How much more of a loaded symbol could Maria Friberg have chosen in 2010 than the automobile? Cars, lately, have been emblematic of the American Dream taking a detour—of corporate malfeasance, of laziness, of failure, of the loss of control. Friberg’s two Transmission works show the undersides of vehicles against a clear blue sky, so we see the cars as a mechanic, and not a salesman, might. Friberg’s cars are juxtaposed with ethereal images of men lounging in trees, which make the cars’ dark undersides appear even more foreboding—an environmental admonition set against the vehicles’ oil- and exhaust-covered innards. It’s not Friberg’s fault that the connection between man and nature explored in these works takes a backseat to cars themselves—blame Toyota. In the video Transmission, a car moves through the screen, and it’s hard not to think of it as accelarating to its doom, even as we consider the car’s, and not the driver’s, point of view.

THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 10 A.M. TO 5 P.M. TUESDAY TO SATURDAY TO MAY 8 AT CONNER CONTEMPORARY ART, 1358–60 FLORIDA AVE. NE. FREE. (202) 588-8750.