Digital and traditional media join forces
Digital technology, which allows for the promiscuous duplication and dispersal of images, is not necessarily a friend to art galleries. But it’s hard to avoid, and impossible to ignore. Thus, the vogue for shows such as Target Gallery’s “Glitch,” whose 11 artists mate computerized devices with more traditional media — and with the human form itself.
Alexis Gomez’s “Being” is a 3-D outline based on a scan of the artist’s body, its nine slices cut by a computer-operated machine, but finished by hand. Lyric Prince’s video animation represents a childhood concussion that might have been “a hard reboot of my brain.” Less personally, Zach Nagle distorts images from fashion magazines, stretching willowy models into even more elongated figures, and distorting black-and-white fabric patterns into prism-like color.
In the cyber era, personal identity isn’t always corporeal. Tracy Miller-Robbins’s projected animation represents “the female spirit,” while Eric Corriel’s digital-generated light piece transforms “all 710” of the artist’s computer passwords into blotches of purple and green. Maxim Leyzerovich provides local off-color with degraded digital prints of the District as seen by surveillance cameras.
The three jacquard weavings in Sasha de Koninck’s “Zeroes and Ones” might appear traditional, but they notate musical scores that play when a computer tablet’s camera reads them. There’s also a tablet in Jill Burks’s piece, but the digital animation unspooling on its screen is largely obscured under a sheet of yellow-gridded glass. This might be an act of revenge on crisp digital imagery, or simply an acknowledgment that everyone, computer-assisted or not, perceives the world through a glass darkly. Glitch: An Exploration of Digital Media On view through July 9 at the Torpedo Factory, Target Gallery, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. 703-7464590. torpedofactory.org/target.
Rosemary Feit Covey
Nature teems in Rosemary Feit Covey’s large mixed-media paintings. Hundreds of pink and red fish school in spirals, and uncountable yellow ginkgo leaves cover most of a deep blue background. Yet the Washington artist has doubts about the fecundity she depicts. Her Morton Fine Art show is titled “The Planet Is a Delicate Thing.”
Covey’s skills include woodblock printing, whose carving technique she incorporates into low-relief pictures that are partly engraved and partly painted. This array’s epic, “Black Ice,” is an immersive eight-panel tableaux; it fills the gallery’s longest wall with blueand-white ice floes on a darker-than-wine sea. The dramatic Arctic oceanscape, like the polar bear on the adjacent wall, was inspired by a trip to northern Norway.
The artist doesn’t directly portray ecological disasters, although this show includes one of the bone-pile pictures she has exhibited at Morton before. But global warming menaces the polar scenes, and those fish are fleeing the oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout. Covey’s responses to such disasters are both expansive and exquisitely detailed. Rosemary Feit Covey: The Planet Is a Delicate Thing On view through July 9 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. mortonfineart.com.
The Eye of Faith Flanagan
Watching over the current exhibition at Studio 1469 is a large but faint drawing of local art curator and patron Faith Flanagan, rendered by Ian Jehle in pink pencil. The portrait can be seen as fragile or unearthly, either of which now seems apt: “The Eye of Faith Flanagan” is a memorial to the D.C. art curator and patron, who died suddenly in January.
The show features work by nearly two dozen artists and includes items from Flanagan’s own collection. Sales will benefit the District of Columbia Arts Center, where Flanagan had served as a board member.
The selection is diverse in style as well as media. A small Erik Thor Sandberg painting recalls the grotesqueries of Bruegel and Bosch, while Jeremy Flick’s hard-edged abstraction places one crimson square amid cool and neutral hues. The photographs document excursions such as William Christenberry’s to rural Alabama (of course) and Jayme McLellan’s to a sideshow populated by inflatable superheroes. Thom Flynn constructed a stripe “painting” by collaging found posters, while Brandon Morse’s computer-generated video perpetually builds and collapses a structure of black lines. It is, in a way, a vision of eternity.
The Eye of Faith Flanagan On view through July 8 at Studio 1469, 1469 Harvard St. NW, rear. 202-518-0804. studio1469.com.
Fresco and encaustic are ancient techniques, and Jorge Caligiuri uses them to make art that appears timeworn. Yet the Philadelphia artist included in the Watergate Gallery show “Motion” is an abstractionist whose principal motifs are stripes and circles. These don’t bleed into the surface, as in postpainterly color-field pictures. Instead, they’re built up with, or punched into, thick layers of pigment. Rendered on wood panels, the near-sculptural pictures employ mostly muted hues, with the occasional vivid contrast.
At their simplest, Caligiuri’s paintings suggest close-ups of battered stucco walls or (like Thom Flynn’s piece at Studio 1469) found-object assemblages. They’re stark in design yet rich in nuance. Interestingly, the artist’s newest frescoes are less minimalist. Although the colors remain quiet, these appealing Cubist-influenced compositions break loose of regular patterns.
The show also includes stainless and mild-steel sculptures by Richard Binder, whose usually sleek but occasionally funky pieces are often shown at the gallery. Motion: In Two and Three Dimensions: Richard Binder & Jorge Caligiuri On view through July 8 at Watergate Gallery, 2552 Virginia Ave. NW. 202-338-4488. watergategalleryframedesign.com.
If no longer the “immense protein factory” extolled by H.L. Mencken, the Chesapeake Bay is still abundant in vistas. The three oil painters in “Chesapeake Views” at Susan Calloway Fine Arts — Virginia’s Ed Cooper, Washington’s Stephen Day and New York’s Judith Vivell — travel different distances to reach the area, and portray it in different ways.
The only one of the trio who includes signs of human presence, Cooper contributed one large and more than a dozen small pictures. His work is the most realistic and excels at simulating the play of light. Vivell’s style is ever so slightly looser, and evocatively captures the soft colors and shapes of cloudy days or misty mornings.
Day’s work is nearly abstract, but divided into horizontal slices that represent water or sky. The artist make that clear by adding a form of plaster to the occasional band of color, yielding textures that suggest currents or clouds. The results are crisp and clean, with just a hint of real-world grit. Chesapeake Views On view through July 8 at Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-965-4601. callowayart.com. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Parascandola, “La Chanca 1” (2015), digital pigment print, on view through July 8 in “The Eye of Faith Flanagan” at Studio 1469.
Jorge Caligiuri, “Unseen III,” at Watergate Gallery. Caligiuri uses fresco and encaustic to make art that appears timeworn.