They assemble different kinds of things in different sorts of ways, but Elissa Farrow-Savos and Suzy Scarborough have complementary visions. Their disparate styles fit equally well under the grand title of their Zenith Salon show, “Journeys, Memories and Dreams for the Future.”
Collaging art and nature images atop world maps, Scarborough crafts vast geographies that merge the actual and the fanciful. Farrow-Savos makes painted polymer-clay sculptures of single or occasionally twinned figures, but gives these individuals a broader context by incorporating found objects and covering surfaces with repeated patterns. The statues, which always portray women, are often mounted on wheels or other forms of locomotion. The clay women appear ready to traverse Scarborough’s imaginary terrain of flowers, animals and reproductions of celebrated works from art history.
While Scarborough fashions mythical worlds, Farrow-Savos sculpts legendary heroines. A few of her creations sport antlers, and most seem to be on the move or about to take a stand. One wears a gown of butterflies — an overused symbol in Scarborough’s collages — but more typical is a horned figure whose head and torso are mounted on a frame ringed in spikes. She’s titled, perhaps inevitably, “Nasty Woman.”
Scarborough’s symbolic landscapes, their pieces artfully fused with painting and glazes, bloom with variety. As populated as a large Bruegel canvas, the collages lead the eye from one incident to the next, without any central focal point.
The motifs that Farrow-Savos paints on her sculptures are usually simpler, although one of the women is wrapped in a shroud covered in old photographs. The piece’s title warns against “the absence of memory,” which seems an odd concern in a show packed with presence. Both artists make fantastic whimsies that require careful observation of the real world.
Elissa Farrow-Savos and Suzy Scarborough: Journeys, Memories and Dreams for the Future Through July 7 at Zenith Salon, 1429 Iris St. NW. 202-783-2963. zenithgallery.com.
Most photorealist painters focus on urban tableaux whose hard, glossy surfaces allow the artists to demonstrate mastery of reflected light and refracted views. One picture in “Still Life,” Karin Broos’s exhibition at the House of Sweden, does a bit of that: It includes a mirror in which the scene’s photographer is visible. But the emphasis is on the figure in foreground, and the tone is intimate rather than impersonal. These are family portraits, visual caresses of Broos’s daughters, grandchildren and the artist herself.
Broos was born in 1950 and trained in Holland before moving to a sylvan refuge where she raised three daughters. (One of them has made a film about her relationship with her mother, excerpts of which are included in this show.) Broos didn’t have her first solo show until 2008, but is now considered one of Sweden’s leading artists.
The painting with the mirrored figures isn’t the only interior scene in this selection. Yet more common are summery scenes of women, often alone, standing near or in lakes and streams. The water suggests transition, continuity and primal forces, themes also represented by several mother-and-child vignettes: A woman nurses her baby while a toddler sits nearby, or carries a small child while walking in a brook. Broos’s art has been termed “melancholic,” but the mood of these pictures is warm, accepting and just a bit wistful.
Karin Broos: Still Life Through June 24 at House of Sweden, 2900 K St. NW. 202-536-1500. swedenabroad.se/en/embassies/usa-washington/current/calendar/exhibition-still-life-by-karin-broos.
Although each is an American abstractionist who emerged in the 1950s or ’60s, Ed Clark, Richard W. Franklin and Kenneth Young don’t intersect in many other ways. Their paintings represent three different dialects of “The Language of Abstraction,” their group show at the art gallery at University of Maryland University College. Young offers softness, fluidity and a sense of depth. Franklin employs geometric and architectonic forms and fields of weathered color. Clark stresses motion, spontaneity and epic brushstrokes, which sometimes are actually broom strokes.
Young, who died in 2017, spent most of his life in the District. Franklin is based in the Washington area. The well-traveled Clark returned to New York after two intervals in France.
The show’s earliest paintings are by Young, who adapted the staining technique of earlier Washington colorists to sow fields of pulsing, overlapping blots. Young’s third of the show is a retrospective, and Clark’s contributions date from the early 1970s to 2009. But most of Franklin’s paintings are recent, so they reflect not just a different language, but also a less rigid ideology. Embracing mixed-media elements and representational imagery, Franklin takes an anything-goes approach that’s agreeably antithetical to mid-century abstraction’s quest for purity.
Ed Clark, Richard W. Franklin and Kenneth Young: The Language of Abstraction Through June 24 at the University of Maryland University College Arts Program Gallery, 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi. 301-985-7937. umuc.edu/art.
Evoking a place and an era — or several of each — the art in Noche Crist’s “Fantastical Visions” is as varied as psychedelic prints and idiosyncratic tchotchkes. The self-taught artist (1909-2004) was born and raised in Romania, and there’s a middle-European feel to such pictures as “Carpathian Ancestor With Cat,” one of several dozen Crist works now at Gallery 2112. The artist arrived in Washington in 1947, the bride of a U.S. Air Force officer, and later co-founded Gallery 10, a Dupont Circle institution from 1974 to 2010.
Somewhere along this journey, Crist began making eye-popping abstractions such as “Pulsating Diamond.” This and several other exercises in hot-pink op-art hang near silk-screen prints that depict folkloric old-Europe visions of demons, crocodiles and succubi, alongside such New World moments as “Sitting Bull Goes to Washington.” There’s also a flock of wall-mounted sculptural bats and a group of “Polyester Prostitutes,” voluptuous headless women formed from clear plastic and filled intriguingly with small shiny objects. If Crist’s art is often unabashedly decorative, its sensibility is definitely not Pottery Barn.
Noche Crist: Fantastical Visions Through June 24 at Gallery 2112, 2112 R St. NW. 202-213-9768. gallery2112.com.