By Stephen Greenberg
"Holy Cross at Night"; Credit: Stephen Greenberg

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Stephen Greenberg’s Listening to the Silence is a profoundly personal exhibit, a combination of photographs and written verse that grapples with the death of the artist’s wife, who died from cancer in December 2021. In his artist’s statement, Greenberg explains he seeks to differentiate between history—the “official” account of the world—and memory, “made up of the signposts and benchmarks we find or make for ourselves.” Tracing this dichotomy, the photographs, on view at Photoworks in Glen Echo Park, alternate between hospital scenes, each taken within 30 miles of Washington, and war memorials, each located within 75 miles. Greenberg’s black-and-white images are precise, clear enough to enable viewers to read the fine print on papers on the hospital walls and the inscriptions on the stone monuments. The hospital photographs are as claustrophobic as the monument pictures are expansive, such as the pyramidal marker under a gently leaning tree and a wide-open sky. One moody image features raindrops collecting on a window, with the parking lot beyond only dimly visible. At the exhibit’s close, the parallel journeys both end poignantly yet divergently at cemeteries: One image shows an orderly sweep of headstones, evenly spaced, while the other shows a pair of square studs with only numbers on them.

Stephen Greenberg’s Listening to the Silence runs through March 5 at Photoworks at Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 7 p.m. Free.