Franz Jantzen: Ostinato


Editorial Review

Gallery Opening of the Week

By Michael O'Sullivan
Friday, Jan. 13, 2012

The Italian word ostinato - meaning stubborn or obstinate - refers, in musical composition, to the repetition of a note or notes for dramatic effect. Think of the iconic bass notes signaling the approach of the shark in "Jaws."

In the case of photographer Franz Jantzen, whose exhibition "Ostinato" opens Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hemphill Fine Arts, the term refers to the artist's obsessive technique. Jantzen's pictures - often of architectural spaces - are made by digitally stitching together dozens (or, in some cases, hundreds) of individual shots, taken from a set height and angle. The effect ranges from an impossibly perfect bird's-eye view of, say, a theater to a kaleidoscopic, almost cubist fracturing of physical space.

"Franz Jantzen: Ostinato" runs through March 10 at 1515 14th St. NW, along with "Willem de Looper: Paintings 1968-72," which features four large stained canvases by the late Washington-based painter. 202-234-5601. Free.