Green, who died in 2012, lived in the Washington area nearly all of his 70 years. He began his career when the city’s art scene was identified with colorful abstractions, often made with poured pigment. In apparent response, Green’s work was flat and hard-edged, even after color began to seep into such series as “Glyphs.” These imaginary ideographs sometimes incorporated snippets of streamlined nature imagery from Green’s black-and-white paintings and were generally rendered in black on a single-hued background. In the 2011 series that gives this show its title, the glyphs are ribs of a central spine and stand on a field split between two blocks of gently contrasting pastels.
Natural forms meander on random paths in such Green paintings as 1996’s “Rudder” yet remain locked into a relatively tidy grid. This map-like picture also features a black background, unusual in Green’s work. The sense of structure loosens even further in 2010’s “Protean Scene,” whose amoebic splatters and squiggles admit the fluid abstraction the painter had banished from his original mode. Yet the parts, however loose individually, fit together tightly.
Examples of most of Green’s series are combined in 1997’s “Chronicle,” a multi-part and multi-style picture anchored by a section of gray stone wall that’s painted with uncharacteristic realism. This rare instance of the artist using texture and modeling to simulate a third dimension was partly inspired by the C&O Canal bulwarks near his Maryland home, according to an essay by Sarah Tanguy in the show’s brochure.
Green was influential locally as a teacher, which may have encouraged him to try multiple approaches. Yet all the series exhibited in this show do seem to be “Of This World.” Even when following his fancies to places no other artist explored, Green’s work was always well-grounded.
Tom Green: Of This World Through Nov. 30 at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Gallery-goers who didn’t make it to International Arts & Artists last month to see Jubee Lee’s installation have another chance to experience it at the Korean Cultural Center. Lee’s current show, “Resonance,” also includes additional work by the Korea-born Virginia glass sculptor, who was selected as the center’s artist of the year.
In the piece that the two shows share, vertical glass panels, painted and backlit, represent sea and sky; a cushion offers a place to sit and ponder the simulated scenery and the small pool of rippling water it frames. The title work is another sequence of glass pieces, but these are arranged horizontally and change form as they, seemingly, flow. At the top, tightly rolled blue segments resemble the tile roofs once common in Korea; by the time they reach the bottom, the glass forms have unraveled and turned white so they evoke rushing waves or overlapping slabs of ice.
Wall-mounted glass panels, both round and rectangular, seem to depict only mountain vistas; close inspection reveals tiled roofs whose patterns are incised into the landscapes. Lee’s work reveres nature but also traditional crafts. Indeed, “Resonance” suggests that the two have more in common with each other than either does with today’s machine-fabricated culture.
Jubee Lee: Resonance Through Nov. 29 at the Korean Cultural Center, 2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
Weiss & Dana
A suite of themes and variations, “ReVisions” comprises 11 works each by two D.C. artists. The concept that defines this show at the District of Columbia Arts Center is that Ellyn Weiss made her drawing-paintings first and then Richard Dana adapted their compositions for digital prints. The halves of some pairs resemble each other closely, while others diverge significantly.
In recent years, Weiss has often made art keyed to global climate change. The forms in her “ReVisions” contributions generally appear organic but make no literal references. Yet Dana sometimes interprets them specifically, as when he turns Weiss’s trio of interlocking red loops into a similarly hued double helix. That print also incorporates a statue of two figures, one of several ingredients that Dana clearly derived from photographs.
Weiss didn’t use a computer, but she did paint on vertical sheets of acrylic, so as to overlap discrete shapes in a way that’s analogous to digital-graphics technique. Both Weiss and Dana position pictorial elements as if they’re floating in an ocean, but only Dana includes pictures of actual fish.
Ellyn Weiss & Richard Dana: ReVisions Through Dec. 1 at District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW.
There are few recognizable images of living things in “O,” Don Kimes’s show at Sense Gallery, but the very format of the collage-paintings embraces the natural world. “I realized that life is not a series of straight lines, rectangles and right angles,” the artist says in a brief statement. So all of these layered, mostly abstract pictures are in the shape of ovals.
An art professor at American University, Kimes also maintains studios in Italy and Upstate New York. In 2003, a flood at one of the studios destroyed 25 years of work on paper. The artist’s reaction was to make new pictures based on the damaged ones, using acrylic, watercolor and ink on paper that was then mounted on board. Most of the pieces are tinted predominantly blue, as if they’re still underwater.
The intricate, anti-geometric patterns could be close-ups of everyday phenomena, perhaps as glimpsed through a microscope. But the layered pictures — like those of local artist Cianne Fragione, who also has worked in Italy — might also be inspired by the Old World’s battered walls and chipped frescoes. Kimes looks past time and ruin, and into the beauty of the commonplace.
Don Kimes: O Through Dec. 8 at Sense Gallery, 3111 Georgia Ave. NW.