In a city that immortalizes our country’s most meaningful historical moments in stone, here is a show that elevates the banal into monuments of exquisitely carved marble. Banal to us, that is. The beautiful, trompe l’oeil statues of everyday items by Sebastian Martorano must be stand-ins for great moments in the artist’s life—or at least, that’s what the show’s title, “Uncommissioned Memorials,” invites us to imagine. Is the towel rack of Yours, Mine & Ours a marble homage to a great love? Is a stack of computer paper, one piece crumpled into a ball, meant to suggest Martorano’s struggles and achievements? Memorializing something in a photo or a painting gives it meaning, but carving it from a medium as permanent as stone adds even more weight. Which raises a question: What if the marble piece of paper is meant to be nothing more than it appears?
THE EXHIBITION is ON VIEW TUESDAY TO SATURDAY 11 A.M. TO 6 P.M. TO FEB. 6 AT IRVINE CONTEMPORARY, 11412 14TH ST. NW. FREE. (202) 332-8767.