Geankoplis, Miller and McInturff by: Mark Jenkins
Usually, the glazes and slips that overlay pottery are thin and become fused with the object during firing. Ceramicist Nick Geankoplis takes a different approach to layering in Cross MacKenzie Gallery’s “Stratum.” His wall-mounted pieces contrast chunky, bright-colored drips with black images of traditional Chinese and contemporary globalist icons.
Geankoplis works and teaches in Kansas, but spent four years in Beijing. That sojourn prompted ceramics that are both minimal and busy. Fitted into gold frames, the pieces are white planes that are empty save for areas covered by the dripped glazes. That’s where the artist places the transferred Chinese decorative motifs and an occasional Western corporate logo. The technique is intriguing and risky: This show was supposed to have included a larger selection, but only three survived the firing process.
“Stratum” also features several photo collages by Steve Miller, whose work was shown at the National Academy of Sciences this year. Miller combines X-rays of animal skeletons with aerial photography of the Amazon rain forest to make pictures of endangered nature that are rich visually and metaphorically.
In addition, the gallery is showing “Summer Fresh,” ceramics by Marissa McInturff that are more functional than Geankoplis’s work. The flowerpots and similar items are in sunny or earthy Mediterranean hues — McInturff is based in Barcelona — and made of stackable pieces. All are small in scale, yet in shapes that suggest towers and spires. Grouped together, the vessels resemble a miniature city.
Nick Geankoplis and Steve Miller: Stratum and Marissa McInturff: Summer Fresh “Stratum” through June 30 and “Summer Fresh” through July 31 at Cross MacKenzie Gallery, 1675 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-337-7970. crossmackenzie.com.