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Craig Dennis, Jae Ko, Kathleen Kucka, Andrea Way

June 5 - July 24, 2004

The summer exhibition at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery focuses on the diverse forms which concentric imagery has taken in the works of four gallery artists: Craig Dennis (etchings), Jae Ko (sculpture), Kathleen Kucka (paintings) and Andrea Way (drawings and silk screens).

Jae Ko's recent sculptures demonstrate her exceptional ability to create concentric structures with rolled paper and Sumi ink. Whether working with a single central form folded back on itself or many forms joined together, Jae Ko has perfected a unique process begun in 1996. At that time, she discovered adding machine paper to be the perfect medium to make her densely wound forms. This kind of paper was also wonderfully transformed by immersion into a water and Sumi ink bath. The artist states that "over the years, I have learned to control the expansion ( of the form ) through the regulation of the tightness of the wound paper. Now, I can imagine and draw the form, control the process of water and ink absorption and accurately predict the final shape of the piece of art. The shaping is a part of physics: tightly wound objects absorb less water for minimal expansion and loosely wound items the opposite". A poet once said "the rose is without why, it blooms because it blooms". * So do the sculptures of Jae Ko.

Concentric rings of sheer ivory colored acrylic paint slip and slide across the surface of Kathleen Kucka's paintings. As in the work of Jae Ko, Kathleen Kucka's imagery is not an abstracted representation of something else. In a description of her process, the artist states that "over the last several years I have been investigating the languages of painting through the physical properties of acrylic paint. I pour the paint and make layers and skins that I can remove and reattach. Each painting is a collage done with paint. My imagery is a personal language of concentric forms made by drawing and tipping the paint so it moves. The forms flow and collide in circling rhythms, referencing fluid dynamics and motion in nature. My aim is to invite the viewer into a dance of movement and patterns".

Craig Dennis is represented by 4 prints from a suite of 7 etchings. Titled "Inside Out", the suite is an exploration of the simple act of drawing concentric circles, either by hand or with a compass. The artist began with three plates on which he attempted to recreate a small precise circle positioned in the center of each plate. In one, the recreation involved redrawing the circle freehand counterclockwise with his right hand. On another, he used his left hand to redraw the circle freehand, moving clockwise. The artist says "Since I am not a machine, slight deviations from the original ring were inadvertently added. I then tried to repeat that new interval and its aberrations as precisely as possible with the next drawn concentric circle, and so on and so on to the edge of each plate. The finished "Right Hand" and "Left Hand" images become a record of the nervous system asserting itself over my desire to be mechanically precise โค" maps of neural activity". The incredibly fine lines resulting from this "neural activity" etched onto large metal plates, has produced images of ethereal, pulsing beauty. Created in 1981, this suite characterizes the kind of careful observation and attention to process evident in the artist's current photographic collaborations with Susan Eder.

Well known Washington artist Andrea Way is represented by prints and drawings. Since the early 1980's, the artist has focused on intricate patterns devised from counting systems, which she continues to develop into infinite possibilities. In this exhibition, two ink and colored pencil drawings feature a large x shape that emerges and seems to hover in the dense pattern created from the concentric arrangement of hatch marks in "Stellar Blueprint" and a similar concentric pattern of repeated letters in "White Lightening". In Andrea Ways' work, imagery evolves from codes known only by the artist. The codes govern spacing and placement as well as signal connections to be used in additional layers. Much like the directions for growth and development encoded in the placement of genes in DNA, the systems underlying Andrea Way's imagery represent an internal logic governing appearance in the visual world. A wonderful sense of seeing the micro and the macro simultaneously is achieved. This exhibition also includes two silk screen prints by the artist: one titled "One" is darkly beautiful and mysterious; the other titled, "Cicada", is a joyous visualization of the 17 year cycle of Brood X.

*interview with Peter Lodermeyer, "Jae Ko, My works are without why", March/May 2003, Personal Structures, Works and Dialogues, by Peter Lodermeyer, GlobalArtAffairs Publishing, New York, NY, 2003, pp.82-83

Jae Ko