Were it not for her impressive black-and-white photography, viewers might consider Na’ama Batya Lewin to be something of a Debbie Downer.
Prefacing her exhibit at Glen Echo’s Photoworks, Lewin writes, “I stand watching them dive, jump, tumble, and splash. They are wet, giggling, and having a great time. Fabulous! But what if…. Type ‘swimming dangers’ into a Google search and 13,100,000 results appear in less than .34 seconds.”
The inky, purplish blacks of Lewin’s infrared images can—-if you let them—-communicate an ominous gloom. So too can the disembodied nature of the body parts rising out of the water: feet, hands, heads, many of them in an eerily alabaster hue.
But there are signs of happiness, too—-artful splashes of water, goggled faces—-as well as mesmerizing, light-dappled ripples on the surface. The images work best as a suite (visually, none are standouts) but image No. 18 serves as something of a fulcrum, offering a pale, submerged body becoming one with the dark water around it, as if the joy and danger had merged.
Through Feb. 23 at Photoworks at Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Md. (301) 634-2274. Sat 1-4, Sun 1-8 and when classes are in session.