Deborah Brisker Burk

Galleries: ‘Characters of Chevy Chase,’ ‘Local Color’ showcase hometown artists

By Mark Jenkins, Published: August 4 on

"Washington is not home to a lot of capital-A artists, whose personalities (and self-marketing mechanisms) are as big as their work. Such swaggering figures are especially unlikely in a show representing the upscale, near-suburban precincts of Chevy Chase. But Zenith Gallery’s “The Character of Chevy Chase” doesn’t feature the dabblers, even if some of the participants pursue (or pursued) their art part-time.

Although the organizing principle is geographical, several of the artists have stylistic affinities. The canvases of Deborah Brisker Burk, Joan Samworth and the late Lou Kaplan are expressionistic, drawing on early-20th-century European painting and (in Kaplan’s case) Dutch-born American artist Willem de Kooning. There are many portraits and still-lifes among the three artists’ pieces, but some are abstract. Kaplan’s loose, exuberant style yields to a moody, grid-based approach in “Bulls and Bears” and Samworth’s landscapes, like Abraham’s, sometimes reduce scenery to its elemental shapes.

Burk’s paintings on canvas and paper occasionally incorporate bits of fabric, which link them to Carol Gellner Levin’s sculptural work in burlap and terra cotta. Burk’s life-size sheeplike creatures add another rustic note to this urban shopping-mall exhibition..."

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Mixed Media on Canvas 24x28