Chandi Kelley, D.B. Stovall & Pamela H. Viola
Hillyer Art Space is showing a trio of artists who work with photographic imagery. Of the three, only D.B. Stovall’s work is documentary, and the photographer’s “A Slower Way of Seeing: Photographs of the American Vernacular” is concerned with color and the everyday facades of rural and Rust Belt towns.
Stovall depicts squat older buildings and the skies that frame them. He’s drawn to saturated hues, often primary colors, which he captures impeccably with a 4-by-5 view camera and color transparency film. Often the structures’s bright reds and yellows are set off by bold blue skies. But in a photograph of a house turned tire store, only the thin red line of the building’s roof separates azure wall from equally blue heavens. Like many of Stovall’s pictures, it is homey and surreal at the same time.
Chandi Kelley’s “Unnatural Histories” offers elegant vignettes of the natural world, gently manipulated. Often, the artist gilds a found object or inserts a golden article that mimics a natural one. In one of the most striking juxtapositions, a metallic gold leaf seems to float among real green ones. Some photos hint at narrative: In “Pebble (as meteor),” a gilded stone leaves a metallic streak across a variegated rock. Kelley writes that this series seeks “to draw attention to natural beauty,” but it also shows the eternal human inclination to rearrange the universe’s random displays.
Created on a tablet computer, the work in Pamela H. Viola’s “Having a Ball” is photographic in origin, yet seems more like drawing. Printed on handmade Japanese paper, the layered collages include images of balloons and ballgames. Some of the compositions are symmetrical and others more free-form, but all are playful in both tone and style.
D.B. Stovall: A Slower Way of Seeing: Photographs of the American Vernacular
Pamela H. Viola:
Having a Ball
On view through Nov. 27 at Hillyer Art Space, 9 Hillyer Court NW; 202-338-0680; hillyerartspace.org