Tazuko Ichikawa may be an abstractionist and Martin Kotler a realist, but both deal with architectural space.
Ichikawa makes geometric, meditative drawings that are serious and silent. Each work on paper is a subtle variation on the same theme; off-white planes carve out a nondescript abstract space. One imagines that this Japanese artist was, at some point, under the influence of Zen: the "absence" in these drawings leaves room for the spectator to discover a higher spiritual plane -- or alternatively fall into deep sleep.
The drawings spring to life, however, when Ichikawa turns them into precise, purist sculptures of canvas and wood and hangs them on the wall. In one work a piece of wood painted black is bisected by a thick rope to create not only the tension that comes of mixing different materials but also the most daring piece in the show.
For those who savor Washington's urban landscapes and light, Martin Kotler has captured Washington architecture -- a church, an alley, the side of a funky building -- in beautifully painted small works on canvas. Like souvenirs, the paintings are idealized -- Kotler's light is always perfect, his color always rich and harmonious. We can see the influence of Hopper.
There are no people in Kotler's architectural paintings, but along with them in this show is "Rebecca" as the subject of a few portraits. In "Homage to Morandi" she has taken her shirt off to expose a painterly back as she sits in front of a hastily sketched Morandi-like still life. There are no surprises here; these are timeless, traditional pictures, expertly painted. (The Anton Gallery, 415 East Capitol St. Through Nov. 29.)