PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHARLES RUMPH AND JOYCE TENNESON -- At the Phillips Collection through September 7. The Tenneson photos then move on to exhibits in New York and Paris.
This Saturday the Phillips Collection opens an exhibit of 60 black-and-white photos by two local photographers, Joyce Tenneson and Charles Rumph. Despite their mutual choice of Washington as a home base, Tenneson and Rumph have taken different approaches to their art -- one an open and incompletely defined view of human shapes, the other a highly focused inspection of geometric patterns.
At first glance, Tenneson's sun-soaked photos look like pencil drawings. Indeed, they possess a dreamy, languid quality evidenced by the number of people in her photos who are lying down or curled up in drowsy repose.
With the 24 photographs she has in this show, Tenneson did all her printing on 100 percent rag paper, hand-applying the silver emulsion. The effect is a soft buy intensely bright image that seem to come from within the paper rather than sit on top of it.
Rumph's background as a musician and lawyer reveals itself in the 36 photos he contributes to this exhibit. His spare, quiet creations show an analytical eye, a sense of order of a building into a shining obelisk, and turn a stairwell into a ram's horn.
"Chamber Series," Rumph's study of a staircase in Mexico, shows the artist's use of light and shadow to produce various geometric shapes (though he seems rather partial to triangles.)