Painstakingly made with pencil marks and black, white and gold ink, Susan Stacks’s abstract drawings are both sumptuous doodles and celestial skyscapes. In the pictures in her Adah Rose Gallery show, cloud and dragon shapes emerge from closely spaced lines and fields of stipples. The patterns suggest interstellar motion or cosmic radiation, while circles of dense graphite whirls interrupt the flow. Amid all the visual activity, areas of blank paper blaze like pure light.
Although the local artist’s style is not representational, her drawings sometimes recall Japanese painted screens. She acknowledges the influence of two Edo-period painters, Ito Jakuchu and Kano Kazunobu, whose work was shown simultaneously in 2012 at the National Gallery and the Sackler Gallery, respectively. But where those artists depicted flowers, animals and Buddhist saints, Stacks conjures scientific and mathematical principles. (These include the algorithms behind website recommendations, which she salutes with whimsical titles such as “Customers Also Watched II.”)
Gold, which symbolizes enlightenment in Buddhist art, is less prominent in some of the drawings, which consist mostly of rippling black-and-white grids. These pieces are more open, yet still intricate. All the pictures document as well as exalt the artist’s process, which she compares to meditation. For the viewer, though, the central quality of Stacks’s work is not its disciplined repetition, but its grand profusion.
Susan Stacks: “The Sanguine Sunrise, With His Meteor Eyes, and His Burning Plumes Outspread” On view through Oct. 29 at Adah Rose Gallery, 3766 Howard Ave., Kensington. 301-922-0162. adahrosegallery.com.
Stark, straight black lines are the basis of EunHye Kang’s work, now showcased at the Korean Cultural Center. Viewers familiar with early-20th-century European art might detect a kinship with Bauhaus and de Stijl’s geometric modes. But “Hangeul, the Aesthetics of the Lines” takes its inspiration from an older and purely Korean source: the phonetic writing system introduced in the 15th century.
The artist, who splits her time between Seoul and New York, often does temporary installations. Here she has transformed one of the two galleries, austerely subdividing its blank white box with lengths of black tape on the walls, floor and ceiling. The other room features photos of pieces that drew temporary lines on walls, windows, sidewalks, even a pool.
More recently, Kang has begun making large, elegant ink paintings on rice paper, with just a few brushstrokes per sheet. These right-angled compositions are very much in the tradition of East Asian calligraphy, but without its looseness and spontaneity — or curves.
EunHye Kang: Hangeul, the Aesthetics of the Lines On view through Oct. 27 at the Korean Cultural Center, 2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW. 202-939-5688. koreaculturedc.org.
“We” can mean “me” in “We the Immigrants,” Washington Printmakers Gallery’s group show of migration-themed prints and photos. Family snapshots, documents and artifacts are integrated into pieces such as Nina Muys’s “Immigrant Bear,” which depicts the stuffed animal that accompanied the artist on the multination trek that brought her to the United States at age 16. Carolyn Pomponio employs quilt patterns to represent female 19th-century arrivals from Germany. Sally Canzoneri, who interlaces a pair of photos on accordion-fold prints so they can be seen either together or individually, here presents her Swedish grandmother and Korean-born daughter.
Cynthia Back looks to history with her print of Ireland during the potato famine, its shores lapped by a sea of Irish surnames in blue. Margaret Adams Parker illustrates today’s crisis with “Casualties of Conflicts,” a woodcut of an impoverished African family on the move.
We the Immigrants On view through Oct. 29 at Washington Printmakers Gallery, 1641 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-669-1497. washingtonprintmakers.com.
Orange poppies pop in photographer Robert Creamer’s large-format close-up of a garden, and cat-eared hats are among the several splashes of pink. But the 48 pieces in “Glow,” the Athenaeum’s invitational group show, are seldom all that luminous. Indeed, there’s a full wall of work that is nearly monochromatic, although David Whitmore’s handsome abstract triptych substitutes silver pigment for gray and tan linen for white canvas.
The gallery asked artists to submit “work that shows a sense of lightness or hope emanating from something dark.” Thus, lime green peeks from a notch in Joanne Kent’s sculptural painting, whose primary surface is black streaked with silver. And David Terra’s “Winter Gold” uses gold leaf to represent sunlight amid black tree trunks atop snowy ground. The chilly scene is characteristic of “Glow,” which in sum offers more brooding darkness than joyous white — or pink.
Glow On view through Oct. 29 at the Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. 703-548-0035. nvfaa.org/exhibitions-current .
Although her Brookland studio is primarily a workplace, Cheryl D. Edwards periodically uses it for a group show. “Prism V: Facing Fear in the 21st Century” displays Edwards’s work alongside that of five other women. Most depict the natural world in some way.
Beverly Ress does diligent renderings of biological specimens on paper that is then precisely cut or folded. Mary Higgins’s subjects include trees and flowers, drawn to emphasize their root structures. Eve Hennessa paints colorful geometric puzzles, set on watery backdrops. Isabel Manalo’s seemingly tropical scenes are suffused with white, as if dazed by equatorial sun.
These landscapes “are an expression of angst and confusion,” Manalo writes, which links them to Fabiola Alvarez’s five hanging, birdhouse-like structures, each in one of the colors of the Homeland Security alert system. Edwards addresses fear of the other with photos of microscopic saliva samples from male and female, black and white. Without an official color-coding system to distinguish them, the miniature details look remarkably alike.
Prism V: Facing Fear in the 21st Century On view through Oct. 28 at C.D. Edwards Studio, 716 Monroe St. NE, No. 9. facebook.com/cdedwardsstudio.