City Paper is not for tourists
The exhibit “Sub-Text” might as well have been called “Textbook”—photography surveys don’t come any more straightforward than this. The evidence of spotty printing lingers like a haze over Caitlin Philips’ languid self-portraits, which are heavy with references to life in the South: sundresses, hair rollers, tea pitchers, malaise, disrepair. Thematically and technically, her romanticized pictures are Polaroids writ large; unfortunately, the results are all too common in Southern photography. Sarah Wilmer also examines the personal sublime, finding a comfortable spot between mysterious and twee with portraits of a fierce-eyed model as she peers through windows and doors in what appears to be an empty home (pictured). Lindsey McCracken eschews people, focusing instead on their effects on the planet. Her digitally manipulated, outré landscapes depict a fantastical world set in the wake of global environmental collapse. In Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum, a trio of abandoned viaduct arches, arranged haphazardly in a field, hints at a sudden depopulation; specks of light fall from a cloudless sky like cosmic acid rain. When McCracken keeps it simple—as with The Single Sea of Centuries, a shot of the aurora borealis dawning over an exposed landfill—she captures the thrilling visuals that are key to a sci-fi apocalypse. The highlight of the show is Alejandra Laviada’s stern “Juarez #56” series, shot in an office building slated for demolition. Sculpture followers will recognize her post-minimalist stacks of commercial objects and references to modernist sculpture abound; her photography adds a documentarian dimension to her sculptural projections. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Sept. 8, at Randall Scott Gallery, 1326 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 332-0806.