PAINTED sculptures and three-dimensional paintings predominate in the invitational sculpture exhibition of works by 22 artists, most of them local, at Gallery K this summer.
"The show is full of color," observes guest curator Francoise Yolahem. "I guess that's because I studied painting."
Yolahem probably would have produced a more intensive grouping had she stuck with her intuition. Metal abstractions, organic or hard-edge, by Robert Fergerson, Maria Hall and Anthony Padavano look like afterthoughts in an environment filled with color and more or less readable images. Alan Stone's rough little wall-hanging bronze castings, formed like fists or rib cages, curiously look more at home. (All of the above, however, are well crafted, which is another leitmotif of the show.)
Some welcome bows to the past are made. There is at least a 20-year-old tradition of polychrome sculpture in the Washington art world, dating back to Anne Truitt's first minimalist columns, which were equally at home being called painted sculptures or sculptured paintings. Tom Rooney's kinetic columns with elegant bends in them, either hung from the ceiling or standing free on a movable base, relate to that tradition. H. I. Gates' wall pieces, beautifully crafted, as always, from a combination of found and constructed wood elements, are very much like highly controlled, three-dimensional versions of abstract expressionist paintings of the late '50s. Agnes Brodie reflects the Bauhaus tradition of polychrome building blocks. Dickson Carroll offers the opposite with his exotic shapes and colors.
A younger generation, for the most part, sets the tone. Rexford Brown's tall piece of roughly textured ceramic segments (colored intensively with pastels) is a strong piece that hints at figuration. Ann Chahbandour, of Philadelphia, forms diminutive, fantastical pieces, like little theater sets, out of colored stone. Richard Greenwood makes crafty, useful-looking "tools" from a variety of woods. Pieces by Rebecca Kamen, Linda Swick and Yuriko Yamaguchi suggest a surrealist sort of displacement, albeit in different ways--Kamen abstractly, Swick with an almost slapstick immediacy, and Yamaguchi with the glow of the desert.
Hae Sook Cho, a Korean artist now living in Bethesda, contributes a fresh, free-standing sunburst image, made of accordion-like sheets of yellow cardboard held together with black masking tape. The piece is a tribute to what can be done with a clear head and very ordinary materials.
The exhibition continues through the summer at 2032 P St. NW, open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Craig & Strang at Gallery 10
Patrick Craig's recent paintings and collages at Gallery 10 consist of hard-hitting patterns. Their aggressiveness shows in the ice-pick points of wavelike, swirling forms, the clashing colors and the thick patches of paint. But the effort is controlled by a sharp intelligence. The result is a curiously satisfying, if somewhat teeth-gnashing, sense of resolution.
Sculptor Garrett Strang shares the space. His works, be they small, weighty metal forms enlivened by fissures, or pieces made of wood with towering stiltlike legs, share a sense of economy, craft and frustration. Something seems about to happen in them--they seem about to move or speak or break apart--and this gives them a certain latent force.
Both artists are employed by the art department of the University of Maryland. Through July 16 at 1519 Connecticut Ave. NW, open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Lithographs and Pastels
In her first Washington solo show, Patricia Bellan-Gillen, a young artist from Pittsburgh, exhibits skillfully made lithographs and pastel drawings at the Bader Gallery.
The prints, focusing upon little forests of child-like signs and scrawls, are self-consciously nostalgic. Their bittersweet evocations are perfectly summed up in the title of one of them: "School Girl Hieroglyphics." The trompe l'oeil drawings deal with unlike fragments--thorny twigs set upon packages wrapped in crinkled paper, with scatterings of newspaper comics, playing cards and Durer drawings. The symbolical intentions also are suggested by words (ritual, ceremony, shrine, totem) that appear in the titles.
Through July 9 at 2001 I St. NW, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.