Where to See Art Gallery Exhibits in the Washington Area

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Besides being a few blocks away, the summer group shows at Pazo Fine Art and Adah Rose Gallery don’t have much in common. Pazo’s “Soft Power” features the work of just five artists, all from DC or Baltimore. Adah Rose’s “Carte Blanche” has dozens of contributors, including a few Europeans. But both exhibits have one artist in common: Wayson R. Jones, who is known for his thickly impastoed square abstracts.

The Adah Rose exhibit, which spills out of the gallery’s current home into its former space around the corner in the same building, features more than a dozen paintings by Jones. Two are in the black and white style that was once the Prince George’s County artist’s signature, while others are in pastel. The four photos of Jones in Pazo are more vivid and can be seen as flirting with landscapes. The star is “Lifting Up the Sunny World,” a field of graduated oranges within steep borders of green and blue.

The other “Soft Power” Washingtonian is Jean Jinho Kim, whose aluminum sculptures have become simpler and more direct, to their advantage. Her “Good Vibes 3” consists of two powder coated mirror image shapes in shades of dark olive and pale green. The piece recalls the confident austerity of the late DC artist Anne Truitt and contrasts sharply with the work of the show’s other sculptor, Danni O’Brien, whose found object assemblages are bulbous, spindly and surreal.

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The exhibition also includes paintings by abstractionists Mary Anne Arntzen and Sue Crawford, both of which use voluptuous colors and undulating patterns. Arntzen’s oils are thicker and more textured, while Crawford’s gouaches are softer and more watery. What connects them is the way the two artists evoke the movement contained within the frame, so that the gestures pulsate and coil.

Like previous Adah Rose summer showcases of the same name, “Carte Blanche” was programmed by the gallery’s interns and draws heavily on artists whose work the gallery has previously shown. Among them, Jessica Drenk, who certainly transforms mundane found objects such as white PVC pipes; Maremi Andreozzi, whose paintings of women in period dress are intricately detailed but devoid of faces; and Lori Anne Boocks, whose stunningly weathered images layer partially abraded acrylic washes over charcoal marks that include illegible text.

New to the gallery, Taegan Treichel, originally from Denmark, combines naturalistic renderings of foliage, birds and man-made elements into fabulist compositions. “Hunting for a Prince” depicts a tightly packed bird sanctuary on a rocky outcrop in a body of water that could be a small pond or a huge sea. Lush and eerie, the islet of Treichel is a vision of a sort of heaven.

sweet power Until August 25 at Pazo Fine Arts, 4228 Howard Ave, Kensington. Open by appointment.

Carte blanche Until September 1 at Adah Rose Gallery3766 Howard Ave, Kensington.

The Potomac River is a broad, generally calm estuary that suddenly turns wild just beyond Georgetown. The wild river is the subject of the most dramatic work in “Potomac River Life”, a group exhibition at the Athenaeum. Black-and-white photographs by Ron Colbroth and Daniel Horowitz – widescreen and close-up, respectively – capture the rise of Great Falls, as do color shots by Jim Tetro. The most immersive depiction of the falls is Elizabeth Matthews’ painting of the torrent at dusk, divided into three panels highlighted by red painted sides.

More placid but equally evocative are the paintings, ranging from realistic to slightly impressionistic, of calmer stretches of the river by Christina Blake, Jill Brabant, Debra Dartez and Georgia Nassikas. Lianna Zaragoza’s oil of a high tide section of shore is literally moored in the Potomac; it is in brown tones because the pigment was made with river silt collected and ground by the artist.

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The occasion of the exhibit is the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and while most of the entries are scenic, a few are more pointed. Franz Jantzen used an almost obsolete photographic process to document the waste that has accumulated where a stream meets the river; Marcel Deolazo has constructed fish heads from recycled plastic shards; and Kirsty Little filled jars with natural specimens and some of the many single-use plastic pieces that clog waterways today. These entries lack the sweep of Great Falls footage, but are just as powerful in their own way.

Potomac River Life Until August 21 at Athenaeum201 Prince Street, Alexandria.

In a process that has not been without controversy, the City of Alexandria is revamping the Torpedo Factory Art Center, removing some longtime art studio tenants. It also adds more, some of which are depicted in “Newly Juried 2022: A Torpedo Factory Art Center Exhibition,” just up the street at the Principle Gallery. The show of 38 participants is solid, but does not bode a significant change in the type of artists that the establishment welcomes.

Many paintings are figurative and rooted in slightly revisited traditions. Sarah Bentley takes a neoclassical approach to a still life of a contemporary subject, a pastry and a Starbuck disposable cup. Minwei Liang nests a highly detailed bird among flowering branches rendered in a looser style. June Yun’s photo is clearly an aerial view of a city, but partly abstract in gem tones of turquoise pigment and gold and silver leaf.

If there is a trace of autobiography in the work of Liang and Yun, such allusions are even stronger in the mystical images of Anna Shakeeva and Iryna Smitchkova. Shakeeva’s self-portrait crowns her face with birds and flowers, while Smitchkova centers peacocks and orange trees behind an open blue door flanked by ornamental tiles. Ellen Delaney shifts to rural America, combining the intimate and the cosmic in three views of barns or low-rise homes under huge skies, while Sally Veach paints a turbulent expanse of clouds in which she inscribes a pentagon-shaped Of house. In their myriad ways, many of these images are daydreams of home.

Newly Juried 2022: A Torpedo Factory Art Center Exhibition Until August 21 at Principles Gallery208 King Street, Alexandria.

William E. Bennett