by Louis Jacobson, Dec. 3, 2014
Manufactured Underwater Landscapes at Adamson Gallery

Adamson Gallery isn’t making a big deal out of its current landscape exhibit—the FotoWeek-inspired show isn’t even listed on the gallery’s website—but it’s a diamond in the rough, if only for three monumental works by Kim Keever, a New York-based artist with a peculiar technique.

Keever creates miniature tableaux of nature (rocks, trees, vegetation, fake snow) within a 200-gallon tank of water. He then shines colored lights and drops in fluids to mimic atmospheric elements like skies and clouds. His finished works, measuring 40 inches by 59 inches, are at once realistic and fantastical, even eerie.
Keever’s topographies, pictured at top and bottom, can easily be taken for paintings; indeed, with their bold reds, pinks and blues, they hark back more than 150 years to the luminists of the Hudson River School.

Three other familiar Adamson faces round out the exhibit. Print master Robert Longo renders a fearsome but slightly too perfect wave, while Renate Aller contributes a signature sea-and-sky-scape with a choppy, silty-beige surface. Camille Seaman, meanwhile, offers a typically stunning image of three impossibly flat icebergs in the Antarctic, along with a less familiar, but no less impressive, photograph of a dust vortex barreling over a cultivated Kansas field under an icy blue sky.
Aller and Seaman are masters of photographing what they see, while Keever creates his own material. This small exhibit suggests that the two approaches are winningly complementary.

Through the end of the year at Adamson Gallery, 1515 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 232-0707. Tue-Sat 10-5.

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