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Sarah Alexander’s photography makes it clear that she likes pieces better than wholes. In her hands, a portion of an intricate, textured rotunda becomes Escheresque; several levels of an oval-shaped staircase collapse into an unexpectedly flat plane; and a segment of weathered architectural detailing coexists with a perfectly undisturbed field of red. A wall covered with images of old sewing machines offers a surprising blend: a repetitive, Muybridgean matrix rendered in textures that suggest a cave painting. Meanwhile, “Reflections” (shown) turns a clichéd subject—an abstracted view of a glass façade—into a genre-bending work. By using inkjet printing techniques on canvas, the image meets the photorealistic paintings of buildings by D.C. artist Joey Manlapaz precisely halfway, and from the opposite direction. Some pieces could go deeper but Alexander’s techniques add a thought-provoking dimension to her work.
The show is on view Wednesdays–Sundays noon to 6 p.m. to March 31 at the Foundry Gallery, 1314 18th St. NW. Free.(202) 463-0203. foundrygallery.org.