- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 14, 2002

Washington's art scene in December usually is Dullsville, but this year is different. Museums are carrying their major exhibits through Christmas, many commercial galleries are offering excellent showings, and several alternative spaces are presenting intriguing surprises.
The range of exhibits at galleries is as impressive as the displays. Glass artist Graham Caldwell has taken over Addison/Ripley Fine Art in Georgetown. He makes sculptures of blown glass on meticulously crafted metal supports. Some of the glass forms fall like water-filled drops from the "arms" of a metal armature. Others hold translucent blue, red and brown glass "pockets." The scale climbs from small to multilayered and monumental. Mr. Caldwell says he wants to show the interconnection of the organic and mechanical by using glass and metal. The appeal is deliciously sensual.
Across town on Seventh Street NW, installation photographer Shimon Attie investigates the relations of past and present at the Numark Gallery. In his "Sites Unseen," one of the "sites" is the Jewish quarter of the former East Berlin. Mr. Attie found 1920s and 1930s archival pictures of the area and projected them onto their counterparts of today. The results are effective evocations of important past eras and people.
The always popular exhibits of photography continue at G Fine Art in Georgetown and Fraser Gallery in Bethesda. San Francisco photographer Todd Hido uses surrealist plays of light and darkness to shoot ordinary houses and neighborhoods. He fills his nocturnal scenes with intimations of opposites, such as inside and out, presence and absence, darkness and light, private and public. The darkness surrounding a house heightens the effect of light that radiates from within. If you miss the show, you can see his work next month as part of the "Homeland" exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art's Hemicycle Gallery.
Catriona Fraser, who runs the Fraser Gallery and also makes remarkable photographs, shows "Seven Celtic Nations: Part 1 Scotland." She regularly returns to her native Scotland to shoot with infrared film for the haunting, mystical light she achieves.
Her husband, F. Lennox Campello, shows "Passion for Frida" at the couple's Georgetown Gallery on 31st Street NW. In 1975, as a 19-year-old art student, Mr. Campello visited Mexico City and became obsessed with Kahlo's persona and work. The exhibit chronicles 27 years of Mr. Campello's work about her.
Paintings done in oil are always popular, as are Peter Waddell's surrealist images of historic Washington at Anton Gallery on R Street NW and Robert Johnson's more straightforward realist paintings of landscapes, still lifes and flowers on view through today at Atlantic Gallery on Thomas Jefferson Street NW. This may be the last chance to see Mr. Waddell's extraordinary work for a while. Anton closes Jan. 31 after 20 years in business.

Sherry Zvares Sanabria's "Echoes of Memory" at the American Institute of Architects on New York Avenue NW leads the parade of excellent art shows at Washington's alternative spaces. Born, raised and educated in Washington, Ms. Sanabria is one of those artists who would have succeeded anywhere. She paints interiors and facades of old buildings here, in the Middle East and in Europe. The painter intimates the spiritual lives of people who have lived in these structures through evocative light hitting geometrized spaces. Ms. Sanabria says she wants viewers to enter her paintings and discover their mystery.
The IDB Cultural Center at 13th Street and New York Avenue NW organized the First Latin American and Caribbean Video Art Competition and Exhibit in Washington. The show is made up of 53 videos of fewer than five minutes each, chosen from among 235 entries from 21 countries.
Felix Angel, curator and general coordinator of the cultural center, says, "The strength of the exhibition lies with those video artists who were able to interpret particular issues affecting their countries and who reflect, in their personal ways, the social and economic realities." The show runs through Jan. 17, then begins an international tour.
Janos Enyedi's visual survey of the rise and fall of America's manufacturing industry "Working Spaces Working Places, Images of the American Industrial Landscape" is on view at the AFL-CIO headquarters on 16th Street NW. Mr. Enyedi, a former member of the Graphic Communications International Union, documented the American industrial landscape during the past 25 years to illustrate the disappearance of landscape and manufacturing jobs.
"These works are meant to be celebrations of the workplace and to serve as reminders that things we use every day things we need are produced here. Lives are invested in the workplace," the artist says.
An important, long-standing alternative space is DCAC on 18th Street NW, which is showing "Paper, the Hand of F. Steven Kijek" through Jan. 12. The artist wants to show his love of manipulating, transforming and finding magic in the paper medium.
Corporations also have jumped into the arts act. Micheline Frank created "Leaves From Ovid" what she calls a "re-imaging of Ovid's ancient stories of transformation in 'Metamorphoses' " for Washington Gas' windows at 1100 H St. NW. "Artists in Our Midst," a partnership between Washington Gas and Project BRASAS, sponsors the show. Project BRASAS is an alternative organization that presents quality artwork in nontraditional settings.
Juan Bernal focuses on the geometric patterns of nature fragments of leaves, branches and plants in his "Fragmentos" exhibit of paintings, etchings and photographs. He's exhibiting at the American Association for the Advancement of Science at 12th Street and New York Avenue NW through Feb. 28.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on Independence Avenue SW continues its landmark exhibit "The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes From South India" through March 9. The museum also is showing "Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints From the Anne van Biema Collection" through Jan. 19.
The National Gallery of Art, at Constitution Avenue and Fourth Street NW, recently opened "Drawing on America's Past: Folk Art, Modernism and the Index of American Design," an exhibit of 80 stunning watercolors documenting Americana images from this country's past. They're juxtaposed with 40 of the original examples.
The museum also shows the collection of one of Washington's greatest artists, scholars, curators, printmakers and collectors, the late Jacob Kainen. The display, "An Artist's Artists: Jacob Kainen's Collection From Rembrandt to David Smith," shows the range and quality of his taste. The museum's newly renovated West Building Sculpture Galleries are a continuing hit.
At the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at Independence Avenue and Seventh Street NW, "Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera, 1962-1972," about a loosely knit avant-garde Italian movement of the 1950s, is on view through Jan. 20.
The Textile Museum on S Street NW exhibits its sensational "Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets," a display of 50 Turkish carpets from the 15th through 19th centuries, through Feb. 16.
Not to be missed, despite the drive and wintry weather, is "Painted Prints: The Revelation of Color in Northern Renaissance and Baroque Engravings, Etchings & Woodcuts" at the Baltimore Museum of Art on Art Museum Drive. It was believed, until this exhibition, that most prints by Durer, Matham, Mack and others were exclusively in black and white. The show demonstrates that those artists also favored color.

WHAT: Exhibitions of galleries, alternative spaces and museums
WHERE: Washington area and Baltimore
WHEN: Month of December
TICKETS: Free

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