"In the galleries: A colorful survey of Washington artists" by Mark Jenkins
Few people want to be entirely unknown, but in a society that turns personal identity into market data, anonymity can be a good thing. Kyle Tata plays on that tension in “Secure Patterns,” on display at Hamiltonian Gallery alongside fellow Baltimorean Rachel Guardiola’s “Transmission From Terra Incognita.”
"In the galleries: Putting flat art into perspective" by Mark Jenkins
It was a Renaissance when 15th-century Italian painters began to use vanishing-point perspective. In our age of 3-D flicks and virtual-reality goggles, such techniques have been aggressively upstaged. Yet there are 3½ perspective-teasing paintings in “DIY Laser Eye Surgery,” Rives Wiley’s Hamiltonian Gallery show.
"In the galleries: City life, and the possible menace that lies beneath" by Mark Jenkins
At Hamiltonian Gallery, Nakeya Brown and Christie Neptune construct likenesses of African American women. It might be said that these are self-portraits, but not literally. Both artists look to the past: Brown’s “Some Assembly Required” repurposes her grandmother’s photo album, while Neptune’s “Ms. _______ (Interior)” frames images of contemporary women with text that invokes a white-racist worldview.
“In the galleries: Bodies that are more than flesh and bone” by Mark Jenkins
White walls, standard in modern-art galleries, are designed not to compete with what’s on display. They serve another function in Christie Neptune’s “She Fell From Normalcy,” a Hamiltonian Gallery show of text, installations and photographic images, both still and moving. In some of the videos, two black women in white undies explore an all-white space, probing the box’s sides. The cell that holds them may represent “the hegemonic system of whiteness” the New York artist confronts, according to the gallery’s notes.
“In the galleries: Three artists become one” by Mark Jenkins
In separate Hamiltonian Gallery shows that dovetail conceptually, Nara Park and Dane Winkler consider links between nature and technology. The entrance is through Park’s “Between Millions of Years,” which stacks transparent plastic boxes in emulation of a rocky gorge in an Australian national park. It’s not exactly a grand canyon, since the building blocks are commonplace, unnatural and scaled to a gallery, not to all outdoors. And yet the narrow passageway does produce a strong sense of place.
"In the galleries: The stars and planets align for ‘hyder flares’ featuring Adam Ryder and Dan Perkins" by Mark Jenkins
“Alone in the Woods,” Dan Perkins’s show at Hamiltonian Gallery, takes its name from its largest canvas, in which a rising sun glows over a lake its rays have painted yellow. Nine smaller pictures are vignettes of nature, with heightened, slightly artificial colors. These oils intensify 19th-century landscape painting with the saturated hues of pop art and photorealism.
“In the galleries: Gunpowder and teddy bears" featuring Lisa Dillin and Allison Spence by Mark Jenkins
“You are important to us,” recites the recorded message from the intercom attached to a white wall. The sentiment is insincere, of course, as is every artifact in Lisa Dillin’s “I’m looking for you . . .” at Hamiltonian Gallery. The Baltimore artist presents simulated fragments of suburban life, hinting at the larger simulation practiced by the developers of instant “communities.”
"In the galleries: At Hamiltonian, a birthday celebration of a different sort" by Mark Jenkins
Every year since 2011, art professor Naoko Wowsugi has asked her students to give her an experience for her birthday. The request is not an expression of narcissism — well, not entirely — but an assignment, first at Virginia Commonwealth University and more recently at American University. Some of the supposed highlights of this exercise are on displayat Hamiltonian Gallery, along with a video of a birthday event choreographed by Whoop Dee Doo, a performance-art duo.
"Gallery shows: ‘new. (now). 2013,’ ‘Abstraction,’ ‘1460 Wallmountables’" by Mark Jenkins
Introducing the latest crop of Hamiltonian fellows, Hamiltonian Gallery’s “new. (now). 2013” ventures into political territory. Among the five-artist show’s confrontational works are two by Larry Cook. “M.L.” is a manipulated video of Martin Luther King Jr., waiting at a microphone and looking wary. “All American” depicts three figures, symbolically color-coded: models dressed in the battle gear of the Bloods (red) and Crips (blue) flank one in a Ku Klux Klan robe (white). The triptych may not be a fair representation of the U.S.A., but its bristling hostility is true to one aspect of the American character.
“Gallery event of the week: ‘Social Studies’” by Michael O’Sullivan
Artists Jerry Truong and Annette Isham make art that explores identity, history, gender and other personally and politically charged topics. So it makes sense for them to tackle the topic of school, where much of our sense of self is shaped.