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The Washington Post

In the galleries: An early spring is always welcome

By Mark Jenkins  February 17, 2017

 

Kiki McGrath & Jean Jinho Kim

Swirls of green suggest the botanical origins of Kiki McGrath’s expressionist abstractions, but the local artist also has drawn on another source, examples of which are part of this Studio Gallery show. Alongside the paintings, “Aerial Roots” displays three sculptures inspired by ikebana — Japanese flower-arranging — and made by local devotees of the art form.

These are large, burly and far from traditional. Rather than dainty flowers and grasses, the assemblages feature log-size branches and unnatural accents; one incorporates chunks of vine painted orange. With them, McGrath has installed a black rubber hose, coiled and hanging in midair. The shape of this gardening accessory echoes the spirals in the paintings and pays an amusing tribute to ikebana. The found-object sculpture is not flower-arranging, but it is an act of transformation, and that’s an fundamental theme of Japanese art.

 

Downstairs, Jean Jinho Kim has clustered everyday objects in ways that complement “Aerial Roots.” The Leesburg artist’s “No Boundaries” is more far-ranging, but it does include glittering mock butterflies and — in a piece titled “Garden 1 60-12” — two roselike blooms. If Kim’s assemblages include many industrial materials, there is a hint of ikebana amid the car parts and LEDs.

 

Kiki McGrath: Aerial Roots and Jean Jinho Kim: No Boundaries On view through Feb. 25 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. 202-232-8734. studiogallerydc.com.

 

 


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History, Religious Practices and Literature: Art by Kiki McGrath

By Dallas Jeffs

 

Kiki McGrath is an artist who works with loosely representational imagery and disjointed forms to explore complex ideas relating to history, religious practices and literature. Kiki’s works tend toward earthy, neutral colours and the use of traditional media such as acrylic, collage and graphite drawing.

 

The artist’s recent series Transformations takes stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses as inspiration for its imagery. The series is primarily composed of wall-based works on paper that combine drawing and collage techniques. Through the presentation of fragmented bodies, images of mythical creatures and interesting, almost geometric line interventions, Kiki visually represents the bizarre and disorienting nature of the mythology.

 

From a technical standpoint, I really enjoy the almost naïve-style treatment that Kiki gives her figures. In her collage series, figures are cut-out and drawn in mixed media with a sketchy, gestural style that focuses much more on capturing a feeling that any precise detail. In her Khmemories painting series, Kiki adds this figurative sensibility to bright acrylic colours for works that are equally exuberant and thought-provoking. 

 

http://www.artistrunwebsite.com/blog/1567/History,+Religious+Practices+and+Literature:+Art+by+Kiki+McGrath

 


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