Among its various metaphorical roles, the Gothic cathedral suggests the human frame, supported by a stone skeleton. The August 2011 earthquake left the Washington National Cathedral with some cracked ribs, which are clearly visible in Colin Winterbottom’s recent photographs. “Gothic Resilience,” at Long View Gallery, includes images of damage, as well as ones that show the building’s solidity. All are part of an ongoing project to document the cathedral’s restoration, which will continue for years.
Winterbottom, who will discuss these photos at the gallery at 1 pm. Feb. 9, has assembled a large portfolio of black-and-white pictures, often sepia-toned, of the city’s grand edifices. He often goes topside to capture vistas that highlight both sky-scraping architectural features and the dramatic light and clouds that frame them. He employs extreme angles and fisheye lenses, which distort the actual view to offer a true sense of a structure’s grace and power. His recent cathedral photos reveal cracks and breaks, scaffolding erected for repairs and an engineer who’s barely visible amid the gargoyles. But they also display sinuous patterns — of stone, shadow or sunlight — in which heavy stone turns ethereal.
on view through Feb. 10 at Long View Gallery, 1234 9th St. NW; 202-232-4788; www.longviewgallery.com.
Mei Mei Chang, Mariah Anne Johnson, Randall Lear, Eric Lundquist, Nikki Painter
Five artists, four of them local, interact with a standard D.C. rowhouse interior in “Unfettered,” the current show at Delicious Spectacle. Nikki Painter and Mei Mei Chang’s intricate installations show their customary motifs: The former mixes rectilinear and organic forms, with lots of day-glo colors; the latter contrasts the abstract and the architectonic, frequently (but not always) in black and shades of gray. Mariah Anne Johnson, who often works with fabric, takes an unusually aggressive tack; in her piece, brightly colored sheets overrun and deform the front room’s Venetian blinds.
Working with tape, paint and small boxes, Randall Lear attaches objects to the wall; they look as if they ought to be functional, yet clearly aren’t. Eric Lundquist is the odd artist out: The Brooklyn resident uses found objects, but his pieces don’t directly engage the space. In “Never Put Together,” slabs of wooden cabinetry emerge from a drywall shell. The seven-foot-high sculpture has its absurd aspects — a vintage audio turntable is perched on top — but also functions as metaphor for birth and transfiguration.
on view through next Friday at Delicious Spectacle, 1366 Quincy St. NW; deliciousspectacle.com.
Jenkins is a freelance writer.