The most incendiary photo of Renee Stout's exhibit at Hemphill Fine Arts depicts a human heart in a burning house, with a slightly darker shade of red. The power and mystery of the image are not unexpected, but its frankness is. Stout often exhibits complex sculptures of found objects that combine primitive spirituality with obsolete technology. They seem designed to receive the past of the ether – or the ether of the past. But "When 6 is 9: Visions of a Parallel Universe" consists mainly of paintings, their subjects being rarefied or abstract.
The flamboyant heart photo, "Red House in Black Rain", is one of two that was inspired by Jimi Hendrix's "Red House" song, and is dedicated to him. Another of his songs, "If 6 Was 9", is the source of the title of the series. Other inspirations in the series include the artist's reaction to the current political climate and the advice of artist Sean Scully, who encouraged Stout to explore unrepresentative painting for a 2017 exhibition in his New York studio.
"The series is really bloody," acknowledged Stout at a recent conference. Gory Red rubs the bottom of "Bellona (Roman goddess of war)" and three small paintings look like purple droplets on slides under a microscope. Flame and blood can represent violence, but also essence and purity. "No Lie in Her Fire" is the title that Stout gives to a fireball partially masked by thick black smoke.
The selection offers only a few assemblies and one of them is associated with a table. "The Guardian," a 1996 piece incorporating a bird's skull, figures next to an image of 2018 in which the skull-based creature becomes one of the four "Guardians of the Skull". 39, parallel universe ". Others include a snake and an ancient racist doll. entities that could be considered sinister or offensive, but here are transformed into magical protectors. The powerful can be good or bad, or maybe both simultaneously.
Instead of old-fashioned radios and TVs that Stout often uses, this array includes a set of archaic mobile phones. Their now useless cases were redone in frames for small portraits, the artist labeling "passports". What kind of trip do these curious documents authorize? He who is, whatever the destination, powerful and mysterious.
Renee Stout: When 6 Is 9: Visions of a Parallel Universe Until December 15th at Hemphill Fine Arts, 1515 14th St. NW.
Solos of autumn
The seven unique artists of the "Fall Solos 2018" at the Arlington Art Center (plus a separate floor) are not thematically related. Yet most of them involve a kind of story, often personal. Nekisha Durrett multiplies a family memory in a field of four leaf clovers, white and ceramic, rather than green and vegetal. Aimee Gilmore fills a gallery of things related to motherhood, including a red fuchsia baby bottle, a huge Mylar splattered breast milk print, and a mirror with the word "wow" (which turns into "mom").
Julia Staples explores religious heritage with a video interview of a spiritualist and a suspended star with six branches in PVC tube. Tristan Roland mixes plastic objects and high-end wood in pieces that contrast low-priced manufactured goods with craftsmanship. Zoe Friedman's paper cut animation combines the sounds and images of nature with gamelan music. Cindy Stockton Moore observes the current trends with pictures of a gentrifying Philadelphia building, here tinted as a tribute to the stained glass windows of the Tiffany Gallery's Art Center.
Artemis Herber deals with ancient and even tectonic history in his paintings on fashioned and ripped cardboard. The wavy material once seemed to be an integral part of the artist's rocky landscape, but these four elegant pieces transcend the origins of the packing crate.
Dawn Whitmore questions about recent events, as well as larger concerns, in an installation inspired by a true story of an Aleppo man who stayed at the school. inside for more than four years. "A house is like a spirit that contains everything," in the Wyatt resident artists' gallery on the second floor, simulates the hermit's house of the war zone, as well as his thoughts. The man read Shakespeare and Molière while waiting for the end of the war. Whitmore filled the space of books and recorded voices. The readings of literary texts overlap in an audio Babel. The room and brain, even submerged, are the only refuges against chaos.
Solos of autumn 2018 Until December 15 at the Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington.
By far, Negar Ahkami's paintings are distinguished by their aquatic hues and swirling energy. A closer look at "The Taking," the show from Arlington's artist to the Cody Gallery, reveals both his technique and his intention.
Ahkami paints with glitter-infused acrylic glazes made of gesso. The elevated areas and shiny surfaces suggest ceramics and mosaics, while the drawings evoke the artistic heritage of Iran, the ancestral homeland of the Baltimore-born artist. The dynamism of the images reflects "the enthusiasm aroused by exotic stimuli," says a note from the gallery.
This theme is explained in the title of the show, an exhibition of 29 simulated archaeological fragments resembling a museum. Ahkami fabricated the small artifacts to illustrate how ancient Persian motifs and artifacts were incorporated into western life and art. This is a good lesson, but less captivating than the oceanic force of large paintings.
Negar Ahkami: Taking Until December 15th at Cody Gallery, Marymount Ballston Center University, 1000 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington.
Meet your neighbors
Last exhibition space of the Brentwood / Hyattsville Corridor, the Portico Gallery is a hallway located outside of five artist studios in a new building. To inaugurate this space, curator John Paradiso invited 22 artists from the region to present their work. "Meet the Neighbors" includes many participants whose studios are within walking distance, as well as several others further afield and one who works in the district's Brookland neighborhood.
Glass masters and ceramists are well represented in the neighborhood of Portico. Among these are Alan Binstock, who wraps four blue glass flowers surrounded by a yellow flower, and Laurel Lukaszewski, whose three porcelain clusters bloom in shades of gray-green. A similar blend of flesh and finesse characterizes Leslie Berns' blend of wood slats, whose hues also change subtly, and Dave Mordini's self-portrait in slices of cast aluminum. The warehouses adjacent to the nearby CSX tracks are home to more and more artists, but their new residents retain some of the region's industrial heritage.
Meet your neighbors Until December 22 at Portico Gallery and Studios, 3807 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood.