As a photojournalist, Frank Van Riper spent decades on assignment. But compiling a selection of pictures from decades ago is a different task than covering current events, he notes in his new photo-heavy memoir. Reshoots are not possible of places that have vanished or dramatically changed.
“Recovered Memory: New York & Paris 1960-1980” is the title of the book and a show at Photoworks, where Van Riper teaches. Both selections alternate pictures of the U.S. city where the D.C. photographer grew up with ones of the French capital he visited often in the 1970s. Because the images are black-and-white and historical, the two metropolises are not always easily distinguished. But only Paris had the Eiffel Tower, dogs lingering patiently outside cafes, and subway stations with distinctively curved walls, in which cultural treasures or massive advertisements for mayonnaise might be displayed.
Van Riper couldn’t specialize in just one sort of picture when working for the New York Daily News (and, later, writing a photography column for The Washington Post). His vignettes include newsy moments, comic juxtapositions and formal studies, such as a high-contrast depiction of a wooden bench whose shape, shadow and gleam upstage any documentary value. (It happens to be on the Staten Island Ferry.) The photographer is clearly drawn to dogs, trains and statues, but maybe those are simply subjects that seem, in retrospect, to exemplify his memories.
One of Van Riper’s most dramatic shots is an upward view of Coney Island’s parachute jump, once an amusement park ride. With its metal lattice work, the attraction’s tower resembles Paris’s most famous landmark. Yet the Brooklyn photo is more personal. It’s a picture made by a local, not a visitor.
Frank Van Riper: Recovered Memory: New York & Paris 1960-1980 Through Jan. 20 at Photoworks, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo.
The four vast landscapes that dominate Nenad Zaric’s exhibition at Artist’s Proof are meant to be elemental: They depict earth, fire and water. That’s not all the turbulent paintings represent, as the show’s title indicates. “Memory and the Subconscious” also expresses the internal landscape of a Serbian artist who was born in 1986, just a few years before Yugoslavia began to splinter and fratricidal conflict began.
Zaric’s pictures solemnize more than a century of Balkan strife, including the 1914-1918 war in which one of the artist’s great-great-grandfathers was killed. The palette is dark and mostly in shades of gray, with plumes of vivid red in the fire painting and a bit of subdued green around the blue-less pond in the water one. In two slightly earlier pictures, the images are more abstract yet literally earthy — the thick acrylic pigment is bulked with sand and dirt.
Nature is not so explicitly integrated into the element paintings, which stretch horizontal vistas across two (and, in one case, three) vertical panels. Yet the land’s ability to regenerate is one of Zaric’s themes. In his nearly monochromatic portrayal of psychic and physical damage, that patch of green may be the most important thing.
Nenad Zaric: Memory and the Subconscious Through Jan. 20 at Artist’s Proof, 1533 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Portraiture is the focus of “Eyes Open,” the six-artist show that introduces Sense, a new gallery above a hair salon of the same name. The array was curated by Rose Jaffe, who included several of her own works, including some made in collaboration with Jordan Sanders. A few of the subjects are well known, but many seem to be mythic or fictional.
Esteban Whiteside includes Malcolm X and President Trump in a painting he calls a self-portrait, and a graffiti-inspired artist who goes by the tag Absurdly Well jumbles an image of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders with stenciled text, spray paint and glitter. Yet Whiteside’s most expansive picture offers multiple versions of Michelangelo’s David, and some of the other subjects appear to be fantastic beasts.
Marie Amegah’s computer-generated illustrations integrate decorative patterns into portraiture, while Ann Gill goes 3-D in drawing-painting on multiple layers of paper. Jaffe’s work is often rendered with simple outlines, yet also resists flatness: Her brightly hued pictures are mounted away from the wall, and her profiles of faces in steel are free-standing. In “Eyes Open,” facial features are less important than color and shape.
Eyes Open Through Jan. 19 at Sense, 3111 Georgia Ave. NW.
Isabel Manolo’s latest show, “Adrenaline,” is “a self-portrait in many ways,” the local writes. That doesn’t mean that Manalo depicts her own physical form. The autobiography comes in the form of abstract gestures derived from Baybayin, a Filipino script she also employed in a previous Addison/Ripley Fine Art exhibition. It’s written as well with such exuberant ingredients as metallic hues, latex and enamel paint, spray-painted fields and upside-down drips.
“Sweet Tsunami” contrasts an orange squiggle with areas of thickly applied silver; “Euphoria” frames yellow and silver within a dark blue perimeter; and “Mellifluous” features a soft blue-and-white form, seemingly as liquid as melted ice cream. As those titles suggest, these are upbeat paintings. To describe the whole grouping in a single word, “Endorphins” would be apt as “Adrenaline.”
Isabel Manalo: Adrenaline Through Jan. 19 at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Schooled in constructivism, Spanish-born painter Antonia Ramis Miguel disassembles her images into interlocking segments. The effect is architectonic, whether the subjects are soaring edifices or coiled female nudes. So it’s fitting that the local artist’s latest Watergate Gallery show, “Converging Point,” also includes painted-wood sculptures that evoke buildings. Some of these pieces suggest streamlined cathedrals, while others resemble spindly humans, topped with angular, elongated heads.
The selection includes prints, a few Braque-like still lifes and a deftly composed picture of a woman and a cat in which color does most of the work: The cat is white, its contours defined by the blue person who cradles it.
The way the show is hung neatly declares the artist’s concerns. On one wall, two “Abstract Arches” paintings flank “Constructive Face,” whose visage is made from buttress-like curves. Whatever whole she renders, Miguel always calls attention to its parts.
Antonia Ramis Miguel: Converging Point Through Jan. 19 at Watergate Gallery, 2552 Virginia Ave. NW.