KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN’s solo exhibition “Water Ribbon” reviewed in The Washington Post

2 Oct

Museums Review

In the galleries: Probing our relationships with living systems

By Mark Jenkins October 1, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

“Water Ribbon” by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann is a vertical composition that’s 7½ feet high. (Morton Fine Art)
“Arch 3″ by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann has a strong central focus that departs from the artist’s usual style. (Morton Fine Art)

…Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann is the most conventional of the five participants, at least in her choice of media. The Washington artist paints, usually on paper and often on a mammoth scale, with acrylic pigment and sumi ink. The ink links Mann’s style to historical Chinese painting, as does her nature imagery. Yet the crowded, layered pictures are mostly abstract. Mann begins by pouring pigment to make random patterns, which are then amended and extrapolated, partly by collage.

That synthesis — of flowing and improvisational with hard-edged and precise — yields tableaux that are dynamic and distinctive. The two Mann panoramas in “Empirical Evidence” — the larger almost 12 feet wide — are among the show’s highlights.

Anyone smitten with these sweeping pictures can easily find more, if not quite so expansive, examples at Morton Fine Art. The biggest offering is the title piece, “Water Ribbon,” a rare vertical composition that’s 7½ feet high. Many of the other pictures are, unusually for Mann, square or nearly so. Although they still suggest landscapes, such pictures as “Arch 3” have a stronger central focus than is typical of the artist’s style. Rather than meander every which way, Mann’s latest water ribbons coalesce into dazzling wholes.

Empirical Evidence Through Nov. 13 at Hamiltonian Artists, 1353 U St. NW.

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Water Ribbon Through Oct. 6 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302.

Available Artwork by KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

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