in J.J.J. Tissot's 1876 etching that shows a London dandy, champagne at the ready, during a leisurely boating party with two fashionable young women, but sin (Lucas van Leyden's 1529 engraving of "The Expulsion of Adam and Eve"), debauchery (Lautrec's 1896 lithograph) and languorous eroticism (Picasso's "Resting Young Women, Nude," a 1947 lithograph) are not left out. Neither are the grotesque (John H. Mortimer's 18th-century engraving, "Successful Monster") or the profoundly macabre (Goya's "Love and Death" from "Los Caprichos," 1799) or an ineffable longing (Munch's "Girls Bathing," shown in two versions).
Amorous pursuit, of course, is only the beginning of the possibilities, many of which, from the horrendous to the foolhardy to the necessary to the noble, are touched upon in this pleasant show. It continues through Oct. 31 at 8th and G Streets NW, open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The corridors and galleries of the Arlington Arts Center have been transformed this month by the work of three quite different artists -- Paul Flood, Hilda Thorpe and Martha Jackson-Jarvis -- each invited to conceive a piece for a specific space.
For Flood this was a heaven-sent challenge. He came to art four years ago with a background in science, and his well-nigh obsessional investigations of perspective systems are inherently adaptable to this kind of real-space enlargement. Unfortunately the actual results are, by and large, more instructional than artistic, but perhaps his best wall drawing in the show, a floating overlay of eight different perspective grids, will stimulate his interest in stronger esthetic possibilities.
Thorpe's poetic piece is, as she says, "as much a feeling as a space." Reflecting her interest in the process of paper-making, the piece consists of a sequence of folded and angled space dividers, each a different density of white paper pulp or, more simply, panels of gauze. She achieves her clear intention to surround the viewer with a palpable sensation of whiteness, even though in spatial terms the delivery is somewhat lackadaisical.
Jackson-Jarvis installed her haunting mise en scene in a darkened corridor where the floor becomes a stage, covered with white sand partially illuminated with segments of neon tubing (red, pink and blue), upon which hundreds of seal-like ceramic creatures engage in some unspecified ritualistic activity -- a cocktail buffet, perhaps, or some darker, more atavistic mission.
The exhibition opened yesterday and continues through Oct. 1 at 3550 Wilson Blvd., open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
The artistic odyssey of Sharron Antholt, whose works are on view in a solo exhibition at the Catholic University Art Gallery, very much reflects her several sojourns in the Indian subcontinent. Each of her pencil-and-pigment paintings on paper contains a centralized image--often reminiscent of a spooky tombstone to Western eyes but clearly more akin to the divine, phallic linga in the core of the temples of the Hindu god Shiva. Her technical and conceptual approach, involving the layering of close-valued colors in unframed rectangular formats, perfectly complements the sense of contained, mystical opening we receive from these works. Through Sept. 17 at Salve Regina hall on the CU campus, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.