Jenn Figg and Tricia Keightley aren’t just linked by their blend of environmental and industrial inspiration, in which the branches of a tree are akin to a lever on a mysterious contraption. They’re also linked by something far more frustrating. For two artists who are all about building devices—whether in 2-D, like Keightley’s imaginary machines, or in 3-D, like Figg’s ladders and swings made of branches—the defining characteristics of these devices are their useless fragility. Literally, either could snap like a twig. The show is a blend of three aesthetics: Keightley’s paintings are space-age and steampunk all at once in their complicated dysfunction and Jetsons color scheme, while Figg’s neon-painted branches bring a crafty vibe into the fold. They stand out especially against Project 4’s glass cube, where a fragile wooden ladder stretches up toward a skylight as though it were an escape hatch—but thanks to the delicate curlicues of branches, one that can never provide escape.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW NOON TO 6 P.M. WEDNESDAY TO SATURDAY TO MAY 29 AT PROJECT 4, 1353 U ST. NW. FREE. (202) 232-4340.