There are also two interactive pieces, one of which is a Scrabble-like board on which participants can position acrylic tiles decorated with a single blue squiggle. The pseudo-game is literally a myriorama, an image made up of interchangeable parts that can be arranged in a variety of ways.
Some of the symbolless symbols on the acrylic tiles resemble Japanese hiragana. This is probably a coincidence, but the scribbles of what Fitzpatrick’s statement calls “my own sign system” evoke the experience of encountering an unfamiliar language. Visiting her show is like walking through an unfamiliar city, whose banners, placards and logos are both enticing and confusing.
The lyrics in Wesley Clark’s “Are We There Yet” are in English, but layered so densely that they are barely legible. The artist’s exuberant exhibition at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center consists of pencil drawings and a few lithographic prints, all abstract, black and white, and intentionally chaotic and overloaded.
Clark, who recently completed a residency at Pyramid Atlantic, is known for sculptures that combine and rework found objects, mostly in wood. One of his most important creations is “My Big Black America,” which assembles hundreds of salvaged boards and branches into an outline of the contiguous United States. The same national form appears in this exhibition, composed not of pieces of wood but of smeared, overlapping graphite gestures. More common, however, are rough-edged rectangles composed of bold pencil strokes and dynamic cross-hatching, sometimes whitened by etching and abrasion. Subtraction can be as central to Clark’s drawings as addition.
A single word like “determined” or “control” occasionally emerges from the jumble of built-up and worn-out traces of graphite. Significantly, however, the print entitled ‘A Life of Effort’ is a black block whose individual strokes can only be discerned where they protrude beyond the rectangular boundary. In Clark’s symbolic writing system, certain words and phrases fit into the overwhelming whole.
Kate Fitzpatrick: There is no anagram for the word anagram Until July 31 at IA&A at Hillyer, 9 Hillyer Ct. NW.
Wesley Clark: Are we there yet Until July 31 at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville.
The photographic portraits of African-American schoolchildren in Blu Murphy’s Target Gallery exhibit have two notable visual characteristics: they often obscure the subjects’ faces, and their crisp black-and-white images are dotted with brightly colored painted accents that transcend the recycled frames and the walls spatter on them. This strategy is both graphically compelling and thematically poignant, as the show’s title “Le Drip: The Uncontainable Sauce of Black Essence” suggests.
Brandy “Blu” Murphy is a DC artist who teaches at a school in the city’s southeast quadrant. She commissioned her students to take these celebratory pictures, most of which feature teens whose clothing has a tag or button that reads “I Am Art.” The overpainting, bright and direct and in a single color or color family, reinforces the sense of youthful exuberance.
But youthful vitality is only the contemporary part of the story. The main subjects are often joined by others, sometimes other children, but just as often characters from black history. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and pioneering 6-year-old school integrator Ruby Bridges are among the advocates of racial justice who appear in the background and around the edges of the collaged photo paintings. Murphy’s vivid tributes to Black Essence are rooted in painful history and extraordinary courage.
Blu Murphy: Le Drip: The Uncontainable Sauce of Black Essence Until July 17 at target galleryTorpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria.
The title of Tom Sliter’s Multiple Exposures Gallery Show, Cold Warriors, pays tribute to the subject of his elegant black-and-white photographs: American military aircraft of the mid-20th century. However, the images themselves are often less clear. These high-contrast close-ups, all but one open-air shot, can be elegantly aerodynamic or tightly geometric. Some of them convey little more than curves of shimmering white on an inky black background.
The photographs, taken at the Castle Air Museum in California, the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona, and elsewhere, appear more futuristic than at least some of their subjects. Several images show propellers that predate the older aircraft to the jet age. The photos were taken from the ground and some of them show vehicles that are no longer airworthy.
In an email, Sliter noted that he would have liked to see the planes in the air. But his photos show the objects less as flying machines than as art objects, prefabricated sculptures that are characterized by rounded contours and reflective surfaces. The photographer contrasts these image elements with dramatic skies, mostly dark but interspersed with backlit clouds and, in one case, what appears to be a low-hanging moon. While pilots must perform split-second maneuvers without wasting time, Sliter patiently waited for just the right moment to capture a shot that ideally juxtaposed metal and sky.
Tom Sliter: Cold Warriors Until July 24 at Multiple exposure galleryTorpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2022/07/08/art-gallery-shows-dc-area/ Where to see exhibits at art galleries in the Washington area