Most entries deal with photographic images, whether still or moving. Gabriela Bulisova photographed charred forests with two rolls of film, which she crumpled and digitally scanned to produce damaged photos of damaged areas. Mark Isaac’s upward-looking photos, which depict tree canopies framed by a white sky, are equally stark and panoramic. Using color instead of black and white, Katie Kehoe superimposed wildfires on photos of areas she has a personal connection to — areas that haven’t been burned so far. The photos in Sue Wrbican’s “Before the Ghost” series are abstracted, but their bright orange expansions are reminiscent of fire, perhaps of the petrified variety.
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Closer to home, Billy Friebele uses artificial intelligence and a two-part video device to explore the Anacostia River. The resulting photos and videos — one of which is displayed on a large low-definition monitor in the plaza outside the gallery — peer above and below the waterline at the same time. The AI-generated digital still images produced in the process are blurry, yet incredibly beautiful.
Atlantika Collective: Approaching Event Horizons: The Climate Change Project until October 1st Mason Exhibition Arlington3601 Fairfax Dr, Arlington.
When the pandemic forced Universal photographer Matt Lidham to stay at home, he curled up with a good book — one he made himself. The Virginia artist has collected some of his photographs into a book, teaching himself Asian handmade paper and European binding techniques in the process. Some of the results are shown in “Recto/Verso,” a multiple exposure gallery exhibit whose title is taken from the front (or right) and back (or left) of a sheet of printed paper.
Several copies of the book are on display, open to pages juxtaposed with rhyming photos such as “open/closed”; a rectangular cave entrance with a view of the sky in the distance (reverse); and a stone frame blocked by a pile of stones door (right). Leedham doesn’t limit himself to one format, though. The show also includes photo-based scrolls, a very horizontal “accordion book” and multiple 3D “tunnel books” that allow viewers to gaze at external images to view partially hidden internal images.
Leadham did not point out the location of his photo, but language sometimes provides clues: The two tunnel books have signs in Thai and Japanese. The Japanese text is next to a set of rail car windows, behind which the photographer inserted an expansive outdoor scene. In Lidham’s witty chaotic picture, the outside becomes the inside — or the negative becomes the positive.
Matt Leedham: Recto/Verso, Epidemics in Codex until October 2 Multiple Exposure GalleryTorpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria.
Some of Elizabeth Casqueiro’s photos are loose and fluid, with splotches and drips. However, as viewers of her Athena exhibition might guess, the Portuguese-born local artist trained as an architect. Casqueiro’s creations include crisp straight lines and clean rectangular blocks, some of which contain precise renderings of classical buildings or land-use plans. This architectural quality makes them compatible with the work of the venue’s other current featured artist, Jean Sausele-Knodt, whose 3D wall sculptures have been previously reviewed in this column.
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Casqueiro’s style is divided into soft and hard, line and color, paint and ink. Bright tones dominate, but there are also stark black forms and neutral grey and tan areas. Flowers appear frequently and are sometimes drawn, but are usually carefully outlined like a botanical guide. Floral forms can also appear in more decorative schemes, echoing fabric or wallpaper designs.
All in all, these paintings are more calculated than intuitive, but their first impression is quite the opposite. A closer look takes the eye from color to form, and into a composition that is more complex than it initially appears. In a sense, Casqueiro’s photographs are like buildings, revealing details as they enter and pass through.
Elizabeth Casquero until October 2 Temple of Athena201 Princes Street, Alexandria.
In a different local group show, Korean-born American artists WonJung Choi and Ahree Song explored the idea of transformation. Choi took home the top prize at this year’s Trawick Awards, the winners of which are featured in Gallery B’s exhibition. Song is one of three artists featured in the Korea Cultural Center’s technology-themed “True and False”.
Choi’s prints and drawings are a bit of a joke of art history—or art prehistory. She designed a family tree map depicting the descendants of two artefacts unearthed in what is now Germany dating back 35,000 to 40,000 years: “The Lion Man” and “Venus of Hollerfels” . Choi believes that the mating of angular lions with bulbous Venus will gradually lead people to look more like contemporary humans. In this case, mutation leads to normalcy.
Song doesn’t have to guess what her evolutionary experiments will yield. Her “Contain Time” is a red bell pepper primed with polyurethane, an industrial waterproof material that can rot. When isolated from the air, the vegetables liquefy but retain their shape and color. The result is a plastic replica of the pepper that is also the real one. “Time Included” is as bright and shapely as a piece of pop art, yet offers a chilling commentary on science’s ability to denature organic objects.
Trawick Prize: Bethesda Prize for Contemporary Art until October 2 Gallery B7700 Wisconsin Ave., #E, Bethesda.
Right or wrong until October 3rd Korean Cultural Center2370 Massachusetts Ave NW.