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A Layered History: From Semitransparent to Opaque

From Washington Post
By Michael O'Sullivan
May 9, 2014  |  weblink

Dean Kessman’s photography, which has involved such alternative technology as flatbed scanners and printing at an almost architectural scale, stretches the art form’s traditional definition. The Washington artist’s previous work includes images made from scanning semitranslucent plastic shopping bags, as well as an installation of scroll--like abstractions that wrapped, frieze--like, around the walls of Connersmith Gallery.

His latest exhibition, on view at the digital print atelier Furthermore, is equally boundary pushing. Titled “A Layered History: From Semitransparent to Opaque,” the single 40--foot--wide work is a kind of humongous digital collage, made from scanning disassembled pages of H.W. Janson’s iconic textbook, “History of Art.” (First published in 1962, the tome has been revised several times and is a staple of academia.)

Like much of Kessman’s work, the piece can be read both as a picture and as a commentary on picture--making. It also serves as a subtle critique of the established art--world canon.

On Saturday, Furthermore will celebrate Kessman’s work with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. It’s in conjunction with the weekend’s open--studio event at Furthermore’s home at 52 O St. NW, in which the artists of that multistudio building open their workspaces to the public.