I stopped by the exhibition "Trust in Me" by Susan Jamison at Irvine Contemporary last week. This artist's new series of egg tempera paintings depicting the female figure are quite moving. The nude figures are decorated with traditional henna tattoo patterns which evoke a sensual mystery of the feminine. Exposed biological features on the human heads resemble the branches of trees and reflect possiblilites of new growth. Birds, butterflies and insects carry offerings of the woman's world such as fabric, needles and thread. Two paintings that held me in fascinated silence each contained a hummingbird messenger. Jamison's timeless images are put together in two classic forms: a traditional Renaissance portrait profile combined with a naturalistic illustrative style. The overall effect successfully combines the qualities of the mysterious power of growth and decay, communication, sensuality, fantasies, and longing. This is a beautifully crafted exhibition with a haunting lyisicism that you will want to visit more than once.
Also on view is Courtney Jordan, Restructuring a new series of drawings in ink and graphite on mylar that reconceive architectural forms and structures from the human built environment. Percy Shelley wrote in Defense of Poetry, that poetry “strips the veil of familiarity from the world, and lays bare [its] naked and sleeping beauty.” Poetry, he continues, “makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar; it reproduces all that it represents.” Without necessarily invoking Romantic transcendentalism, Jordan’s drawings strip away the veil of familiarity from known structures to reveal our deep emotional connectedness to the built forms of everyday life, in which we live, move, and have our being.
1412 14th Street, NW
Washington DC 20005
hours: tues-sat 11-6 and by appointment