The pictures in Scott Ivey’s show at Artist’s Proof are hung a bit lower than is usual for the gallery, notes proprietor Peggy Sparks. That’s one reason the D.C. landscapes in the local artist’s “Bridges and Alleys” seem so approachable. They take a street- or window-level view of everyday scenes, with only the occasional glimpse of the city’s monumental precincts. When a dome punctuates the open skies, it’s seen in the distance, through haze that appears welcoming rather than ominous. Whether working in oil or ink-washed charcoal, Ivey is a master of congenial fog and drizzle.
Ivey lists Edward Hopper, James McNeil Whistler and J.M.W. Turner as his principal inspirations for these pictures, made between 1988 and this year. The artist’s interest in the first of those is evident in his focus on ordinary places, although none of these scenes are inhabited by Hopper-like nighthawks. From the other two precursors, Ivey learned about light and depth, all suggested with loose yet precise gestures. But the subjects of Ivey’s nocturnes — unlike the ones now on display in the Freer Gallery’s “Whistler in Watercolor” — don’t seem remote. They’re misty yet neighborly.