In the galleries: Metaphrase & Ulterior Perspective

By Mark Jenkins, Washington Post
November 22, 2017

Color and line define space in at least six different ways in parallel shows at two Marymount University locations. At the school's new Ballston Center, "Metaphrase" hangs Jeremy Flick's hard-edge paintings alongside Jon Malis's high-tech abstractions. At the main campus, "Ulterior Perspective" juxtaposes work by J.T. Kirkland, Chee-Keong Kung, Anne Smith and Monica Stroik.

Flick and Malis turn digital simulation into physical reality. Flick draws on 20th-century color-field painting, but toys with his predecessors' styles. He staggers green and gray bands to make a static-like jangle, and slips a barely perceptible shape into the purple bar of a Gene Davis-like stripe sequence. Malis bases his spectrum-spanning compositions on the international standards for computer-represented hues, and prints them on shaped aluminum panels or 3-D plaster stone. Both artists offer intriguing shapes and patterns, but their colors are what really zings.

If the inspiration for "Ulterior Perspective" appears more architectural, that's partly because three of the artists work with wood. Stroik leaves bare areas on the wooden panels on which she paints building details and contours, sometimes outlined on sky-blue backdrops. Exposed plywood grain is integral to Kirkland's work, although two recent paintings on shaped panels entirely cover the surface with bright (and not always geometric) forms.

Smith's "Hedron I" arranges patterned wood panels, some blackened with graphite. Her other pieces, which include allover black drawings punctuated by vestigial white lines, are one-dimensional. But her two prints of colorful overlapping polygons conjure a strong sense of depth. So do Kung's drawing-paintings, in which lines and rectangles jumble amid tornadoes of abstraction. Kung's pictures are the stormiest in either show, but even they feature straight lines and right angles.

Metaphrase Through Dec. 2 at Marymount University Ballston Center Gallery, 1000 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington. PerspectiveThrough Dec. 1 at Barry Gallery, Marymount University, 4728 N. 26th St., Arlington. 703-284-1561.