The two Montgomery County artists paired in “Fragility,” at Betty Mae Kramer Gallery, make art that appears more formidable than delicate. What’s potentially fragile is the source material: Nancy Weisser works in glass, while Woody Woodroof begins with weeds.
For this show, Weisser has crafted two installations on domestic themes. One shows a bedroom, the other a kitchen. Both assemblages include some found objects, but the majority of each is made of black glass: pots, flowers and furniture, as well as the reflective platforms on which the vignettes sit. (There’s even a shattered glass tabletop, rendered in, well, glass.) The scenes are swirled with vitrographs, strands of glass that, Weisser writes, “imply the diminishing memories of this space and the people who occupied it.” Unprompted, viewers might not make that association. But Weisser’s reimagining of everyday interiors has an eerie power.
Woodroof makes photograms, camera-less images exposed by sunlight and printed on paper, cotton or hemp. His subjects are mostly nuisance plants, such as bittersweet, bull thistle and poison hemlock. (The artist, also an organic vegetable farmer, also includes GMO corn in his rogues’ gallery.)
The photos are cyanotypes, better known as blueprints, and generally quite large. Hung on banners around the gallery, the silhouetted images are imposing yet ghostly, with areas of misty light blue. Removed from their ordinary context and enlarged dramatically, the vegetal outcasts become archetypal — and quite lovely.
on view through Jan. 25 at Betty Mae Kramer Gallery, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, 301-565-3805, www.creativemoco.com/kramer-gallery.
The watercolors outnumber the glass pieces in “Earth’s Elements,” Harmon Biddle’s show at Touchstone Gallery, but the sculptures are more striking. The local artist’s paintings clearly begin as landscapes, often depicting brown earth and blue skies and water; sometimes they turn toward abstraction, and egg shapes are common. In 2007, she traveled to Venice to collaborate with Berengo Fine Arts, one of the glass studios on the Murano islands. There, Biddle reinterpreted such pictures as “Night” and “Blue Egg” in glass. The forms and basic color schemes of the originals remain, but with added depths and highlights. Particularly complex is “Remembrance,” in which swirls of red and yellow seep into the bluish glass block. The ability to incorporate such interior details seems to give Biddle’s sculptures not just two more dimensions, but an infinite number.
on view through Jan. 27 at Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave. NW, 202-347-2787, www.touchstonegallery.com.
Jenkins is a freelance writer.