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to Oct. 28
It hardly takes an interpretive leap to see some duress in Jae Ko’s latest stressful works. Previously, her sculptures—tightly rolled bands of commercial receipt tape, treated to baths of bold inks and dyes—adopted a buttoned-up formalist line. Stately and entitled, these pieces recalled Frank Stella’s minimalist paintings; Ko’s wall-installed bands of concentric rings of paper, presented in understated, dark colors, have always looked a bit like bloated, early Stellas. And just as Stella did to progress his own work, Ko maintains the central premise (the rolled tape) but slackens on a couple variables: She’s stripped her latest sculptures of both their color and cohesion. Abandoning the Sumi inks that lent her works an iridescent glimmer—which played marvelously over the folds and bands of paper—Ko allows glue, and for some works, black graphite, to carry the color. Though the works are presented in bare ebony and ivory, in shape they’re anything but restrained: The artist has exploded her disc forms along the vertical axis, twisting them until they are almost unwound. Ko’s taken some of the works off the wall, arranging them in spiraling triptychs, giving more air to the bends and folds. Chaotic though they may be, the loosened Kos never actually unwind, and they seem static for it. The new works pivot and transform in safe ways, except in that they lose their imposing presence. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, to Saturday, Oct. 28, at Marsha Mateyka Gallery, 2012 R St. NW. Free. (202) 328-0088. (Kriston Capps)