The 12 images in “City of Trees,” Allen Russ’ exhibit of photographs at the Carroll Square Gallery, are both elevated by and hemmed in by their subject, the arboreal resources of the National Mall. Russ’ photos, many in dyptich and triptych and some as wide as 10 feet, offer both impressive detail and a soothing palette of purples, blues, and pinks. But they’re also somewhat claustrophobic, limited as they are to, well, trees on the National Mall. Not every tree is inherently interesting, and many of those that are–especially cherry blossoms, swaying out of focus in the breeze—are overly familiar. The most pleasing images are those that wouldn’t immediately look at home on a lobbying firm’s wall–two photographs (“Mulberry 1” and “Mulberry 2”) that deconstruct the mall to its broadest, most elemental forms and painstakingly communicate the gradual dark-to-light shadings of an inscrutable sky.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 8 A.M. TO 6 P.M. MONDAY TO FRIDAY AT CARROLL SQUARE GALLERY, 975 F ST. NW. FREE. (202) 624-8643.