"In the galleries: A colorful survey of Washington artists" by Mark Jenkins

"In the galleries: A colorful survey of Washington artists" by Mark Jenkins

an excerpt from the article...

Few people want to be entirely unknown, but in a society that turns personal identity into market data, anonymity can be a good thing. Kyle Tata plays on that tension in “Secure Patterns,” on display at Hamiltonian Gallery alongside fellow Baltimorean Rachel Guardiola’s “Transmission From Terra Incognita.”

Tata’s photographs distort real-world images, in part by overlaying patterns from envelopes designed to cloak their contents — an analog form of encryption. The artist doesn’t use computer manipulation, only old-school photo techniques such as double exposure. He sometimes adds another layer of repeated forms on laser-etched clear plastic sheets atop the photos, which have bold colors and deep blacks. The full visual information lurks just out of reach, like stones under rippling water.

Conceived while she was living near the Arctic Circle, Guardiola’s installation is a vision of Eden that, unsurprisingly, has a tropical vibe. Behind a wall covered with people’s descriptions of the ideal locale, the artist has arranged plants, sand, stones and other objects, bathed in colored light. Surf breaks gently on a beach in projected video, and sounds of wind, water and birds provide the ambient soundtrack. This isn’t quite “Terra Incognita,” of course; all of the elements are familiar. But then, a world that was truly unrecognizable would be too strange to be paradisiacal.

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