Dream-Like Landscapes Offer a Dramatic View of Wilderness in Pete McCutchen’s “Pattern+Texture” Exhibit

Alexandria, VA—Photographer Pete McCutchen captures mesmerizing patterns found in rock, ice, and sand, transforming natural scenery into abstract, alternate realities. Presented in monochrome and printed on metallic paper, McCutchen’s photographs bewitch the eye with their ability to evoke two-dimensional patterns; jagged rocks become houndstooth; sand dunes pose as pinstripes. McCutchen’s Pattern + Texture will be on view at The Art League gallery from November 7—December 2, 2018.

Exhibit dates: November 7–December 2, 2018

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 8, 6:30–8:00 pm

The photographs’ locations are ambiguous and dream-like; so deft is McCutchen’s ability to de-contextualize their true identity. The photographs were taken at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, The Great Sand Dunes National Park, and the Alaskan wilderness, yet they suggest scenes of fantasy, from under-sea landscapes to maps of intergalactic topography. In his series captured at The Great Sand Dunes National Park, the subtle tonalities in the sand evoke the soft charcoal strokes of an old master drawing, while the photographs of craggy Alaskan crevices render a glacier’s icy geometry in stark black and white.

In Division Arc, McCutchen has captured a dramatic confluence of sands, as one dune’s smooth basin meets the rippled, wind-blown ridges of its neighbor, forming a crescent-shaped division. In contrast to the graceful monochrome spectrum in Division Arc, a black streak whips through the vivid white ground in HTG like a lasso, creating a fractured horizon line.

McCutchen hopes to pique the imagination of his viewers. “I want them to leave with questions…there’s purposeful ambiguity to the images.”

McCutchen, who is lauded for his color photography, remarks that he choose to present these photographs in black and white because “in this body of work, what’s cool is the pattern and texture, and that doesn’t involve color.”


105 North Union Street

Studio 21

(located in the Torpedo Factory Art Center)

Alexandria, VA 22314


Information: or 703-683-1780


Gallery Hours:

Daily, 10:00 am–6:00 pm

Open Thursdays until 9:00 pm

Sundays, 12:00 noon–6:00 pm


*The Torpedo Factory may close at 5:00 pm for events. Please check Today’s Hours to see if this affects your visit.


Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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