Arts Desk

Reviewed: Avi Gupta and Judy Jashinsky at Civilian Art Projects

The photographs in Avi Gupta’s exhibit at Civilian Art Projects tend to be domestic in nature – images taken in bedrooms, living rooms and back yards. But their lack of specificity lends a sense of universality.

Gupta, a D.C.-based photographer, has a special affinity for creased fabrics. He offers depictions of unmade beds, draped shirts, and an oddly circular, balled-up red sheet resting on a chair as if it were a sculpture on a pedestal (middle right).

One particularly impressive example is a five-part, black-and-white series featuring washed-out portrayals of wadded-up Kleenexes. (Cheekily, Gupta dubs the series “daily paper.”)

Taking a page from William Eggleston, Gupta finds the sublime in the humble – a spider dangling from a curtain rod, or a plastic cup delicately caught between fencing and a curb. But none of Gupta’s images are as haunting as the roadkill busting out of a torn plastic bag that has been tossed to the curb (top), with a pair of red lights in the distance adding to the unease, suggesting a ghostly wolf on the prowl.

Also showing: Judy Jashinsky’s obsessive, decades-long exploration of the Cuban missile crisis, which occurred 50 years ago last month. Paintings of the key players’ faces (John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro) are too familiar to prompt a visceral reaction; more intriguing are her portrayals of tangential aspects of the crisis, from a monumental painting of the stormy Caribbean (below) to vignettes of Washington figures such as alleged JFK mistress Mary Pinchot Meyer (middle left) to a depiction of the phases of the moon for each of the 13 nights of the crisis.

Through Dec. 1 at Civilian Art Projects, 1019 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C. , Wed-Thur-Sat 1-6 pm

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