We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Lawrence Gipe has made a career out of performing a clever parlor trick of context: He presents ordinary images of planes and trains, and then, voilà! They become something entirely different when he reveals that his inspiration is archival photos used in war propaganda. The silhouette of a plane on a runway reminiscent of Casablanca turns deadly; the trains chugging out of a city hold prisoners destined for concentration camps. Gipe’s latest show at the Randall Scott Gallery spans the 20th century to include the Hindenberg disaster, postwar Jewish immigration to Palestine, Turkish calvarymen returning to their home, and people lined up to see Lenin’s tomb, adding an alternate meaning to the departures of the show’s title. The only hitch is that Gipe copies this latest set of images perhaps too deftly. Though he aims to remove the images from their politically charged pasts, many of the photos he has chosen are unable to make the split. Recruit No. 1, an image of a soldier before railroad tracks, is a wartime picture with an obvious source, as is Confluence No. 4, which depicts a perfect blond-haired, blue-eyed woman above a locomotive billowing smoke. No image in the series depicts impending disaster quite as well as Panel No. 4 (New York, 1937) where the Hindenburg fills the painting, dwarfing the skyscrapers below. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, March 1, at Randall Scott Gallery, 1326 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 332-0806.