There’s a pretty easy way to distinguish the best works in “The Structure of Spirit, Design of the Heart,” a sprawling exhibit at the American Institute of Architects by longtime Washington photographer Kenneth M. Wyner. If you see any furniture, office space, or interior decoration, move on. But if you see landscapes or abstractions, linger. In one image, Wyner’s quirky, kaleidoscopic approach transforms a skylight with blond wood beams into a circular, propeller-like form. In others, he turns the unlikeliest of subjects—the National Archives, the Filene Center at Wolf Trap—into brooding, abstract works that suggest Batman and X-Men movie posters. Wyner’s choice of materials is key: Some pieces are printed on translucent fabric, while others use brushed aluminum. The latter offers a stunning base for his fine-grained images—dreamy cirrus clouds drifting over a local synagogue, or a moody nocturne of Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, with silky, waterborne reflections of skyscrapers. Wyner’s pièce de résistance is a large-scale, circular image of New York City’s built environment (pictured), a highly detailed yet fantastical demimonde that seems straight out of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
The exhibit is on view 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays to Oct. 28 at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Ave. NW. Free.