"It seems to be happening more frequently now," says one legend that lays the groundwork for Adal Maldonado's "falling eyelids." "Again this morning I woke inside of one of the photographs . . . . how or why it happens I haven't come to terms with."
In Maldonado's exhibit at Fondo del Sol, 2112 R St. NW, the photographs become literary, a book to be "read." And the subject of the "photographic novel," as he calls it, is Maldonado's fantasy that he inhabits his own work.Each of the more than 100 photographs has become a part of a narrative. Individually, each photograph means very little; together, the dozens of pictures tell the tale.
Some of the photos are untouched, some contain written legends. In that way the reading becomes literal. The concept behind this photo-novel, an idea that a number of photographers are working with these days, is as intriguing as the execution. The progression of the story is unpredictable, the characters varied and the images compelling. It questions the nature of the medium, the reality of the photograph.
Part of Maldonado's tale is about vanity, and in that part a woman is seen talking on the telephone. The face of her partner in conversation isn't shown, and yet we know from another part of the story that it is the photographer. A sample of the dialogue:
"Telephone: "The other day I caught you staring at me just after we met, and I know you were looking at yourself even though you were staring directly into my eyes.'
"Woman: 'What were you doing there?'
"Telephone: 'You asked me to come.'
"Woman: 'I love you.'"
It is disconnected dialogue that is given order by the images, and yet it is the way people often talk at one another. The exhibition is on view through Wednesday.
What happens when architecture meets artist? A partial answer can be found at Jane Haslem Gallery, 2121 P St. N.W., in a show entitled "Landscape and Architecture."
Frances Myers, in a series of the most interesting works there, pays homage to Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright's buildings, the quintessence of streamlined elegance in brick, stone and glass, are given an even more luminous treatment in Myers' prints. The sensual curves of the Johnson Wax Building, the determined progression of the Unity Temple's right angles, the landscaped seclusion of Taliesen West -- all are the subjects of Myers' detailed attention and he depicts each architectural form as though it were a sculpture in intense pastels and neon colors.
In another part of the gallery, architecture gets a different kind of treatment from painter and printmaker Richard Haas, noted for his trompe l'oeil ways of approaching the world. Here he looks at the urban landscape of Manhattan, gruff and rugged but invigorating and, in its own very particular way, inviting. Bruce McComb takes a look at a temple to Art Deco, the Paradise theater, with sleek and gaudy aluminum curves, a reminder of the time when art was a part of popular entertainment.The exhibition is on view through Jan. 15.
Certainly there is something to be said for the miniature in art. At the Foundry Gallery, 2121 P St., NW, there is a bit more said than is worth knowing. It's the Fifth Anniversary Exhibition for the gallery in its location on P Street. To mark the occasion, 45 artists -- all of whom have at one time or another exhibited at Foundry -- have submitted small pieces that are in some way representative of their work.
For the most part these are less than successful, either because they were created in haste for this show or because they are simply uninteresting. There are three exceptions. Terrence Roberts' photo collages are all intriguing, but most specifically his slices of "Roosevelt Bridge," a prism-like fracturing of the bridge through alternating stripes of two photos. Janis Goodman's "Linear Adaptation I," and "Linear Adaptation Ii", pencil drawings of thin rope that snake across the paper, are subtle yet sensuous abstractions. Bonnie Collier mixes tiny old photographs with delicate, flowing constructions in porcelain, an elegant and appropriate combination.