Architects' Drawings - Washington Post In The Galleries

Architects’ Drawings On view through July 30 at Cross MacKenzie Gallery, 1675 Wisconsin Ave. NW. ­202-337-7970.

Landscapes feature in some of the renderings in Cross MacKenzie Gallery’s current show, but they’re secondary to the man-made. These are “Architects’ Drawings,” after all, and the more than 30 contributors include such noted landmark makers as Richard Meier, Michael Graves and Frank Gehry.

The pictures are not all sketches for planned structures. Some of the most appealing are fastidious studies of venerable buildings in St. Petersburg (by Rob Krier) and Italy (by Dhiru Thadani, who curated the show with Mark McInturff). The other work includes Gehry’s near-abstract print of piled-up squiggles, James Smither’s watercolor of a seaside village and Ben Van Dusen’s urban hives, ideal dwellings for big-eyed anime characters. There’s even a cartoon about Washington’s World War II Memorial by Roger Lewis, who writes “Shaping the City” essays for The Washington Post.

A personal note is sounded by a drawing of a proposed project by Eason Cross, the late father of gallery proprietor Rebecca Cross. The design was never built, but the idea survives as a edifice of lines.

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Book Hill Galleries Open for Spring Art Walk, May 13, 2016

Cross MacKenzie Gallery
1675 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Paintings by Rafael Torres Correa

In partnership with the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France, Cross MacKenzie Gallery will host an exhibition of paintings by the Cuban-born French national Rafael Torres Correa. Originally from Havana, this international artist has widely exhibited his work in Mexico, Spain and France and with Cross MacKenzie in 2014.

Correa creates lyrical universes in his large abstract canvases. His paintings evoke memories — symbolic and emotional—and conjure imagined experiences of water and floating islands with their shifting imagery and fluid execution, using washes, drips, dabs and splashes of paint. These landscapes are transitory territories and shifting metaphors, a state that parallels the artist’s own migrations and cultural identity.

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Rafael Torres Correa & Virginia Pates - Washington Post In the Galleries

After a stint in Washington, Cuban-born French artist Rafael Torres Correa is heading home. As a farewell gesture, he and Cross MacKenzie Gallery are presenting “Paysage Expose, Paysage Figurant.” The show’s large abstractions contrast wet and dry, soft and hard. Correa paints atop tile or brick surfaces, and allows their rectangular shapes to imprint on the mottled, free-form compositions. His mostly blue pictures suggest oceans and atolls; others have rich mineral tones of rust, ivory and platinum.

Two of the paintings resemble red brick walls, and all of them have areas that evoke the surfaces of metal and ceramics. Playing on that affinity, Torres has painted a series of individual tiles. These elegant squares stand alone but also look as though they’re ready to be assembled into a larger whole.

Cross MacKenzie always has pottery on display and, in addition to Torres’s work, is now showing Virginia Pates’s porcelain vessels. From one angle, these are in the rustic, intentionally imperfect style known in Japanese as “wabi.” Yet they contain surprises, both visible and not. Pates sometimes incorporates a bit of earth from a specific location, such as James Madison’s Montpelier, that provides the piece’s title. Underneath, the bowls and vases have elaborately scalloped bases, and the inside may be glazed with a vivid, gem-like green or blue. Pates’s creations have as many personalities as they have facets.

Rafael Torres Correa: Paysage Expose, Paysage Figurant and Virginia Pates: Ceramics On view through June 1 at Cross MacKenzie Gallery, 1675 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-337-7970.

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The Washington Post


Three painters and a ceramicist, all in their early 20s, are the “New Talent” of Cross MacKenzie Gallery’s current show. Their work is linked less by style or theme than by vigor and high spirits.

Louise Smith’s large, bustling mixed-media paintings are partially collages, with pigment atop assembled paper and cardboard shards. Maida Monaghan’s red-heavy pictures are partially representational, but they juxtapose pictorial elements in unexpected arrangements. While Cooper MacKenzie depicts hostile nature in paintings of a sinkhole and a tornado, the vibe turns cosmic and perhaps contemplative in his striking “Enso Triptych,” with star-like spatter on space-black backdrops. (In Zen ink painting, an “enso” is a quickly rendered circle, symbolizing enlightenment and the universe.)

Although Nicole Gunning’s life-size figures intentionally suggest the multitudes of Xi’an’s ancient Terra-Cotta Warriors, these are not minions of some emperor. The “Nickies” are all self-portraits, autonomous and unflinchingly nude — albeit headless and armless. Where the Chinese figures are clearly part of set, Gunning’s are personal and individual, and thus entirely contemporary.

Mark Jenkins

Washington City Paper

"Blast Off!" At Cross MacKenzie Gallery

Cross MacKenzie Gallery evokes both ancient mythology and modern technology with “Blast-Off,” its latest group show, which focuses on themes of flight and air travel. David Favrod, one of seven artists in the show, offers a photograph of a Japanese soldier wearing Icarus-style wings, reinterpreting his Japanese grandparents’ role in World War II. Montana-based painter Philip Slagter compares two flying forms, hummingbirds and cutting-edge aerial drones, while other artists look back to the iconic 20th-century rocket form: with ironic cheerfulness in the hands of Biddle/Frankel (a collaboration between husband and wife Eve Biddle and Joshua Frankel) and with doughy, flabby drabness in the hands of sculptor Matthew Courtney. But the exhibit’s biggest treat is seeing the work of two longtime D.C. favorites—painter Trevor Young, who provides a dramatic, nighttime homage to a taxiing airplane, and photographer (and gallery owner) Maxwell Mackenzie, whose aerial image of planes dotting an expansive desert landscape calls to mind some of Young’s own fine portrayals of creamy, industrial-gray tarmacs a decade and a half ago.

Louis Jacobson

Washington Post


On one side of Cross MacKenzie Gallery, a long bench holds more than 50 objects, which clay artist Zimra Beiner calls “Tools for No Purpose.” Some of them have knobs, tines or other parts that make them look vaguely functional, but others appear more organic, suggesting gourds or cones. To add to the perplexity, the so-called tools are all made of red-tan clay, but coated with a glaze that has been sandblasted to a seemingly creamy finish, suggesting cream-cheese icing. It’s as if the artist raided the kitchen drawers of a psychedelic cartoon.

In the front window are two hulking clay blobs — “blob” is the gallery’s term for them — whose contours look soft and random but whose surfaces are hard and glossy. These are the only standalone items. The other, smaller pieces are carefully arranged so that they look like a series of miniature pavilions or 3-D glyphs, spelling out some unreadable word. The blend of organic and faux-functional continues in one set of silver-gray objects that might be roosters in the process of turning into pitchers, or vice versa.

The show also includes a few drawings, mostly in gray and black but sometimes with smears of yellow. These works also jumble tool shapes and architectural motifs for purely whimsical aims. Whether employing clay or lines, Beiner crafts stuff whose only purpose is play.

Mark Jenkins


The Washington Post

In the galleries: 

Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei famously attacked cultural heirlooms with Dada-inspired impiety, dipping Han and Qing Dynasty pots into vats of industrial paint. It’s not clear whether artist Hyun Kyung Yoon was delighted or distressed by Ai’s antics, but she’s responded with some splattered ceramics of her own, now on display at Cross MacKenzie Gallery. “Why, Ai Wei Wei?” features a dozen newly made off-white jars, seemingly dripping with brightly stained glazes. The result is less provocative than Ai’s work, but more beautiful. Rather than acts of vandalism, Yoon’s color-splashed vessels are an elegant merger of the American pop-art palette and the Asian aesthetic known in Japanese as “wabi-sabi” (rough simplicity).

The show also features Yoon’s “Indeterminate Lines” series of wall-mounted ceramic squiggles. The artist, who divides her time between Richmond and South Korea, compares these 3-D gestures to calligraphy, but they also resemble vines or sprouts. Some of the twisting strands end in pod-like shapes or bristling spines, while others culminate in forms that look a bit like shower heads. Made in a range of subdued colors and a variety of finishes, the ceramic brushstrokes look less drawn than grown. Yoon’s “lines” are as distant from traditional pottery as the vivid hues that embellish her Ai-style jars.

Mark Jenkins

Washington City Paper

Hyun Kyung Yoon at Cross Mackenzie Gallery

Cross MacKenzie Gallery promises to get noticed in 2015. Last year, owners Rebecca Cross and Max MacKenzie bought a new address for the gallery at 1675 Wisconsin Ave. NW (a gem of a space vacated by Heiner Contemporary last January). With Addison/Ripley just across the street, the gallery is helping carve out a new outpost for art in Georgetown, once a D.C. bastion of painting, photography, and craft. And with its first show in 2015, Korean artist Hyun Kyung Yoon’s “Why, Ai Weiwei?”, the gallery will test the boundaries of its focus on ceramic arts. For this show, Yoon recreates the Qing and Han Dynasty vases famously appropriated by the titular notorious Beijing artist. While Weiwei has dipped these vases in industrial paint and even destroyed them to make his own work, Yoon presents them as vessels. Is that a promotion or demotion? Yoon’s work might be a playful misreading of Weiwei’s acts of creative destruction or a cynical appropriation of his commanding presence in the contemporary art market. I rather hope that the latter is the case, and that she’s not mounting a rearguard for tradition, craft, and the Qing Dynasty.

Kriston Capps