Howard Risatti

  • Cheryl Laemmle

    This exhibition of 17 large paintings by New York artist Cheryl Laemmle was a retrospective of her work from the ’80s. The exhibition had a cohesiveness about it that can be attributed to the artist’s simple, illusionistic style and her continued obsession with extremely personal autobiographical themes—childhood memories, family deaths, struggles for identity In the earliest works in the exhibition, Laemmle presents these themes through traditional classical symbols, such as a pomegranate (symbol of everlasting life) or a moth (symbol of reincarnation). Such symbols no longer have a common

  • Susan Cooper

    During the last decade, the question “Is it craft or is it art?” has been intensely debated. Functionality is often considered the determining factor, craft objects being defined and delimited by their functionality, and art objects belonging to the nonfunctional esthetic realm. Susan Cooper’s exhibition here of eight works, by its very title—“Non-Functional Furniture”—seems an attempt to locate craft objects within the supposedly more prestigious realm of fine art. However, Cooper’s works are not primarily about furniture or functionality. Consider Washington Chair, 1989, and Duet, 1988, a pair

  • Andrea Way

    This exhibition comprised eight relatively large abstract drawings by Andrea Way. Way, like Sol LeWitt, is interested in how systems can be used as tools to structure and generate works of art. Thus, what appears to be simply a web of arbitrary patterns is actually a meticulously rendered, complex maze of interlocking layers. The variously colored linear elements are keyed to numerical codes. In Tidepool, 1988, Way repeats a five-inch square along a grid; she places a circle containing an equilateral triangle into each square. The triangles, tilted in four different directions, form a repeating

  • “Gathering Forces”

    This joint exhibition featured the recent work of a loosely associated group of artists who met at the Corcoran School of Art and who now call themselves “Gathering Forces.” It comprised 35 works of drawing, sculpture, and assemblage, all linked, as Martha McWilliams states in an accompanying essay, by a shared belief in “meaning, the significance of myth and dream, and in art’s capacity to express emotional and spiritual realities.” Genna Watson and John Dickson, the most sophisticated of the group, seem to be its inspiration—both lecture at the Corcoran School and use assemblage techniques.

  • Robert Moskowitz

    This is the first retrospective exhibition for New York painter Robert Moskowitz. Organized by Ned Rifkin, it provides an important occasion to assess the work of an artist who received a flurry of attention in the early 60s, only to be largely ignored by the end of the decade. Nonetheless, Moskowitz persisted, slowly developing an underground reputation, finally regaining public attention since his inclusion in the Whitney Museum’s “New Image Painting” exhibition in 1979. His initial success began with an impressive series of works juxtaposing objects and faint painterly gestures. In Untitled

  • “Taken: Photography and Death”

    The visual arts have long been used to delay the finality of death by keeping a deceased subject “alive,” suspended in human memory as if between two worlds. Photography’s ability to provide a unique sense of the presence of the subject has created a peculiar bond between that medium and death. This exhibition of more than 70 photographs from the mid 19th century to the present not only underscores the extent to which photography has been involved with death, but also provides an opportunity to see how photographic modes are imbued, consciously and unconsciously, with conventions and values

  • Willem de Looper

    In two recent exhibitions of abstract paintings, long-time Washington artist Willem de Looper presented very different kinds of work: large acrylic paintings at Kornblatt and small gouache on paper works at Jones Troyer Fitzpatrick. The contrasting nature of these shows revealed the complexity of de Looper’s art and something of the difficulty in establishing his relationship to the Washington Color School.

    The gouaches, never before exhibited, are not sketches, but finished works taken from sketchbooks. In them, de Looper explores problems of space and light, utilizing color, line, and shape in

  • Traute Ishida

    While this group of nine acrylic paintings, all from 1988, continue ideas from Traute Ishida’s earlier work, they also mark an important new stage in her development. Ishida forgoes the use of added materials and recognizable imagery in favor of a purer abstraction. In the past, she relied upon found fabrics as the structural and conceptual basis of much of her work. In Sun Catches, 1982, she used a crocheted fabric as her canvas. The compositional structure and thematic details of the work were dictated by the crocheted design itself. With Don’t Kill The Bird, 1985, Ishida exploited the floral

  • Man Ray

    The National Museum of American Art’s traveling exhibition “Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray” is a major retrospective. Along with the photographs shown concurrently at the Middendorf Gallery (over 70 vintage portraits from 1921–39), it presents a unique and long-overdue occasion to reassess Man Ray’s extremely diverse body of work. Arranged chronologically, “Perpetual Motif” is comprised of 268 works that span Man Ray’s career from 1912 to 1976, the year of his death. With few exceptions, the exhibition provides a logical progression through Cubism to Dada and Surrealism, establishing links

  • Tim Beard

    Tim Beard’s work is generally small, intimate, and geared more toward private than public experience. The 16 oil paintings and 8 drawings on display here represent an approach to abstraction that aligns Beard with the work of artists such as Bill Jensen and Harriet Korman; his is an unglamorous but significant sensibility.

    The largest painting in the exhibition, I Took Acoma (all works 1988), is composed of rich patined colors—pink, grays, golds, and green. Beard shows the influence of William Baziotes in his frequent passages of close color values and in his use of various kinds of archetypal

  • Robin Rose

    This exhibition of recent paintings by Robin Rose, titled “Binary Arc,” left little doubt that the Washington Color School still influences younger artists in the D.C. area. By rejecting the formalist conception of color-field painting that Clement Greenberg articulated around the work of Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, Rose’s work draws attention to the movement’s more spiritual and mystical aspects, as exemplified by artists such as Leon Berkowitz, Thomas Downing, and Howard Mehring. As one might expect, the primary element in Rose’s work is color. Used to suggest the immateriality of light,

  • Bayat Keerl

    Eleven larger and thirteen smaller works, all executed during the last decade, comprised this exhibition by Swiss-born artist Bayat Keerl. These paintings incorporate photographs as their physical and, in the best works, as their conceptual support, and so show an obvious connection to the work of artists such as Arnulf Rainer and Gerhard Richter. However, Keerl not only paints on his photographs, he also “draws” on them using light. This double manipulation is used not to focus attention on the self (as in Rainer) or on the nature of painting vis-à-vis photography (as in Richter), but to explore