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Arty Pants: “Contrasts” at Artisphere

My boyfriend and I are a study in opposites. Nowhere are our differences more apparent than when we’re looking at art. He favors contemporary art; I find myself drawn to traditional landscapes. Finding a middle ground in that contemporary landscape has proven to be a challenge.

Andrew Zimmerman’s “Contrasts” show, currently at the Artisphere in Rosslyn through November 12, may be it. If you look to art for style and substance, this show is for you. If you look to art for an escape from your daily life, this show is for you. If you look to art for a discussion of important issues, this is show is for you. This is a show for everyone.

Andrew Zimmerman

Zimmerman’s show consists of photography taken over the course of eight months spent on Colorado’s Front Range. There are 42 photographs split between summer and winter shots. He shoots with a large camera; the negatives and prints are the same size, a process and style he learned at school in Arizona.

Developing his negatives—a long and labor-intensive process—follows the same style as Ansel Adams. Due to this development process, each photograph remains unique, and Zimmerman develops no more than three prints from each negative.

The show’s title, “Contrasts,” is far from random. Zimmerman aimed to explore the way we as observers judge landscapes—particularly how much our opinions are informed by our first glances. He saw how this translates to our daily lives in the way we form our opinions of people, places and things based on first impressions. Zimmerman’s work shows how contrasts allow us to know a place, thing or person much better than any first impression. By showing the changes and differences in the same place across a period of time, this show brings the viewer beyond the simple mountain peaks and snowy ridges we typically associate with the Rocky Mountains.

Andrew Zimmerman

This show challenges the archetypal view of Colorado with its tall mountains and ski slopes. Zimmerman juxtaposes the changes between summer and winter. Highlighting the motion and light of summer and the stillness of grace of Colorado’s winter (assisted by fantastic lighting and arrangement), we’re given a nuanced and intricate view of Colorado’s gorgeous landscape. His work takes the viewer from winter’s frozen lakes and rivers to summer’s flowering trees and hidden cabins, managing to turn what could be a study of opposites instead to a more complete study of the landscape around him.

If you haven’t found the time to get to Rosslyn’s still-new Artisphere, let this show be your reason. For the aspiring art collector, all of the photographs displayed are available for $300 each. This is a steal, considering each photograph is, at most, part of a limited series of three prints. Not only would Zimmerman’s work look beautiful in any setting, his style, approach and dedication (have you ever lugged a 40-pound camera through the snow in a Colorado winter?) makes each photograph a conversation piece as well.

Andrew Zimmerman

While you’re there, be sure to stop by the bar, with its great happy hour drink and food specials, on the way up to or down from the show. It’s a large open space with lots of seating and art surrounding you. Perfect date spot, perfect exhibit, even for total art opposites.

“Contrasts” by Andrew Zimmerman
Mezzanine Gallery, Artisphere
1101 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22209

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