Reviewed: Nina Dunn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company
The Shakespeare Theatre Company is exhibiting two dozen of Nina Dunn’s photographs of Europe under the conceit that “if Shakespeare had a camera, what would he have captured?” Dunn’s images range geographically from France and Italy to Greece and Romania, but they waver between gaudily overproduced and lushly appealing.
A chateau enveloped in thick clouds under an unnaturally enormous moon is needlessly showy, as is a digital collage of Athens landmarks; a Paris nocturne adds nothing we haven’t already seen from the City of Light. More interesting are images in which Dunn collapses the plane of focus—a subtle recession of brightly colored, nested doorways in St. Petersburg, Russia; a series of interconnected arches in Rome; and a riot of multicolored umbrellas compressed into proximity with bathers and ancient, carved grottoes on Italy’s Amalfi coast.
Dunn’s finest works are her most understated: an aerial image of a surprisingly regular matrix of trees in Bordeaux, accentuated by a Barnett Newman-style zip of a road, and a nearly monochromatic view of Rome’s largely empty Spanish Steps, echoing Frederick H. Evans’ famous photograph of a flight of weathered steps in England’s Wells Cathedral. Ironically, Wells Cathedral is a place that Shakespeare could have visited; it would have been a much easier hike from Stratford-Upon-Avon than any of the other sights Dunn has documented.
Through June 2 at Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street N.W.