This is exemplified by John Ruppert’s two-part sculptures, which initially appear to be sets of stones, but actually combine a piece of rock with a piece of cast metal that mimics the rough contours of its counterpart. Ruppert’s austere duets suggest that finding and making are twin processes.
The smallest institution whose faculty is featured is the Washington Glass School, represented by directors Tim Tate and Erwin Timmers. Timmers’ contributions include three hands, elegantly cast in glass, which protrude from rectangular panes. One of Tate’s pieces juggles high-tech and antiquity by placing a blue-tinted video of a blinking eye inside an ornate white glass frame.
Also combining traditional craftsmanship with contemporary technology, Robert Devers’ stoneware vessels are perforated with stylized flames through which the red light of the interior LEDs seeps. This evocation of fire is a warm contrast to Patrick Craig’s forest cool painting of intertwined columns of what appears to be blue water and birch bark.
Both Kate Fitzpatrick and Reni Gower have executed large patterns that, oddly enough, leave streaks on the floor. Fitzpatrick’s massive black and white painting appears etched and suspended above a line of gray dust. Gower’s large ornamental design is made of carved white paper; its back is painted in red and green, hues that are reflected on the wall. The cutout echoes a related but not identical pattern on the floor, drawn with white sand like a Tibetan Buddhist mandala.
The contributor who has strayed furthest from the studio is Peter Winant, known for his geographic projects. The artist has taken the water of the Hudson River back to its origins in western Massachusetts, an endeavor documented by photos and video. But this eco-ritual also includes clay animal and fish models, as carefully rendered as anything in this meticulous show.
Continuum: artists teach artists Until November 10 at McLean Project for the Arts1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean.
Pyramid Atlantic’s gallery is up a flight of stairs, but its current exhibit has a submerged vibe. “Altered Environments” spotlights April Flanders, an artist from North Carolina who clips as adeptly as she prints, draws and paints. The centerpiece of the show is “Filter,” made up of approximately 2,000 tiny one-designs cut into dozens of shapes; they plunge into nine undulating schools through two white walls. The massive but delicate piece, a version of which was presented to the American University Museum in 2019, symbolically depicts invasive species of mussels in subtly gradient shades of blue and green.
Other assemblages combine monotypes and serigraphs whose curved shapes and vibrant colors evoke underwater life without representing it realistically. Flanders simulates depth by layering one-dimensional circles, ovals and tentacles – some in decidedly non-watery reds – or constructing 3D half-worlds of wallpaper and laser-cut superimposed inside boxes above glass. Flanders watches with concern what happens to lakes and seas, but she can’t help but make it visually alluring.
While the main gallery only showcases art from Flanders, the adjacent hallway houses works on paper by 24 other American and Canadian artists who depict invasive species. Highlights include Marty Ittner’s cyanotype of a blue catfish, inverted atop a sea chart; Julie Wolfe’s trio of jellyfish, screen-printed in contrasting aqua and magenta; and Eveline Kolijn’s etching and linocut depicting several lionfish in a sea that seems to flow in a single stream of water. All three are close-ups that give the impression of larger forces in rapidly changing oceans.
Modified Environments Until November 13 at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville.
Light is the central subject of Bill Hill’s Modalities, but the abstract painter identifies many other precedents for his Gallery 2112 exhibition. While the influence of Washington colorists such as Sam Giliam and Leon Berkowitz is to be expected, Hill’s statement also credits the music of the composers John Cage and “Finnegans Wake” by Giacinto Scelsi and James Joyce. Perhaps the cyclical structure of this novel shaped the local artist’s approach to laying down shifting, swirling, almost liquid hues, which at times seem to have been splashed onto the canvas, or contain ghostly gestures beneath the surface.
Hill notes that her paintings, executed with water-based oil pigments and mostly in shades of blue, orange, and pink, begin with gazes into her own backyard. Yet their allusions to the landscape are clues at best. A few include what could be considered horizon lines, and several are mottled color fields that suggest sky or water. But all images are square, which makes their edges look arbitrary and not integral. Hill’s compositions are less like individual scenes than excerpts from views that continue indefinitely, perhaps forever, beyond their frames.
Bill Hill: Terms Until November 19 at Gallery 21122112 R St. NW.
Joan Mayfield and Ruth Trevarrow depict trees after humans have made do with them. The two local artists paired in the “Engravings sur bois” of the Athénée draw inspiration from stumps and scrap boards, distilling their subjects into sinuous black lines or interlocking fragments.
Among the inspirations for Trevarrow’s large black and white prints is an elm tree that stood near DC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The artist’s “MLK Elm1” is an exact rendering of the stump outline, executed in one thick black line and filled with hundreds of simulated concentric rings. Such images are memorials to extinct organisms, but their complex shapes are full of possibilities.
Mayfield’s found wood collages are made of materials that have been taken even further from their natural origins. Yet the weathered and partially painted slats are often arranged in such a way as to evoke their former existence as part of a living organism. One piece features twisted uprights in blond wood that soar towards a blue background evoking the sky. Mayfield doesn’t just reuse wood; she, symbolically at least, replants it.
Joan Mayfield and Ruth Trevarrow: Woodcuts Until November 13 at the Athenaeum201 Prince Street, Alexandria.