Reviewed: “Washington Realism” at Carroll Square Gallery
“Washington Realism” bills itself, accurately, as an exhibit in which the artists ignore the “glitz and glam” of Washington’s political culture. One could also say that, to a large extent, it ignores Washington, D.C., itself. The 10 artists included in the exhibit were all D.C.-based, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that from the work on display. The late Manon Cleary, for instance, opens the show with tender portrayals of cloud-streaked skies—the subject matter of Alfred Stieglitz rendered in the beiges and blues of Georgia O’Keeffe. Fred Folsom offers a dainty, bucolic landscape that couldn’t contrast more starkly with the city's streets, while Joe White offers a glimpse of windowed facades rendered in pastel pinks, yellows and greens that suggest Miami. Three artists stand out. Trevor Young returns to subject matter he’s visited successfully in the past—an empty parking-attendant booth at night, and a jet plane parked amid the broad, negative space of an airport tarmac. Gregory Thielker paints rural road landscapes, most intriguingly a view at dusk from the windshield of a moving car, in which the distortion at the edges is pitch-perfect. And Martin Kotler produces a wonderful pair of Ashcan School-worthy portrayals of train yards, crowned by intricately reproduced jumbles of overhead power lines.
The exhibition is on view 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to April 27 at Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F St. NW. (202) 347-7978.