Arts Desk

Reviewed: “Everyware” at Project 4 Gallery

Project 4 circleThe three artists featured in Project 4 Gallery’s “Everyware” exhibition operate on the frontiers of digital photography and social media, but their inspiration comes from the past as much as it does from the present and the future.

Aaron Cahill, William Deegan, and Lynette Jackson create “handheld digital art” by manipulating architectural and landscape photography, then sharing it with hundreds of followers in their social media networks. The gallery displays the digital works somewhat oddly, using only wall-mounted prints (and affixing some of them far from eye level). But many of the images are eye-catching.

The three artists’ works are complementary, but not identical.

Cahill tends to layer geometric shapes over landscapes—a naturalistic image of a high-tension power line encircled by a bold halo of light, for instance, or a bright red, geometric slash of color superimposed over a woodsy scene.

Deegan is drawn to head-on views of narrow, minimalist skyscrapers. The building appears to be the same Mies van der Rohe-style edifice in multiple works (it’s hard to tell for sure) but Deegan pulls a Monet by Project 4 constructivistportraying it in all sorts of atmospheric conditions, whether actual or manipulated—a thick fog, a moody nocturne, hazy sunshine (bottom).

Jackson, for her part, jazzes up black-and-white images of mid-century architectural forms by hijacking the bold oranges, beiges and reds—as well as the design tricks—of the early 20th century constructivists (middle).

Jackson’s images, like Cahill’s and Deegan’s, tend to be complex—sometimes needlessly so. Indeed, some of the most winning works in the show are the unfussiest. In one, Cahill offers a satisfying, vintage-looking sea-and-skyscape in a circular format, lightly defaced by a thicket of thin, parallel lines (top). In another, he winkingly places a western landscape within a bison, rather than the other way around.

On view Wednesdays through Saturdays noon to 6 p.m., to Aug. 16 at Project 4 Gallery, 1353 U St. NW. 

Project 4 building

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