At the Fraser Gallery Bethesda to June 11, 2003
By Louis Jacobson
© Washington City Paper
Thursday, May 22, 2003.
Even from halfway across the plaza adjoining the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, it's hard to miss Andrzej Pluta's photographs. Ranging in size from 16 by 20 inches to a mammoth 60 by 50 inches, Pluta's works depict flowers at their most extreme.
Pluta's portrayals—in an ultra-high-contrast color palette of hyperreal reds, yellows, and pinks against a silver-white background—are oddly two-dimensional, but some renderings are subtly shaped by the use of visual distractions, such as moving water or semitextured clear plastic. Minus the screaming (and unretouched) colors, the prints bring to mind Man Ray's cameraless "rayographs" with their simple shapes—though Pluta, a Polish émigré living in Canada, has chosen not to dispense with the camera.
Pluta's photographs range from sprawling abstractions to full-frontal portraits (such as Fleur IX, whose in-your-face iris echoes the shape of a foreshortened dolphin), but perhaps his most impressive image is Two Irises (see below)—if only because its mix of purple and green is so much more understated than the rest of this extroverted flower bunch. One thing's for sure: In Pluta's universe, there's no such thing as a shrinking violet.
The show is on view from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Wednesday, June 11, at Fraser Gallery, 7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E, Bethesda. Free. (301) 718-9651. (Louis Jacobson)
© Copyright 2003 Washington City Paper