Where to see art gallery shows in the Washington region

“We make the future greener.” This slogan would be more compelling if printed somewhere other than photographer Todd R. Forsgren: on a plastic bag floating in the ocean. Images of it and 44 similar bags, many of which say flimsy “thank you,” are arranged in a grid in the artist’s “A Field Guide to Pelagic Plastic Bags.” The series is among the standout results of Approaching Event Horizons: Projects on Climate Change. The Mason Exhibitions Arlington Show brings together thematically related work from the Atlantica Collective, a group of artists who generally have ties to the Washington area but live elsewhere in the United States and Europe.

Most entries will include photographic images, whether still or moving. Gabriela Bulisova photographed charred forests on two rolls of film, which she then crumpled and digitally scanned, resulting in damaged images of destroyed sites. Equally powerful and panoramic are Mark Isaac’s upward-facing photographs of treetops silhouetted against a white sky. Katie Kehoe used color instead of black and white and overlaid images of areas she has a personal connection to — and which have not previously burned — with wildfires. The photos in Sue Wrbican’s “Before the Ghost” sequence are abstracted, but their bright orange swellings are reminiscent of fire, perhaps petrochemical in nature.

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Closer to home, Billy Friebele has enlisted artificial intelligence and a two-part video rig to explore the Anacostia River. The resulting photos and video – one of which is displayed on a large, low-resolution monitor in the space outside the gallery – look both above and below the waterline. The resulting AI-generated digital stills are dark and grimy, yet oddly beautiful.

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Atlantica Collective: Approaching Event Horizons: Climate Change Projects Until October 1st at Mason Exhibitions Arlington3601 Fairfax Dr., Arlington.

When the pandemic forced global photographer Matt Leedham to stay at home, he settled into a good book – one he made himself. The Virginia artist collected some of his images in a volume while learning about Asian handmade papers and European bookbinding techniques. Some of the results can be seen in “Recto/Verso”, an exhibition by Multiple Exposures Gallery, which takes its title from the front (or right) and back (or left) of a sheet of printed paper.

Several copies of the book are on display, open to pages juxtaposing such rhyming photos as Open/Closed; a rectangular cave portal revealing the sky beyond (verso); and a stone-framed door blocked by a cairn (recto). However, Leedham did not limit themselves to a single format. The show also includes photo-based scrolls, an extremely horizontal “accordion book” and several 3D “tunnel books” that allow the viewer to peer past external images to see partially hidden internal images.

Leedham doesn’t identify the locations of his photos, but the language sometimes offers a clue: Two tunnel books contain signs in Thai and Japanese, respectively. The Japanese text stands next to a row of train car windows, behind which the photographer has inserted extensive exterior scenes. The outside becomes the inside – or the back becomes the front – in Leedham’s hilariously jumbled tableaus.

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Matt Leedham: Recto/Verso, A Pandemic in Codex Until October 2nd at Multiple exposure galleryTorpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria.

Parts of Elizabeth Casqueiro’s paintings are loose and flowing, blotchy and dripping. But viewers of her exhibition at the Athenaeum might well guess that the Portuguese-born local artist trained as an architect. Casqueiro’s creations incorporate sharp, straight lines and clean, rectangular blocks, and some contain precise renderings of classic buildings or land-use plans. This architectural quality makes it compatible with the work of the venue’s other current artist, Jean Sausele-Knodt, whose 3D wall sculptures have already been discussed in this column.

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Casqueiro’s style is composed of soft and hard, line and color and color and ink. Light tones dominate, but there are also strong black shapes and areas of neutral gray and brown. Flowers appear frequently, sometimes painted, but often outlined as carefully as in a botanical guidebook. Floral shapes can also feature in more decorative schemes, mirroring fabric or wallpaper designs.

All in all, the painting-drawings are more calculated than intuitive, but the first impression they give is exactly the opposite. Close observation leads the eye from color to form and compositions that are more complicated than first meets the eye. In a way, casqueiros are images like buildings that reveal details as you enter and traverse.

Elizabeth Casqueiro Until October 2nd at the Athenaeum201 Prince St., Alexandria.

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In separate local group shows, Korean-born, US-based artists WonJung Choi and Ahree Song explore the idea of ​​transformation. Choi received top honors at this year’s Trawick Prize, the winners of which are on display in a Gallery B exhibition. Song is one of three artists featured in the Korean Cultural Center’s technology-themed series “True and False.”

Choi’s prints and drawings are something of an art historical—or art prehistoric—joke. She designed a genealogical map imagining the descendants of two artifacts unearthed in modern-day Germany that have been dated to be between 35,000 and 40,000 years old: the “Lion Man” and the “Venus of Hohle Fels”. Choi surmises that the mating of the angular lion-man and the pot-bellied Venus would have gradually led to people who look more like modern-day humans. In this scenario, the mutation leads to normality.

Song doesn’t have to guess what her evolutionary experiment would yield. Her “Contained Time” is a red bell pepper coated with urethane primer, an industrial waterproofing material, and rotted. Isolated from the air, the vegetables liquefied but retained their shape and color. The result is a plastic replica of a pepper that is also a real pepper. Contained Time is as bright and shapely as a piece of pop art, yet offers an eerie commentary on science’s ability to denature organic objects.

The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards Until October 2nd at Gallery B7700 Wisconsin Avenue, #E, Bethesda.

Right or wrong Until October 3rd at the Korean Cultural Center2370 Massachusetts Avenue NW.

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