Seasonal group shows

Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post, August 12, 2022
Aside from being a few blocks apart, the summer group shows at Pazo Fine Art and Adah Rose Gallery don’t have much in common. Pazo’s “Soft Power” presents the work of just five artists, all from D.C. or Baltimore. Adah Rose’s “Carte Blanche” includes dozens of contributors, among them a few Europeans. But the two exhibitions have one artist in common: Wayson R. Jones, who is known for thickly impastoed square abstracts.

The Adah Rose show, which overflows from the gallery’s current home into its former space around the corner in the same building, features more than a dozen Jones paintings. Two are in the stark black-and-white style that was once the Prince George’s County-based artist’s signature, while others are pastel. The four Jones pictures at Pazo are more vivid, and can be seen as flirting with being landscapes. The standout is “Lifting Up the Sunny World,” a field of gradated oranges inside craggy green and blue borders.

The other Washingtonian in “Soft Power” is Jean Jinho Kim, whose aluminum-downspout sculptures have become simpler and more direct, to their benefit. Her “Good Vibes 3” consists of two mirror-image forms powder-coated in shades of dark olive and pale green. The piece recalls the confident austerity of the late D.C. artist Anne Truitt, and strongly contrasts the work of the show’s other sculptor, Danni O’Brien, whose found-object assemblages are bulbous, spindly and surreal.

Also in the show are paintings by abstractionists Mary Anne Arntzen and Sue Crawford, both of whom employ voluptuous colors and undulating patterns. Arntzen’s oils are thicker and more textured, while Crawford’s gouaches are softer and more watery. What links them is the way both artists conjure motion that is contained within the frame, so that the gestures pulse and coil.

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