City Paper is not for tourists
If Sarah Wilmer were to tell a bedtime story, it would most certainly be of the “Once upon a time and far, far away” variety. Her mysterious forests and dramatic skies are suitable for trails of breadcrumbs and big, bad wolves—the “happily ever after,” though, seems out of reach. The fantasy-filled tableaus of Wilmer, a photographer based in Brooklyn, involve witchy, cloaked figures, black cats, and a feather-collecting sprite. Though she takes many of her shots in New York City, she is able to evade the city lights and trappings of modernity to find lush greenery and unspoiled woods for “Untitled Photographs,” her enchanting fable presented at Randall Scott Gallery. Fashion photographs seem to influence a few of Wilmer’s shots. One, “Untitled (Ilona),” shows a pretty face done up in false eyelashes against a rain-streaked window, while another, “Untitled (Feather Bag),” depicts a nymphlike brunette plucking feathers from the ground, with the photographer’s attention on her perfect hands and jaw. Cats, the kind that would hang around witches’ cauldrons, make appearances in two photos. Wilmer said she’s inspired by the stories of her subjects, like a friend’s grandmother she photographed in Florida for “Untitled (Vella)” who dons a homemade bonnet and has eyes the palest shade of blue. But even though Vella regaled Wilmer with stories of her European girlhood and immigration to America, she may as well have been from a far away storybook kingdom: Old Mother Hubbard or the little old lady who lived in a shoe. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, July 5, at Randall Scott Gallery, 1326 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 332-0806.