When Freud said that there was no such thing as an accident, he was referring to psychology, not printmaking. But there can be serendipitous blunders in printmaking, too, as demonstrated by Pyramid Atlantic Art Center’s “Misprints.” The work of these 24 artists, most local, is haunted by ghosts, which in this case means images that aren’t fully inked or that materialize where they weren’t intended.
The exhibition marks the slightly-more-than-100th anniversary of “Inverted Jenny,” the extremely collectible 1918 U.S. postage stamp that bears the picture of an upside-down airplane. That flop was inadvertent, of course, but Michael Hagan was being deliberate when he made a set of “Ginnys,” all but one inverted, based on pink stamps from Liechtenstein with a version of Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci. (The original, which hangs in the National Gallery of Art, is a frequent subject for the printmaker.)
Several other participants exhibit purposeful errors. Rick Pieto piles lines of text atop one another to render “glitch poems” that recall dada and futurism experiments in nonsense. Robert Howsare makes serigraphs whose pulsating motifs in Day-Glo colors overlap to create eye-hurting moire patterns, a no-no in commercial printing but here an intended psychedelic result. Kristine DeNinno does something similar but less strident by printing two of three matrices out of alignment to yield an undulating whole. Sue Johnson’s intaglios are impeccably made, but they’re printed on paper with text, designs or flaws that compete with the image.
Among the lightly inked ghostly pictures are David Hawkins’s blurry streetscape and Carol Barsha’s floral, in which the plants are merely outlined. Carrie Iverson gets an ethereal effect with sepia-toned “toner lithographs,” which use photocopies as the printing plate. Closest to the 1918 “Jenny” is one of Cynthia Back’s densely layered reduction woodcuts, in which the beige layer was printed the wrong way. The outcome appears a little odd, but is hardly as vertiginous as an upside-down airplane.
Misprints Through April 19 at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 4318 Gallatin St., Hyattsville.
Korean artist HyeGyung Kim uses video projections to draw transient forms on solid objects. Unlike most such displays, “The Culture of Time and Space” doesn’t cast flickering images only on blank screens and empty walls. The Korean Cultural Center gallery that hosts the installation has been made over into a homey room, with furniture and ceramics bathed in various kinds of illumination, both interior and exterior. The objects include traditional design motifs that complement those of Kim’s light shows.
One animation combines old and new in a cartoonish contemporary style; it depicts waves and birds, as well as skyscrapers, as they move and grow. Other pieces are embellished with stylized renderings of plants and birds or tidy abstract patterns. In two video pieces, such decorations paint and unpaint themselves on a series of rounded flasks.
While computer graphics are essential to Kim’s work, so is appreciation of pre-modern East Asian aesthetics and Taoism’s emphasis on synchronizing human life with the larger forces of the universe. Rather than locate this synthesis in a mountain sage’s hermitage, she places it in an everyday sitting room. Hers is a vision of implacable change, but also domestic tranquility.
HyeGyung Kim: The Culture of Time and Space Through April 22 at the Korean Cultural Center, 2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
That a Zenith Gallery show titled “Women Who Work, Care and Create” would include Elissa Farrow-Savos’s “Nasty Woman” was almost certain. But the artist’s 3-D depiction of a seemingly impatient creature atop a ring of spikes is not specifically polemical. As with much of the other work in this nine-woman show, programmed by Zenith at Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space, the piece is notable for its balance of brawn and delicacy.
One of the more pointed entries is Paula Stern’s “Fanfare for the Working Man,” which stacks a partial ceramic head of an overworked man atop an open briefcase. Stern’s other sculptures celebrate motion, especially dancing. Several of the artists portray the female body or its apparel: Jacqui Crocetta outlines a dress form in twigs and wire, while Susan Freda constructs frocks and shoes in wire, resin and glimmering metal powders.
Farrow-Savos’s gown of clay butterflies links to another frequent theme, threatened nature. Emily Tucci’s “trophies” memorialize endangered African fauna, mostly in wood, clay and paint. Lynda Smith-Bugge sculpts seed pods in poplar, then paints them in vivid hues. The same artist’s “Extrusion” coils serpentine ceramic twists in and around a length of hewed wood. In this array, women’s work is nurturing but rarely gentle.
Women Who Work, Care and Create Through April 27 at Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space, 1111 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
The subject of immigration to the United States couldn’t be timelier, but it’s a big theme to pack into Transformer’s tiny space. “Where We Come From & Where We Are Going” is just five artworks, each as different as the contributor’s ancestral home.
The largest piece is Eliseo Casiano’s “Low Hanging Fruit,” painted directly on the wall. This autobiographical pop-surrealist picture includes the artist’s Mexican grandmother, his sister and the Ford Bronco logo, an emblem of the desert Southwest rendered in metallic silver. Scattered on the floor below is “U.S. Customs Demands to Know,” a set of boxes sent to artist Gelare Khoshgozaron from her mother in Iran. Rather than hide dark secrets, the cartons contain glowing LEDs.
Karina Aguilera Skvirsky’s 30-minute video is a poetic documentary that follows the 1906 trek of the Afro-Ecuadorian artist’s grandmother when she was 14. Indian-bred Dhanashree Gadiyar’s textile-like hanging piece of handmade paper includes the words of a Malaysian immigrant to the United States. Keisha Scarville’s wall of passport snapshots depicts her Guyana-born father, the photos festooned with paint and glitter. The most Kafkaesque addition is a 3-D “X” over one of the faces. It suggests the loss of specific identity, as well as a bureaucracy’s power to erase it.
Where We Come From & Where We Are Going Through April 20 at Transformer, 1404 P St. NW.