Doud is best known for portraits but here is showing pattern paintings collaged with photographic details. Meyers’s and Price’s styles emphasize tight detail — Meyers often drawing undulating motifs with ink and Price incising abstract photographs with an X-ACTO knife. Among the other intricate pieces are Stephen Benedicto’s pencil-drawn black-on-black labyrinth and Ying Zhu’s wry homage to the Roman alphabet, in which A’s swarm like ants.
Two large pieces dominate the opposite ends of the space. Near the entrance is Emily Francisco’s “Trans-Harmonium,” a partly dissected piano whose keys summon not notes but the broadcast sounds of about 40 battered clock radios. It faces Nekisha Durrett’s towering “Go-Go Belongs Here,” which delivers that message atop the largely obscured text of vintage go-go posters. The funk also cranks in a painting by Matthew Mann, who contrasts a leafy landscape with two concert fliers from the 1980s moment when go-go and hardcore punk briefly intersected.
As in many group shows, the conversation between the individual artworks seems to owe as much to happenstance as to design. But that’s just one possible meaning of “Dialogues.” The title also refers to potential exchanges among the building’s inhabitants and with visitors. Stable is designed not just as a place to work but also a place to talk.
Dialogues Through March 8 at Stable, 336 Randolph Pl. NE.
Little & Kravitz
One of many contemporary female artists who’s reconceiving “women’s work,” Kirsty Little does embroidery, once the task of ladies, with steel rebar wire, customarily used by construction workers. The half-delicate, half-industrial wall pieces in “Peculiar Feminine,” the British-bred local artist’s show at Northern Virginia Community College, combine regular and ruptured forms.
As suggested by titles such as “Frayed,” orderly grids come apart at the edges or the center. “Constrained” partly resembles a punishing corset, and “Torn’s” metal strands end in blood-red wax tips. The insinuation of violence is intentional. According to the gallery’s note, the pieces respond to “women’s exploitation at the hands of men.”
A former circus aerialist who now works in multiple media, Little is also showing ceramics and assemblages that include animal bones. The “V” series consists of vulva-like porcelain sacks, adorned with wire, wax and ribbons. The gentlest piece is a peace symbol made of porcelain flowers in which two blue butterflies shelter. They must rest uneasily amid Little’s compositions in knitted metal.
Whatever medium he’s exploring, Walter Kravitz tries to incorporate a sense of motion. The 16 abstract paintings in the D.C. artist’s “Lyric Line,” on display downstairs from Little’s show, use more than line to convey animation. The meandering contours hint at botanical organisms, but also at life-forms that aren’t rooted in place. (Dancers are long-standing Kravitz inspirations.) Rendered on paper with watery acrylic pigment, the springlike colors — heavy on green and yellow — flow, drip and sometimes splatter. The bustle of Kravitz’s brush is an integral part of the action.
Kirsty Little: Peculiar Feminine and Walter Kravitz: Lyric Line Through March 6 at Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, Northern Virginia Community College, 4915 E. Campus Dr., Alexandria.
Szczepaniak & Warner
At the time Diane Szczepaniak began her 2019 residency at VisArts, she also entered hospice. The resulting show, “Passage,” includes three abstract watercolors the Maryland artist did a decade or more earlier and a centerpiece she planned, but it was executed by others after her death.
“Flipping Panels Like Falling Water” is a relief wall sculpture constructed from dozens of wooden cigar boxes. Clustered tightly into three upright columns, the assemblage is a warren of interlocking rectangles whose simplicity becomes complex when viewed from multiple perspectives. Like the adjacent “Floating Light,” which dangles two Lexan panels in midair, “Panels” is less a thing in itself than a vehicle for defining light and shadow. Its actual form is permanent, but its aspects are forever in flux.
Szczepaniak’s show shares a gallery with “Outwork,” a selection of drawings and sculpture by another VisArts resident artist, Jack Warner. A Marine Corps veteran, the Baltimore resident combines found objects and industrial materials to make things that are unfunctional yet appear to have purpose. Simply slapping a white star on a black door redefines the salvaged item and highlights the power of familiar symbols.
Diane Szczepaniak: Passage and Jack Warner: Outwork Through March 8 at Kaplan Gallery, VisArts, 155 Gibbs St., Rockville
Jennie Lea Knight
Jefferson Place Gallery is now remembered mostly for its shows of Washington Color School painters, but during its 1957-1974 run, the venue was also notable for welcoming female artists. Independent curator John Anderson’s research into this aspect of the gallery prompted “Women of Jefferson Place Gallery,” a series of shows at Marymount University’s Cody Gallery. The third is devoted to District-born Jennie Lea Knight, who lived from 1933 to 2007.
The selection features a few drawings and paintings, but consists primarily of sleek, polished-wood sculptures made between 1966 and 1976. (A few are undated.) Knight, whose many avocations included wildlife rehabilitator, was clearly inspired by nature. Yet pieces with titles such as “Groundhog” are curved abstractions, simple in form and elegant in construction. Among the most intriguing works are those that provocatively engage space. One snakes across the floor and has a bowllike centerpiece; another leans meekly into a corner yet is topped defiantly by a hooked shape. These robust sculptures celebrate the essential beauty of wood, but also human craft and invention.
Jennie Lea Knight Through March 7 at Cody Gallery, Marymount University Ballston Center, 1000 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington.