Dig­i­tal and tra­di­tional me­dia join forces

The Washington Post Sunday - - BOOK WORLD - BY MARK JENK­INS

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.

Jorge Caligiuri

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.

Ch­e­sa­peake Views

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. style@wash­post.com


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.

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