Reviewed: Alexander Vasiljev at Watergate Gallery
It’s hard to decide what’s more unusual in “Mistify,” a series of photographs by Alexander Vasiljev—the location, or the technique. Vasiljev took the photographs in a remote region of Peru known as the Wax Palm Forest, where fog shrouds 200-foot-tall palm trees. Once he takes his photographs, Vasiljev prints them on archival paper, mounts them on wooden boxes, and coats them with an encaustic medium whose ancient recipe includes beeswax. The resulting images become indistinct, looking less like a photograph than a painting. At times, Vasiljev’s works are overly dramatic or excessively out of focus; in some pieces, the surface brushstrokes are distractingly visible. But at their best, the fuzzy stylings suit the Peruvian panoramas perfectly, presenting California-style tableaux pierced by shafts of sunlight or indistinct mountains and valleys worthy of a Sung painting.
The exhibition is on view 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to Nov. 30 at Watergate Gallery and Frame Design, 2552 Virginia Ave. NW.