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The works in Peter Karp’s retrospective at the Studio Gallery tend to fall into three categories—photographs, flat mixed-media assemblages, and three-dimensional box assemblages—and each is relatively successful. Of the flat assemblages by Karp, a former World Bank executive who took up art as a second career, a series of images of a decaying painting outside an old East German building, previously seen at Studio, continues to impress, particularly the one in which black-and-white and color versions are woven together, strip by strip. The best box assemblages utilize clever layering (a delicate twig loosely sandwiched between glass and paper, shown) or geometric resonance (an homage to suprematism in black and white, with a standout splash of red paint on one side of a small cube). Karp’s straight photographs are the most consistently interesting, depicting a praying mantis trapped under a fine wire screen, an aerial view of a Northern Virginia cul-de-sac development covered by snow, and a peeling wall in D.C. depicted in eerily unrelenting light—an image that pays homage to the flat depictions of Minor White and Aaron Siskind.
The show is on view 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays–Fridays, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays to Feb. 23 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. Free. (202) 232-8734. studiogallerydc.com.