Olivia Rodriguez probably doesn’t have a future as a food stylist. The price list for her “Happy Meal,” rendered as a take-out menu, promises quick-cuisine delights. But the sculpted pizza, gyros and fried chicken in her Curator’s Office show are unappetizing. Although not made of edible materials, the simulated chow resembles the real thing. It just looks as if it has been under the heat lamp for way too long.
Decay is not a fresh concern for Rodriguez. A previous Curator’s Office show served up meals for artist-fabricated insects and snails that feasted on wood, dirt and chewing gum. What’s new this time is that the intended diners are human. The artist has even arranged the array around a full-size wood-and-plastic-foam model of a food truck, the great portable altar of Gen-Y’s gourmand creed. “Stay Hungry! Eat Now! Consume!” the menu commands.
The selection includes watercolors of food-based humanoids such as “Baby Burrito.” But most of the pieces are plate-size sculptures, assembled with materials such as paper pulp and epoxy resin and then painted. Great care was taken to make the items realistic, yet not idealized. In an age when phone-photographing a comely entree is considered rational behavior, Rodriguez reminds us that the real world is not picture-perfect.
Olivia Rodriguez: Happy Meal On view through Nov. 26 at the Curator’s Office, 703 Edgewood St. NE. 202-360-2573. curatorsoffice.com.
Rigid materials curl into organic forms in the sculpture of Laurel Lukaszewski and Joseph Corcoran, who are showing together in “Other Worlds of Imagination and Wonder” at the Brentwood Arts Exchange. The exhibition matches Lukaszewski’s stoneware and porcelain gestures, often in black or gray, with Corcoran’s blown-glass orbs and ovals, which are brightly colored, partly translucent and sometimes squished. The former can suggest 3-D brushstrokes in air, while the latter are akin to mutant Christmas tree ornaments.
Most of the pieces are wall-mounted or otherwise suspended, which gives a sense of lightness to the heavy glass and ceramic. Among the most dramatic stagings is Corcoran’s “The Fine Line — Gray,” a series of interlocking glass hooks that twist around a pillar. The Arlington artist adds neon to “Pretending,” a series of organ-like forms illuminated from their pulsing insides.
The large venue gives Lukaszewski room to display works from several series and multiple variations on familiar forms. These include rootlike tubes and rows of curved lozenges that shift in size and color. Evoking both nature and an ink-painted landscape, “Falling Water” flows from white at the top to gray-green at the bottom. “Catch” is a jumble of black loops dangling in space. The Mount Rainier artist is known for such pieces, but here the ceramic clusters can be as free as they are tangled.
Other Worlds of Imagination and Wonder: Laurel Lukaszewski and Joseph Corcoran On view through Nov. 12 at Brentwood Arts Exchange, 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood; 301-277-2863. arts.pgparks.com.
The purple-tinted, glitter-flecked “Life Soundtrack” is the second local gallery show inspired by the passing of Prince and David Bowie. The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery exhibition also includes homages to Vanity, Phife Dawg and Virginia singer-songwriter Mark Linkous (who died in 2010). Key Han’s suite of six mixed-media portraits is equally divided between musicians and visual artists, but each one incorporates a vinyl record.
That component is characteristic of the show, which features fewer images of musicians than musical objects: repurposed instruments, pictures of radios and boomboxes, and several pieces with their own soundtracks. Where Civilian Art Projects’ “Prince and Other Departed Legends” was mostly fan oriented, this array is more conceptual.
Hebron Chism adds wings to a guitar, Jim Doran places a costumed mannequin inside a violin, and artist-musician Emily Francisco offers an interactive violin whose each bowed string elicits a different channel. Like much of this work, it cues the ear as much as the eye.
Life Soundtrack On view through Nov. 8 at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U St. NW. 202-483-8600. smithcenter.org/arts-healing/joan-hisaoka-art-gallery.html.
Slivers of vinyl records also spin in Acquaeth Williams’s “Magically Hushed,” a mixed-media abstraction at Wohlfarth Galleries. The piece is part of “Cornucopia,” a survey of work by 26 members of the Women’s Caucus for Art that includes many flavors of collage. Jane Petit’s “Muse 2” is a life-size, free-standing figure of mosaic and glass, and two mostly paper pieces are similarly playful: Jenne Glover’s “King Cake Baby Drama” is a cut-and-paste ’toon, and Sandra Davis’s “Samaki” is a pieced-together fish, glistening with resin as though fresh from the sea.
Other highlights include Hiro’s “Infinity,” a facelike steel piece with purple grin that glows from a recessed neon swirl; Sherry Selevan’s “Change of Seasons,” which renders leaf and pod forms in opaque glass; and Lisa Rosenstein’s “Elasticity,” whose white-on-white 3-D loops are defined by shadows they cast. Ann Stoddard’s “Jumping Jack 2-Minute Workout” is the sole video piece, as well as the only political one. In this animated drawing, an everyday aerobic exercise becomes the universal gesture for “don’t shoot!”
Cornucopia: Women’s Caucus for Art Annual Member Exhibition On view through Nov. 11 at Wohlfarth Galleries, 3418 Ninth St. NE. 202-536-8022. wohlfarthgalleries.com.
Most of the pieces in the Old Print Gallery’s “Abstraction” are nonrepresentational, and some were made when abstract expressionism ruled. But they lack the bold colors and painterly textures of that movement, relying instead mostly on line. A few, notably a pair of archetypal urban views, aren’t even fully abstract. Al Blaustein’s “Citiscape II” treats a metropolis as a large organism; Harry Brodsky’s “City Night” is intimate and lighted by a low-hanging moon.
Karen Whitman’s “Calypso Dancer” and Letterio Calapai’s “Energico” use swirling lines to depict movement rather than the thing in motion. Perhaps the closest these prints come to abstract painting are two from Takamune Ishiguro’s “Beyond the Silence” series. These elegant etching-aquatints, hushed and seemingly watery, are odes to the process that made them.
This is the final exhibition at the gallery’s D.C. location, which will close by the end of the year. Shows will continue at the Manhattan shop and online.
Abstraction On view through Nov. 12 at the Old Print Gallery, 1220 31st St. NW. 202-965-1818. oldprintgallery.com.