There are more than cityscapes in “Great Streets: The Urban Life of D.C.,” the Zenith-curated show at the Washington DC Economic Partnership. The assortment includes Curtis Woody’s historical collages, which emphasize African American heritage, and Philip Hazard’s handsome American flag sculpture in copper and reclaimed barn wood. It’s illuminated by cut-out, back-lit stars and red, white and blue neon squiggles atop the worn surfaces.
Most of the space, though, is allocated to Richard Fitzhugh’s and Glenn Moreton’s urban landscapes. Moreton’s digital prints on canvas are precise and detailed, showing Dupont Circle scenes. Fitzhugh’s pictures are watercolors and looser, capturing the feel of nighttime at lively intersections. Not surprisingly, most of the paintings depict the general vicinities of 14th and U or Seventh and H streets NW, areas whose energy matches the vigor of Fitzhugh’s brushstrokes.
The Urban Life of D.C.
On view through Nov. 8 at the Washington DC Economic Partnership, 1495 F St. NW; 202-783-2963; www.zenithgallery.com
Like many summer group exhibitions, the current one at Adah Rose Gallery includes works by artists the venue has displayed recently. But they weren’t chosen by the gallery’s proprietor and namesake, Adah Rose Bitterbaum. “Carte Blanche: Asia, Joey and Kara” was culled from the existing inventory by three summer interns. They packed the show with dozens of pieces, yet it doesn’t look crowded, in part because the art itself features lots of open territory.
Take, for example, Joseph C. Parra’s two screen-printed portraits on large expanses of white paper. He has partially sanded off the areas around the faces to frame them, which increases the pictures’ already ample negative space. Among the other participants who employ white backgrounds are Alison Rash, who paints fluid arrangements of rhomboids in complementary colors, and John James Anderson, who makes visually punning compositions of single words, such as a slanting “lean,” rendered in black.
There’s also a lot of white in Jessica Drenk’s found-object sculptures, which squeeze everyday items into combines that seem to belong in a natural history museum. One wall sculpture, “Soft Cell Tissue,” suggests an enlarged cross-section slide of muscle cells, but it’s actually squished-together toilet-paper rolls. Similarly, Drenk stuffs coffee filters and torn pages from books into oblong frames, subverting their purpose while retaining something of their papery delicacy. Not all of the show’s art opposes tightness and openness, but such juxtapositions characterize some of the more memorable items.
Asia, Joey and Kara
On view through Aug. 29 at Adah Rose Gallery, 3766 Howard Ave., Kensington, 301-922-0162, www.adahrosegallery.com
Jenkins is a freelance writer.