Published Friday, April 13, 2012 in The Washington Post print edition in the Style Section and online at www.washingtonpost.com
By: Mark Jenkins
VARIETY: The eight pieces in Tom Green's Curator's Office show follow the same essential form: A central axis, incorporating four dots within circles, serves as the spine for a series of ribs; these lead to various glyphs. Above left is Green's "Of This World 8" (2011). Rosemary Feit Covey's "Fish" above center, is a highlight of "DC Now" Luis Silva contemplates metamorphosis in his G Fine Art show. Above right is Silva's "Untitled" (2011-12).
Veteran D.C. artist Tom Green goes beyond black and white
In part because the paintings that originally defined his style were black and white, Tom Green has always seemed more concerned with form than color. The eight pieces in "Of This World" at the Curator's Office, show Green's continued interest in the hieroglyph-like forms that were originally inspired by his study of Mayan writing. But color plays a larger role here than in much of the veteran local artist's work.
All the paintings, which are acrylic on paper, follow the same essential form. A central axis, incorporating four dots within circles, serves as the spine for a series of ribs; these lead to various glyphs, whose exact forms are never repeated. The backgrounds are divided into two monochromatic blocks, which can be seen as purely geometric or as representing land and sky. (The darker shade is usually at the bottom, boosting the latter interpretation.) The backdrops range from pastel to bold and can be flat or textured.
These paintings are clearly linked to Green's earlier work yet have elements of color-field painting. The various hues play against one another, offering disparate effects in different combinations. The dots are all in black, the only constant color on all eight paintings, yet their shade appears to shift slightly, depending on the complementary tints. This expanded use of color contrast seems a fruitful development for Green, but he may not be able to pursue it. These paintings, from 2011, were the last he made before he received a diagnosis of ALS, the muscle weakening condition also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
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