Diane Epstein: All the Flavor of Rome

It’s the Eternal City, and Diane Epstein has lived there for 15 years, where she is renowned not only for her photography but for her culinary accomplishments. And food is one of the subjects of her photography. Epstein has evolved a technique that she calls fresco photography. She has it printed on stone, but it’s the fusion of images she shoots and reshoots, layering into them images of Roman walls, that creates the resonance. Thus they have a blurred look that gives them their unique vintage. Epstein does not shy from the familiar: it’s the Pantheon Dome (looking suspiciously like National Gallery rotunda,) the Forum, St. Peter’s, the Castel St. Angelo and the Coliseum. But there is also piselli (peas,) aglio (garlic,) and best of all carciofi (artichokes) looking like roses, almost. Some very beautiful limoni are one of her subjects as well. Originally from New York and California, Epstein is self-taught in photography. She admires many photographers, but it is the impressionist painters who inspire her most. She mentions especially Cézanne and Renoir. Recently she has had several commissions that have caused her to print her photographs in very large sizes so that her work has the feel of murals. She prints the fruits and vegetables in fairly small sizes, perfect for the kitchen. In her culinary habit, she wanders around Rome with tourists and collects local produce and then prepares a feast. Epstein also shares her feast of Rome in her photographs. (At Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave., opening April 9.)

Angela Iovino at the Parish Gallery

Watercolors are an often overlooked medium, their subtleties and patiently layered depths seemingly run off by the raw energy of so much popular expressionism and abstraction. Angela Iovino’s series of landscapes at the Parish Gallery, open through May 18th, is a kernel of cool mint, cleansing the palette between the explosive, bright flavors being offered around the city. Even with such tangible titles as "Eastport Maine Morning" and "Hot Spring I," to call these studies ‘landscapes’ is more of a projection than a precise definition. Iovino’s paintings are the geography of dreams that pull the viewer in only to stand beyond a world that cannot completely be entered. Iovino lets the water do a lot of the work in her paintings, allowing the colors to dissipate, diffuse and coagulate in their wet state. I am inclined to believe that puddles of water may well have been spread carefully around the paper. The atmospheric effect created by this technique is thick and simultaneously transparent, recalling the feeling of intense humidity. Like looking into a marsh, or staring fixedly at something and then closing your eyes – what is seen in Iovino’s work is more of a feeling of brevity, a weightlessness that cannot last. But in the meantime, it is a beautiful sight. Through May 18 at the Parish Gallery (1054 31st St.)

‘Art in Congress’

I have often noticed the incredible exterior of the 19th-century house at the corner of Q and New Hampshire. It is every bit as grand on the inside as the outside and it houses the Woman’s National Democratic Club (1526 New Hampshire Ave.). There is currently a show there (through July 22) entitled “Art in Congress,” with works by members of the U.S. Congress and their families. Everyone can cheer the inclusion of Representative Barney Frank’s partner, Jim Ready, who has a large photograph, “Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009.” It depicts the view of the crowd attending the Obama inauguration in epic manner. The works in the show contain some surprises, including the thought that Senator Diane Feinstein of California could quit her day job and launch a respectable career as a floral artist. Though she is needed in the Senate, her lovely “Autumn Bouquet” would be welcome to anyone needing some quiet color affirmation. And Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona displays some very strong graphic gifts in his “Long Day of Legislating,” drawn with a Sharpie. One can feel the tension of April 28, 2007 in his jagged linear qualities. A surprise is also the sumi-e brush painting on rice paper by Representative Jim McDermott, of Washington. He has been classically trained in the sumi-e technique, and his “Mountain Bamboo” brings its auspicious freshness to the show. On a totally different note, Representative Dina Titus of Nevada shows her book cover for “Bombs in the Backyard: Atomic Testing.” It is appropriately grim. Erin Kelly, daughter of Representative Betsy Markey of Colorado, is a gifted photographer. She has a diverse body of work that shows a wide range of styles. Representative Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii is represented by a technically accomplished clay sculpture entitled “Tokyo Dango” that includes cherry tree twigs. There is a bit of ikebana in the piece; it is bold, but in a graceful way. There is a poem by Representative Diane E. Watson of California entitled “Aunt Gert.” Poems should be found more often on the wall. And California Congressman Mike Thompson has a very skillfully done “Drake Hunting Decoy” made of redwood, oil, and glass, used for duck hunting in the Pacific Flyway of California. Suzanne Finney of the Woman’s National Democratic Club’s Arts Committee accompanied me through the show. I asked her in the spirit of bipartisanship if any Republicans were invited, and she smiled in response. [gallery ids="99134,102722,102714,102699,102707" nav="thumbs"]

Elizabeth Kendall at Cross Mackenzie Gallery

Elizabeth Kendall was taught to sew by her grandmother. Having learned the techniques of the seamstress – altering shapes with stitching, basting and appliqué, layering and texturing of fabrics, the fine detail of the decorative fasteners – its influence has found its way into her sculptures on more than one occasion. Her first fabric-inspired pieces were functional cups that she hand-built with thin porcelain slabs, making the clay mimic the folds and sags of cloth. In her previous exhibition at Cross Mackenzie, Kendall filled the window with hundreds of bottomless cup units, stacked to the ceiling to create a lace-like, transparent curtain into the gallery. In her newest series, “Button Boxes,” opening June 18th, button-like disks jump out from the walls into the snug gallery space. Protruding from steel rods attached to the walls, the installation gives the impression that the gallery has erupted in a Gustav Klimt-esque flower patch. It is a show that begs to be experienced, felt, played with, and thoroughly enjoyed. Once inside, it begins to take on the feeling a three dimensional pixilated image in black and white, or an inverted pincushion, the rods poking out from both sides of the room. It is increasingly rare for an artist to invite the viewer to participate in their work in the way that Kendall does in “Button Boxes.” There is a permeating visual obscurity and irony that more and more distances the art (and the artist) from the public – in an attempt to defy criticism, or merely in fits naïve egotism and self-imposed exile, it is difficult to say. But Kendall’s playful show is inviting, eager to be discussed, asking the audience their opinion. One is tempted to pick the “buttons” off the wall, take them home, and put them in a vase. Or just smile brightly and go on about your day. For more information contact the Cross Mackenzie Gallery, 1054 31st St., or go to www.crossmackenzie.com.

Tayo Adenaike at the Parish Gallery

Born in Southwestern Nigeria in 1954, Tayo Adenaike, whose show “Faces and Emotions” opens June 18th at the Parish Gallery, recalls the looks he would get from his mother: “Depending on the occasion, her look could mean “Don’t eat what you have been offered,” “Get up and let’s go,” “Say yes,” “Say no”, or “Keep quiet.” Every facial expression conveyed specific meaning and every visual admonition must be heeded. Failure on my part meant a long pull on my ear or strokes of the cane the minute we got back home. “?jú róró ?a. I knew what it meant. These three simple Yoruba words translate as “Words come from the eyes,” “Words are embedded in the eyes,” “A face says it all,” or “A face never belies the truth.”…They all see some evocative strength in the expression. This interaction between my mother and me, made me realize how much more powerful facial expressions are, than loudly spoken words. Over time, I have also come to realize that facial expressions and unspoken words, can say a lot about the society we live in. Within these frames, I have tried to capture faces and the emotions – the unspoken words that they portray.” In Adenaike’s work, the audience is privy to a surreal conversation unfolding on the canvas. The figures, vague, conjoined, defined simply by negative space, speak to each other in a language of reverberating expression. A master watercolorist, Adenaike’s backgrounds are a hazy atmosphere of dissipated symbols, stars, and full constellations, speaking towards a rich cultural tradition, perhaps muddled by globalization and the loss of ancestral knowledge. The dynamic faces among the figures, varying in detail and abstraction, recall the detached, languid repose of de Chirico, while simultaneously drawing upon the geometric harmony of the faces on antiquated Nigerian stone carvings. There is also a certain melancholy and sobriety to the work, and not without reason. The human condition, one could gather from these works, is one of reservation and reticence. Says Adenaike, “I am not unmindful of my environment and the faces I see around me, as my country is about to celebrate fifty years of independence. Perhaps I should have painted the hopeful faces of us, as flag-waving children of fifty years ago, and not the adult faces we have grown into, with guarded emotions and veiled expressions.” It is a show with a strong voice. Adenaike is an artist with something to say, even if one can only hear him by using their eyes. For more information contact the Parish Gallery, 1054 31st St., or visit www.parishgallery.com.

Secrets of the Double White

At the Phillips Collection, there is a double feature of (almost) white painting with Richard Pousette-Dart and Robert Ryman occupying different floors within the museum (1600 21st St., through Sept. 12.) It is the differences between the two artists that enhance the choice of having both exhibitions at once. In conjunction with the show, Yasmina Reza’s “Art,” a play focused on how a white painting puts friendship to the test, will perform at the Phillips on July 1 at 6:30 p.m. White is not a color often featured in Western painting before the 20th century. It usually is found in paintings in clouds with tints, on the highlights in objects and sometimes in snow. Here it stands alone, or almost alone. Robert Ryman’s show is the best Ryman show I have ever seen. This is possibly because of the small scale of the work that allows you to pay more attention to how the paintings are painted. One can focus on the edge that is painted, the threads that stick up from the frayed canvas, and the actual strokes that tell far more. Here Ryman astutely contemplates painterly means, and he is sometimes lyrical in a fumbling manner. His small works have the dramatic tension of a stage whisper. For me it is the all-black Jasper Johns and Robert Motherwell (of the “Iberia” series) that mentor Ryman, especially in his early works. Ryman is closer to Johns in being emotionally deadpan. Motherwell had more range than Johns or Ryman. And unlike Johns or Motherwell, Ryman does have one of the all-time worst signatures in art — very junior-high-school. Nevertheless, Ryman has had a huge influence on the look of abstract painting of the last 40 years; you see his pokerfaced progeny everywhere. Visiting these shows for the third time, it is Pousette-Dart’s work that holds repeated viewing. With Pousette-Dart there is real experimentation with technique and an openness of the possibilities of painting. His extensive drawing with graphite into the final, rather than the preliminary, aspect of painting was innovative. His few sculptures are worthy of inclusion, not just sidepieces. They have a direct relation to the paintings, though they are lighter hearted. In Pousette-Dart’s sculpture and the painting, there is overt and covert figuration. One work is divided with a male and female figure splitting the canvas, yet meshing in the web of space. There are biomorphic forms in most of the paintings. Visible is the common heritage of abstract-surrealism derived from Picasso and Miró. But it is Pollock and his allover drip paintings from the late forties that inform the structure of some of the greatest of Pousette-Dart’s almost-white paintings. Somehow he could easily integrate Pollock’s great reckless expanses into his much more intimate quest. Pousette-Dart’s line is deft and unlyric but weighted and incisive. His use of space is always dynamic and active and his pictures activate the space around them. A painting should have secrets, and these wry and sometimes quietly joyful pictures do contain enough to warrant real looking. [gallery ids="99152,102834,102829,102824,102843,102847,102851,102819,102855,102839" nav="thumbs"]

Gods and Conservation: Paul Jett at the Freer/Sackler

Walking down the long staircase and into the galleries of the Sackler, a large stucco Gandharan head of a Bodhisattva from Afghanistan sits on a pedestal above eye level. Sensuous and spiritual at once, its lips are full and it is crowned and has flowing hair. The spiritual dimension is evoked with the semi-closed eyes and the tension of the eyebrows, seemingly meditative. It is many times larger than human scale and must have stood on top of a very large body. When Paul Jett, head of the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research of the Freer/Sackler, first saw the piece, it was covered with detritus of almost 2,000 years. Jett related to me, “Pieces you spend a long time working on you get more attached to. I feel very attached to the Bodhisattva. No one would display it because of the way it looked. I thought this piece had potential, so I spent eight months working on it, often through a microscope, as stucco is very delicate. Everyone liked it so much that now it is on permanent exhibition.” Adjacent to the Bodhisattva is an exhibition of Khmer art curated by Paul Jett and Louise Court, the highly regarded curator of ceramics at the Galleries. The exhibition will later go to the Getty in Los Angeles. The Khmer bronzes displayed are extraordinary in their energy and refinement. They have a certain formal reserve that is very apparent in Khmer stone sculpture, but due to the scale of the pieces they are more intimate. Paul Jett played a major role in this exhibition, mentoring the conservation staff at the Phnom Penh museum in Cambodia where these works are from. As we walked through the exhibition, Paul Jett recalled his early career: “I grew up in New Mexico, where I pursued interests in photography, painting, and sculpture. I got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Mexico. I worked at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts doing a post-graduate fellowship and came to D.C. and got the job at the Freer/Sackler. I studied bronze casting at Glen Echo. When I started working at the Freer/Sackler, I realized that I had prepared for it by studying Mandarin, as well as Chinese philosophy and history.” Working with Asian bronzes has involved Jett in precarious, technical studies with gold and silver. Asian bronzes often have silver as inlay or are coated in gold. The philosophy of conservation today, according to Jett, is “Do no harm to the object, make repairs unobtrusive, though not exactly invisible. And importantly, all repairs have to be able to be undone.” In looking at art in museums he says, “I do notice how it’s been restored, it’s hard to turn that part of me off.” He says of his work on pieces, “It will last for hundreds of years. We make decisions sometimes on our own or will consult with curators or directors depending on the piece.” The work with the Phnom Penh Museum started in 2005, setting up the conservation lab. Most of the training took place in Phnom Penh. Jett says, “There was a blank slate for most of the students.” He says that this was an advantage, as he did not have to deprogram anyone. Jett became close to his colleagues and students who did most of the work on the pieces in the exhibition. “They are doing fine on their own,” he says. One thing he did as a demonstration was to fill in a bit of the Nandi, a large 12th- to 13th-century bronze. It is discernibly not an Indian Nandi, yet having a similar languor. Many of the figures of the gods in the show are based on Indian prototypes, but have evolved into their own distinct Khmer-ness. The Ganesh has none of the earthiness found in his Indian prototype, even though it has a similar physique. Being with Paul Jett at the Gods of Angkor show made me look harder at how the pieces were put together originally and through restoration. We stopped to admire an incredible bronze crowned Buddha from the 12th century. Holding up its arms in abhaya mudra it blesses this beautiful show. [gallery ids="99168,103020,103009,103017,103014" nav="thumbs"]

What’s Red, White, Blue and Black: American Modernism and Rothko

At the National Gallery of Art, early American Modernism from the Shein collection is featured on the first floor of the East Wing. The National Gallery does not have a strong showing of works from this critical period in American art, and the Shein collection will help fill in the gap. There are some very strong pieces here by major players, including Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin and Stuart Davis. But it is the lesser-known artists that can sometimes surprise. One such surprise is Patrick Henry Bruce’s “Painting (Still Life)” that rivals a similar piece by Davis. In many ways I prefer the Bruce, which has a quiet energized classicism. Bruce’s “Painting” was completed in 1919, in the heat of the fray. Davis’ “Unfinished Business” was finished in 1962, toward the end of Davis’ career. Bruce was a much more important painter than Davis in 1919. He was a friend of Sonia and Robert Delaunay and possibly influenced the stark reductivism Matisse adopted in the ’30s for his large “Dance” murals. Unfortunately, Bruce, a descendant of Patrick Henry, killed himself in 1936. Though Davis achieved more and left a greater mark on American abstraction, Bruce deserves to be remembered. I recall James Rosenquist remembering his teacher Edwin Dickinson, who said that the light was all off in New York studios, since north in New York City was not true north. If there is a northern light, it exists in Dickinson’s work, including “South Wellfleet Inn,” circa 1950-60. It is off every beaten track as a painting, coming close to a kind of obscurist realism. It is playful and morbid, like most of the work of Dickinson’s I have seen. One cannot escape the fact that O’Keeffe’s “Dark Iris No. 2” and Hartley’s “Pre-War Pageant” eclipse most of the rest of the show, with the exception of Marin’s “Written Sea.” The Marin is one of the most restrained I have ever seen. It is more of a drawing than a painting, but masterful. The O’Keeffe and the Hartley are both at the center of their respective identities. O’Keeffe’s “Iris” is resplendently sensual. With Hartley, I quote Georgia O’Keeffe on his shows at Steichen’s gallery and say it’s “like a brass band in a small closet.” Going into the tower where Matisse’s cutouts used to hang is now as Zen a place as I have been in D.C. It’s the home of several of Mark Rothko’s darkest work in as perfect an installation as possible. Somehow the off-rectangle of the tower with its high ceiling could not be a better setting. The intermittent playing of Morton Feldman’s “Rothko Chapel” makes it complete. Feldman has written of his music that, “I envisioned an immobile procession not unlike the friezes on Greek temples.” A friend of mine recalled what Rothko said, on visiting a temple in Greece, “I’ve always been painting them, now I am in one.” Darkness is not a metaphysical state much in favor these days. The medical industry is making huge amounts of money as a result. But facing darkness — and rendering it — is tough. Shostakovich did especially in his 14th and 15th quartets, as did Beethoven in his late quartets. In painting it is rarer. I recall Turner’s “Peace – Burial at Sea,” who, when he was questioned on the black sails he had painted, replied “I only wish I had any color to make them blacker.” Reflecting on Rothko’s pictures, they do seem to me to bear some relation to Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings — though unlike Rothko, Reinhardt was ironic in his black pictures. Rothko is closer akin Gerard Manley Hopkins’ in his poem “Carrion Comfort”: “Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.” “American Modernism” runs through January 2, 2011. [gallery ids="99176,103189,103193" nav="thumbs"]

Chuck Close at the Corcoran

In the jumbled lexicon of late 20th century fine arts, where endless styles and genres collapse into one another like a landscape of staggered dominos, few artistic voices have emerged with any lasting force. Chuck Close is one of the few. Famous for his large-scale portraits ranging in medium from painting and drawing to printmaking and photography, Close’s work has a mystifying staying power that attracts audiences with its grandiosity and astounding depth. “Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration,” a retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, is perhaps the seminal exhibition of Close’s work — an immense yet intimate ode to the timeless appeal of portraiture and the boundless expanses of Close’s technical innovations in art. Close’s colossal, hyper-realistic portraiture is as synonymous with his name as Jackson Pollock’s is with drip painting. He is one of a handful of working artists that can draw crowds well beyond artistic communities, and has played a large hand in reviving interest and relevance in realism after a tidal wave of artistic deconstruction and abstraction. His techniques have been groundbreaking, and the steady evolution of his work demands to be experienced. The exhibition offers far more than a comprehensive collection of Close’s work. It delves further, inviting the viewer into his artistic process, which is in large part the source behind the awe his work inspires. “I think people can look at his work and understand what they’re looking at, but also be fascinated … and not quite understand how he’s managed to make the works that he’s made,” says Amanda Maddox, organizing curator of the exhibition. Thus, the show aims to help the audience understand Close’s work through his process. Focused largely on his extensive body of prints, the show examines Close’s revisiting of printmaking in his visual experimentation. Ultimately, these experiments have resulted not only in some of Close’s most accomplished works, but new techniques and approaches that have greatly expanded the possibilities of the medium. A piece in this show rarely just stands alone. Displayed is the geography of artistic process, a roadmap of studies leading up to a final image. Alongside his lithograph prints hang the actual lithographs used in the printing, with descriptions of his techniques and technical hurdles. The show displays the original grids that preceded each work, parchment rolls of matrices and proofs covered in scrawling notes by the artist. Color charts and value studies map the topography of Close’s artistic journey, a technical mastery wrought by compulsion and relentless experimentation. In a way, the show becomes a discussion of artistic tribulations, limitations, triumphs and revelations. As a student, Close was primarily interested in abstract painting, claiming to have been something of a diluted, amateur Willem de Kooning, a painter he greatly admired. However, in 1967, he decided to abandon abstraction and turned his attention toward monumental, hyper-realistic portraits of himself, family and close friends. He then took it a step further, abandoning the paintbrush for printmaking, a medium in which he had no expertise or facility, in order to challenge himself. His intention was to force a creative breakthrough. In 1972, with the help of printer Kathan Brown, Close created his first print, revisiting the archaic 17th century printing technique of mezzotint, the first printing technique to utilize halftones. The print, titled “Keith/Mezzotint” — displayed upon entering the exhibition — is an intricate study in halftones and textures, light and dark, producing a modern, layered effect while maintaining an astounding technical realism. This melding of photorealism inside abstract textures and patterns has become a trademark of Close’s work. Over his career, and with the assistance of master printers and various collaborators, Close has created some of the most memorable images of the last 40 years. When making a print, Close and his team complete every stage of their process by hand, from translating an image onto a matrix to carving wood blocks, etching plates, and applying multiple layers of color. The sheer scale and technical complexity of his portraits, combined with this time-consuming process, often means that a single print can take years to complete. However, Close welcomes this challenge. “When you have very strict limitations,” he says, “you have to be … very creative to figure out a way of getting them to work for you. I found that kind of problem-solving very interesting.” Much of the genius of Close’s work comes from the two contrasting views afforded to the onlooker in each piece — the audience must look at each work twice. From afar the portraits, while differing in tonal value and color pattern, range in appearance from photorealistic to a stylized, almost digitally altered realism. The way in which Close works from photographs dissected into grid, or incremental units, as he calls them, ensures that all his work will be anatomically accurate and perfectly balanced in reality, whether it is made with pulp paper multiples or his own fingerprints. But the closer one moves in towards a piece, the more it begins to break up, until, inches from the paper, there is nothing to be seen but a kaleidoscopic field of colors and shapes and textures – a very real abstraction. As Maddox explains, “He’s interested in how much information you can convey or compact into a space, and then translate.” In this regard, it really is the scale that mesmerizes. Reproductions of Close’s work fail to capture their essences much in the same way that Lichtenstein’s large-scale comic strip paintings, when shrunk onto paper, merely look like an excerpt from a comic. The shrunken copies, as the ones accompanying this article, are merely a shadow of the actual works, which are often more than six feet tall. “I think the show presents an opportunity to really see his marks, and see how detailed his work is,” says Maddox. “Chuck is interested in scale and the destabilizing effect that scale can produce or impart. I think people find that fascinating more than anything else.” The sheer nature of the realism and the quirks of his techniques cannot be understood unless experienced. His process is engaging, and the variations are remarkable. From traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints to silkscreen, aquatint, and spitbite etching, his repertoire of printing techniques is a history lesson in itself, and the subtle, palpable printing methods are only comprehensible when viewed from inches away — an unusual and welcome intimacy for such grandiose work. The exhibition has been touring domestically and internationally over the last seven years. Running through Labor Day weekend at the Corcoran, “Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration” is one of D.C.’s finest offerings this season. It is a piece of history as it is being told, and an open-ended invitation into the mind of a modern artistic genius. More than any show most will ever see, the exhibition illuminates the agonies and ecstasies of the artistic process as it is usually only experienced by art historians, curators and restorers. The Corcoran has additionally made itself free to the public on Saturdays through Labor Day weekend this year. There is no reason to miss this groundbreaking collection and experience the corridors of details, the overwhelming scale, and the fragile intimacy of Chuck Close. Contact the author at ari@georgetowner.com. [gallery ids="99182,103270,103259,103266,103263" nav="thumbs"]

Weber and Wright at Plan B

When I look at Mike Weber’s work, I sense the subjects of the late 19th- and early 20th-century photographs he incorporates into his work have been displaced into a contemporary setting where they are perfectly content and at ease. There is an enchanting mysteriousness to the work. Weber says, “I focus on subtle facial expressions of my subjects and many are looking at the camera or photographer as if it was the first time they had been exposed to a camera.” In less capable hands, the subjects could have been soulless, but Weber is able to create hosts who offer the viewer access to the artist’s own deft craftsmanship. Weber hand paints or stencils letters into the work with quietness that does not overpower the central figurative themes. Even in the piece “In a Broken Dream,” where the word DREAM is painted backward and prominently across the picture, the viewer’s gaze doesn’t fixate but moves through the entire piece, taking note of Weber’s masterful use of dripped paint, pencil markings and color. One of the most interesting aspects of Weber’s pieces are the calligraphic lines he scrawls around the edges or over the photos. These black, red, blue or gold lines unify the work and fuse the sepia photos into the overall picture plane. Jason Wright’s “Heartland” series is displayed opposite Weber’s and provides a good counterpoint. Write applies his paint impasto with a pallet knife, creating commanding, austere pieces. Like Weber, Wright generates a sense of mystery in his work, but with buildings on a landscape that verge on silhouette instead of portraiture. I sense he plans each picture carefully and then executes them in a quick, confident manner. From the titles such as “We Are Not the Same,” “Together” and “Nostalgias of Another Life,” one concludes these paintings are allegory and Wright confirms this by saying, “I wanted my work to haunt the viewer and evoke questions about their own feelings when it comes to a home.” At first glance, three colors dominate Wright’s work: black, white and tan. He applies classic composition principles and linear ruled shapes that meet abruptly, creating scenes reminiscent of houses standing alone or in groups on desert or farmland horizons. All this happens in the central picture plane which gives way to something else: light. On the edges of the pictures, Write has left or painted in pinkish flakes that draw the viewer’s eye around the painting before resting again on the austere central theme of the work. The stark contrast of hue, value and intensity Write creates by juxtaposing tans, whites and blacks at the center of the pieces against the pinks on the edges gives his work vibrancy, charm and that little surprise that keeps a viewer’s attention. The exhibits are on display at Plan B Gallery (1530 14th St.) until Aug. 29. [gallery ids="99183,103264" nav="thumbs"]