On the Green Line

Artomatic 2009 once again takes place in an unbuilt-out office building, this time a new structure atop the enlarged Navy Yard Metro station. There’s a certain regularity to the eight-floor exhibition space, and we miss the rough-and-tumble of some of the funkier spaces in years gone by.

But the art keeps getting better, year over year. Representation by artists outside the immediate metro area continues to grow, especially artists from Sunderland in the U.K. There are many good photographers working with D.C. as their subject, coming from just as many perspectives. A standout is Angela Kleis, who showed “…There’s been a terrible accident,” high-angle images of a dead body lying artfully posed in the setting of various local landmarks.

Yes, there are a number of immature pieces in the show, some of them rather naively priced. But then there is a set of three accomplished abstractions on canvas by Jacqui Crocetta; or consider the lightly textured sculptures of heads by Anthony J. Ouellette. I generally don’t pause for video work, but Tracey Salaway’s “Seed Heads” caught me up short. It’s a long tracking shot through a patch of weeds, a beetle’s-eye-view of a dandelion in which its globe of seeds fills the screen.