The three artists whose photo-based work comprises “Everyware” utilize the newest stuff: tablets and smartphones outfitted with such apps as Picfx and PhotoForge2 and linked to image-sharing services such as Instagram and EyEm. Yet the collages or “remixes” at Project 4 Gallery, which mostly riff on architecture, exhibit a nostalgia for early-20th-century modernism. The blocks of color, geometric forms and other elements emulate Weimar Germany’s Bauhaus, Soviet Constructivism and Holland’s De Stijl, as well as old-fashioned letterpress typography.
Although the trio’s members sometimes collaborate, and their interests interlace, their styles diverge. Lynette Jackson and Aaron Cahill superimpose boxes and lines in red, black and yellow, but Jackson’s additions tend to be bigger and bolder, while Cahill sometimes overlays such non-Euclidian emblems as flowers. William Deegan’s assemblages are darker and more decayed, generally black and white but sometimes sepia-toned.
The underlying pictures usually depict older buildings, including art deco skyscrapers as well as low-slung desert structures that suggest Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Arizona. But a contemporary architect, Rem Koolhaas, has a hold on Deegan; the artist named a piece “Delirious New York,” after a Koolhaas book, and inserts Koolhaas-like motifs into real cityscapes or rustic landscapes. Another acknowledged influence on Deegan is Underworld, perhaps the only electronic-music group that’s part of a design studio.
If this “handheld digital art” often gazes backward at what used to be seen as modernity, so does much contemporary architecture. At least these compositors are honest about that. Cahill writes that his art “explores the theme of progress. . . . Not in the sense of where we’re going, but where we’ve been.” He and his cohorts use of-the-moment technology to show how cool the future looked in the past.
Everyware. On view through Aug. 16 at Project 4 Gallery, 1353 U St. NW, 3rd floor; 202-232-4340, www.project4gallery.com.
With selections by 28 artists, the Greater Reston Arts Center’s “2014 Artist Member Exhibition” could hardly be cohesive. Still, there are intriguing serendipities, such as the large amount of standout work in black-and-white or near-monochromatic palettes. John Adams’s graphite-powder abstract drawing, executed on a section of gallery wall that involves several bends, claims the white expanse as if it were a page in the artist’s private sketchbook. Susan Hostetler’s graphite-gouache drawing-painting observes the movement of birds, streamlined to cross-hatched shapes.
Jackie Hoysted’s portrait of a glowering fashion-model type is mostly gray, but with pink lips. Catherine Day’s deathbed photographs are in full color yet muted, their ethereality heightened by printing the images on layered silk squares that shimmer and defocus in the breeze. The dominant shade is brown in Brian Kirk’s “Rondel,” a simple metal form whose shape was printed with rust, and Paul Steinkoenig’s “End of the Line,” a wall sculpture of oxidized rail and battered wooden ties, as well as a metal cow’s skull.
Although the selection includes vividly hued color-field paintings, there are strong white accents in several of them, notably Brenda Belfield’s calligraphic “Winter Marks” and Connie Slack’s vigorous, unsmooth “Smooth Jazz.” White lines are crucial to Jo Fleming’s “Compost Diptych,” an earth-toned natural abstraction. Yet there also are such brash paintings as Julia Dzikiewicz’s “Zombies and Suffragists,” with its thick encaustic blues and oranges and embedded crystals to represent water drops. The droplets are from a shower, but a kitchen sink might have been more apt.
2014 Artist Member Exhibition. On view through Aug. 23 at Greater Reston Arts Center, 12001 Market St., Reston; 703-471-9242; www.restonarts.org.
Six artists, three of them more or less painters, cohabit in “Untitled no. 4,” the summer group show at Randall Scott Projects. Jessica Van Brakle uses acrylic and ink to depict construction cranes in kaleidoscopic arrangements. Abby Martin and Hillary Werth both make dense, vibrant abstractions that suggest graffiti and psychedelic doodles, although where Werth relies on spray paint, Martin turns to ink, paint pen and collage.
Craig Roper makes photo bundles, with a single image of, say, a cloudscape or Airstream trailer bound atop rectangles of felt and other objects. Avi Gupta’s elegantly framed, much larger photographs exalt the simple: One shows a shirt hanging alone in a white room, and the other depicts a crumpled paper towel at the center of its own small universe.
The most striking piece is Rania Hassan’s “Revelations,” in which a loosely knitted dress hangs from a painting of a woman’s upper torso, implying the rest of her. Two painted hands reach out to grab the garment, and these appendages are attached to the wall by white rods and heavy screws. The juxtaposition is potent, whether it represents male and female, art and industry or something else altogether.
Untitled No. 4. On view through Aug. 23 at Randall Scott Projects, 1326 H St. NE, 2nd floor; 202-396-0300; www.randallscottprojects.com.
Printmaker Laura Berman takes inspiration from the Flint Hills region of Kansas, which her Long View Gallery statement calls “a vast landscape of nothingness.” If that sounds like something from the grayest of Samuel Beckett, Berman’s monoprints actually are colorful and sometimes airy. Her “Umbra” series arranges multi-hued, wing-like rhomboids as if they’re fluttering on the white backdrop, and her “Starbursts” explode elongated triangles from a central point. Shiny metallic inks amplify the pictures’ force.
The artist, who teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute, also is showing several “Coronae,” which work a bit like Morris Louis’s “Veils.” Multiple colors of ink mostly overlap, but leave a blobby white absence toward the center of the piece. Although the blends yield fields of brown or dirty green, the individual tints can be discerned around the edges of the blob, where they overlay one another incompletely. Berman likes to coalesce, but not to conceal utterly the constituent parts.
Laura Berman: Coalescence. On view through Aug. 17 at Long View Gallery, 1234 9th St. NW, 202-232-4788, www.longviewgallery.com.
Jenkins is a freelance writer.