Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat




“Fall Group Show 2008,” at the Pass Gallery (rear alley of 1617 S St. NW, Washington, D.C.). The exhibit runs through Oct. 28, and the gallery is open two days a week, Tuesday and Saturday, 1 – 5 p.m., with other hours by appointment.

Richard Siegman’s Pass Gallery exhibit shows six area artists in their Fall Group Show. Fairly small and reasonably priced works are the norm at this show. You’ll find the work of John M. Adams, Pat Goslee and Matt Sesow downstairs.

John M. Adams continues his extensive series of abstract paintings featuring horizontal stripes. These images return to an earlier notion of more subtle and playful treatment thereof, as opposed to some of his more exuberant and heavy-handed later works. These canvases display a textural and visual delicacy, as well as a sophistication missing from his works displayed of late. One hopes that we’ll see work of this caliber in his upcoming spring solo show at the Greater Reston Arts Center.

Pat Goslee, whose work is currently on view at McLean Project for the Arts (through Oct. 25; visit www.mpaart.org), has several more of her pieces on view here at Pass Gallery – the McLean Project for the Arts displays her works on paper, while canvas paintings can be seen at Pass. Goslee’s work features freewheeling layers of colorfully biomorphic shapes, interspersed with spray painted geometric grid work. The richly colored layers in these works often offer little more than snippets of layers for our inspection, yet the overall layered effect has the inscrutably fascinating presence of wristwatch mechanics. The images get better and better the more and more heavily they’re worked.

While Goslee sees them as representations of energy waves, they can be taken as metaphors for virtually any incomprehensibly complex system or state of affairs. As such, interpretations are highly personal, with viewers crafting their own interpretations of what it’s all about.

Matt Sesow offers another round characters treated to his trademark exuberant Brutalism. My favorite here is Sesow’s “Lost Bunny,” a black canvas painted with a grid work of blue eyed bunnies rendered in thin white lines. One bunny is lacking the ocular blue of his neighbors. That lone bunny has been manically encircled with a fat red line. It’s not clear if “Lost Bunny” is headed for expulsion or extermination, but we can be fairly sure that his presence is not going to be tolerated by his homogenized blue-eyed neighbors. It’s a wonderful telling of man’s tribal tendencies, and our deeply ingrained desire to cloister ourselves off with people like us. It speaks to our insecurities and our need to feel safe by associating with people like us.

Three additional artists upstairs are J.W. Mahoney, Kathryn McDonnell and Lynn Putney.
J.W. Mahoney is the D.C. correspondent for Art in America magazine. Like most art critics, he’s also an artist. His collages play disparate and disconnected elements off each other. Quotes and text provide a framework or a jumping off point for the viewer to sort out what it all means for them.

Kathryn McDonnell provides small, near-minimalist acrylic abstracts worked to a paint density similar to encaustic work. Lynn Putney shows her small colorful graphic paintings. Floating somewhere between illustration and abstraction, with qualities of both, while fully at home with neither concept.

A map of Pass Gallery and other details are available at community-2.webtv.net/PASSGALLERY/FallGroupShow2008. (The map is highly recommended for first-time visitors.) To contact the gallery, call 202-745-0796.

Artist Opportunities

“Arts Afoot,” at the Falls Church Arts Gallery (111 Park Ave., Falls Church) is calling for art works 12 by 12 inches or smaller. Up to three works may be submitted for consideration before the Oct. 24 deadline. The theme for this show is the confluence of Art and Science. For complete details and to download an entry form, visit www.fallschurcharts.org.