Arts Desk

Reviewed: Frank Hallam Day at Addison/Ripley Fine Art

Ho-hum—another year, another successful Frank Hallam Day photography exhibit. The current one, titled “Waterline,” uses as its loose organizing principle the meeting of land and water.

The photographs were taken over a long period of time—1992 to 2007—which produces a somewhat scattershot tour of the world’s littoral regions, from outcroppings on the Spanish coastline to waterside American RV parks to a viaduct towering over Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal.

Several of the images of pylons that anchor elevated highways produce scenes that are downright ugly, but Day regularly manages to tease compelling visuals out of meager material. In one of the pylon images, a half-submerged tree branch and its reflection produce a thoroughly unexpected form – a shape that approximates a soaring eagle. In another pylon image, Day frames the structural element so it goes straight upward, looking like a monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey (below).

In one elegiac image, Day photographs a damaged grocery cart half-sinking into a layer of intriguingly textured ice (above). Most striking—partly, but not entirely, because they are the exhibit’s only color images—are a pair of photographs that capture the sides of a ship hull (right). Ship hulls may sound prosaic, but in Day’s hands, the peeling expanses offer a symphony of colors and textures. One of them, Ship Hull #90, depicts a geometric arrangement of black, orange, red and brown that, from a distance, looks convincingly like an abstract-expressionist canvas.

Through Dec. 6 at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW. (202) 338-5180. Tues.-Sat. 11am-6pm.



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