The Marsha Mateyka Gallery opens its 2010 season with recent works by Christopher French, Jae Ko, Nathan Oliveira, Andrea Way and Nancy Wolf, artists whose works have been represented in multiple solo exhibitions at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery, for many years.
Christopher French's paintings on paper are both abstract and conceptual. The artist's dynamic color is based on simple rules and palettes inspired by actual times and places. The tactile quality of each painting refers to earlier work in which Braille dots and language made visual sense but could not be "read" as actual text. In this current work, strong compositional tensions are created by the viewer's own perception of relationships among colors and shapes.
Washington artist Andrea Way is known for her intricate abstract patterning created through the overlapping of networks of fine lines and repeated shapes. The strong compositions in her work also use predetermined rules and systems whose final appearance is as much a surprise to the artist as it is to the viewer. Her paintings seem to have a microscopic realism, the effect of scientific observation and an eerie familiarity. The works on view in this exhibition play with the pentangle structure.
Jae Ko, Korean born and for many years now a Washington artist, continues her work in rolled paper using adding machine tape. The sculptures on view are the artist's most recent work in an ongoing series in which multiple layers of glue "freeze" the twisting coils of paper. In these new works, graphite powder has been added to the glue, along with the artist's characteristic Sumi ink. A final layer of rubbed graphite leaves a metallic sheen to each work. The sculptures move in a new direction, appearing industrial than organic, reflecting light rather than absorbing it.
California Bay Area Figurative artist Nathan Oliveira is a modern American master, first gaining international recognition in the landmark exhibition "Images of Modern Man" at New York's MOMA in 1959. The artist became famous for his gestural painting and for his subject of "everyman" – solitary figures in space who seem to transcend any specific time or place. The impasto features of the figure in the painting in this current exhibition, "Man with Tattoo", cause the face to rise from the ground, giving expressionistic urgency to its presence. The painting's rich earthy colors are characteristic of the southwest landscape, long a favorite reference of the artist.
Since the late '70's, New York artist Nancy Wolf has commented on urban change by juxtaposing actual architectural projects in imagined contexts in her finely detailed drawings. Her work poses questions about how well city planners and architects account for the loss felt when buildings and traditions are destroyed with the need to make room for the new. Most recently, a residency in Hong Kong offered the artist an opportunity to witness firsthand the magnitude of this problem in China. Her new work focuses on the tremendous changes taking place in China as that country modernizes and replaces its historic architecture with contemporary design. A drawing by Nancy Wolf is currently on view in "Graphic Masters III" at Smithsonian American Art Museum, works from the museum's permanent collection.