The locations where Sandy Sugawara and Catiana Garcia Kilroy make their photographs are mundane, but the moments they capture are extraordinary. The digital color pictures in “Places We Find,” the two artists’ Photoworks show, share a few motifs, notably patches of hot light. But the most intriguing overlap is that both photographers are drawn to compositions that depict inside and outside simultaneously.
Garcia Kilroy’s pictures are sometimes more colorful because her subjects include street fairs and markets. But one of her most striking vignettes is of a white car glimpsed through the slats of a chalk-hued fence. Sugawara also likes white-on-white scenes, whether they involve snow or simply sunlight on a snow-colored wall.
One of Sugawara’s most dramatic photos is an interior in which sunshine burns border lines around the edges of a closed shutter. Usually, though, the boundaries between within and without are drawn less clearly. Garcia Kilroy often shoots through partly porous frames, whether fences, windows or strings of dangling shells. Sugawara deftly uses water, mist and semi-enclosed spaces: A bus shelter’s presence is liquefied by a dewy glass wall, and the foregrounded surface of a memorial’s reflecting pool appears solid and fluid at the same time. The image, like the moment, is both fleeting and indelible.
Sandy Sugawara and Catiana Garcia Kilroy: Places We Find Through Nov. 4 at Photoworks, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo.
Pottery is made of earth, something Kanika Sircar emphasized in her previous Waverly Street Gallery show, which was partly inspired by the British partition of her native India. Sircar’s current exhibition, “Drowning,” includes some loamy browns but also strong blacks and brilliant whites. Rather than recall a land and its history, the local artist’s works are mostly aquatic and environmental in theme. The elegant flasks and platters evoke turbulent seas, melting glaciers, toxic algae and the boats of the province where she spent her childhood.
Sircar’s ceramics are adorned traditionally with glazes and painting and with laserprint transfers of imagery, maps and text. The designs sometimes continue on the inside of the vessel, a signal that the pieces are not meant for practical use.
This selection includes examples of such series as “Ice Melt,” sparked by the planet’s melting polar areas, and “Tides,” inspired by Hokusai’s “Great Wave” and featuring lines from naturalist Rachel Carson’s writings. Two sets, “Shorelines” and “Nouka,” evoke the Bay of Bengal, the first with maps and the second by emulating the shape of the region’s rowboats. Having spent her entire adult life outside India, Sircar contemplates her childhood home. But these pieces look less to the past than to an ominous future. As sea levels rise, the low-lying Ganges delta will be one of the first areas to drown.
Drowning: Ceramic Forms by Kanika Sircar Through Nov. 3 at Waverly Street Gallery, 4600 East-West Hwy., Bethesda.
Born in Lithuania in 1927, Jose Gurvich arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay, as a small boy. Under the tutelage of Joaquin Torres-Garcia, he developed a constructivist style and a major reputation. There’s a museum devoted entirely to the artist in Uruguay, whose local embassy is showing “Jose Gurvich.” It includes several paintings and two small sculptures, but mostly works on paper.
After World War II, Gurvich traveled widely. This selection includes a realist watercolor-drawing of the Israeli kibbutz where he spent a few years in the mid-1950s, as well as scenes of New York City, where the artist lived (and died) in the early 1970s. Gurvich was partial to earth tones and everyday places, whether to depict Montevideo’s port or Manhattan’s streets.
Constructivism, which originated in Russia, observes schematically. Although Gurvich worked in various modes, some of the most effective works in this show follow that approach. There’s a study of a tortoise that treats the animal as an example of industrial design and a cityscape of Uruguay painted on multiple overlapping panels. The goal is to both break down and build up, discovering reality in its pieces.
Jose Gurvich Through Nov. 2 at Embassy of Uruguay, 1913 I St. NW.
The ultimate detachment is separation from the body through which one perceives the world. Elizabeth Piper Board uses various strategies to attempt that split in “A Detached Observer,” her playful mixed-media show at Olly Olly Art. Yet in her gallery note, she also states her goal of “reuniting the body I’ve been at war with all my life with my fluctuating sense of self.”
The local artist’s actual physical form appears only in an array of identical miniature glamour shots in which she wears white lingerie and a doll-like mask, so she becomes half pinup, half flesh-and-blood Barbie. But there are many other corporeal images, including male (mostly) and female genitalia embroidered on canvas.
Olly Olly’s main room is decorated as a book-strewn boudoir, where the sometimes unladylike artworks are surrounded by artificial roses and fronds and often placed within ornate pink frames. Pink also dominates Board’s abstract paintings, many of them tiny. The other color that sometimes streaks through the pictures is, of course, blue. Masculinity isn’t excluded from Board’s observations, but it is kept at a distance.
Elizabeth Piper Board: A Detached Observer Through Nov. 3 at Olly Olly Art, 10417 Main St., Second Floor, Fairfax.
Many of Emily Uchytil’s subjects look directly at the viewer as though in a police lineup, but these are not the usual suspects. The highly realistic paintings in “Passing Through,” at the Mansion at Strathmore, depict a fox, a pig and a dozen species of birds, as well as insects and flowers.
The Baltimore artist adds a whimsical aspect by rendering these animals and plants on antique wallpaper she found in a West Virginia dance hall. The wild animals pose in front of forestlike patterns that stylize their real-world homes, and a woodpecker perches before a pattern that looks good enough to peck. Uchytil may intend the irony to be gentle rather than bitter. But both the creatures she paints and the landscapes depicted on the wallpaper she uses are threatened by the species that turns nature into decoration.
Emily Uchytil: Passing Through Through Nov. 4 at the Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda.