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TO APRIL 22
Chronicling the spread of McMansions across once-picturesque landscapes may seem like shooting fish in a barrel. Yet the photography of Anne Rowland can’t be dismissed so easily. Rowland’s interest in the topic is intensely personal: When she learned that her childhood home, an aging but functional modernist home in Northern Virginia, was slated to be torn down by its new owner so a larger one could be built, Rowland set about documenting its demise. For most images, she took a series of photographs and then digitally stitched them together to create a wide image—the artist eschews a cubist perspective for something more straightforward, though a nice panoramic camera could have done the trick instead. That said, Rowland’s photos are impressive. Some record the landscape—stately but doomed trees with spray-painted Xs on them, for instance—and the house’s exterior. But the most elegaic are those that record the inside of the house. In The Kitchen (pictured), the titular room is seen in mid-demolition—ceiling pieces tumbling onto the floor, cabinet doors askew, and motley debris strewn in the backyard beyond an open door. But even more striking are the notes Rowland has scribbled onto her finished print—Proustian labels of the things she remembers being stored in the cabinets, right down to “baking chocolate,” “marshmallows,” and “potholders.” Equally telling is the linen-closet door (both photographed and shown in real life) on which family members have marked their children’s heights in pencil, ranging from the 1950s to the 1990s—a perfect encapsulation of the meaning of family and home. The exhibition is on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, to Saturday, April 22, at Hemphill Fine Arts, 1515 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 234-5601. (Louis Jacobson)