by Mark Jenkins. On website washingtonpost.com February 17, 2017.
In print February 19, 2017.
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Excerpts from review by Mary
Mei. On website georgetownvoice.com February 24, 2017.
Natural Simplicity: Metallics at the
At first glance, Mary D. Ott’s metallic paintings seem
to be characterized by their lack of complexity; her aptly titled piece
“Gold on Black” refers to a dark canvas interrupted by thin, golden
strokes, while “Copper” is a copper backdrop interspersed with flashes of
silver. However, upon further inspection, Ott’s allusion to natural elements
becomes noticeable, and one is able to appreciate the elegance of her
Metallics: Paintings and Prints at the
Touchstone Gallery is surprisingly diverse in its
composition. A collection of metallic paintings is accompanied by a
compilation of prints, which are made from intricate etchings. The complex
process Ott uses to create her pieces is contradicted by the effortless
feel of her final products, as what looks like an uncomplicated stroke is
actually the result of many different techniques.
For Ott, every metallic painting
starts with applying a base layer to a canvas. Embroidery yarn dipped in
acrylic paint is then used as a fine brush. The series of etchings titled
“Wide Grass” were printed from a zinc etching plate, while “Grass Bouquet”
and its successive versions involve the use of dried ornamental grasses
(which were pressed against the zinc plate). Ott also employed nitric acid
in preparation of the etching. Screen printing techniques were used in the
final steps of the process.
There is something very enjoyable
about the unpretentious nature of Metallics: Paintings and Prints. Instead
of being prompted to search for some deep, metaphoric message, the viewer
is encouraged to simply focus on the natural implications of the artwork
and to observe Ott’s use of lines and strokes. Viewing this exhibit is
comparable to viewing a field during a strange sunset. The colors and
shadows have been slightly distorted, lending a strange and graceful
appearance to the landscape. This is especially true of Ott’s “Wide Grass”
etchings, which offer a unique perspective on the depiction of an extensive grassland.