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21.1.09

There's Art In D.C. Too!

With all eyes on the Presidential Inauguration this week, some of the best views are in the form of special exhibits in the museums and galleries. I'm a crowd avoider, so I stick to the side streets, far from the Mall.

The best grouping of galleries in Washington seems to be on 14th Street, where Jason Hughes's new work, Manifest, part of a three-artist show called Lucid Dreaming at Curator's Office, is a mesmerizing beauty. It offers up luscious hues of green, churning with graphic symbolism; but beware of the unknown.

Symbolism built on a foundation of fear, violence, and intimidation -- that is how one might describe Al Farrow's haunting, fortresses of worship at Irvine Contemporary. These sculptures are meticulously constructed of tarnished brass bullet casings, supported by a structure of handguns, and the walls covered by a haunting stucco of shotgun pellets. It is also mesmerizing, but -- extremely intimidating.

For a lighter, airier exhibit -- literally -- there's Etsuko Ichikawa's swirling drawings at Randall Scott Gallery. Ichikawa uses a glassblower's rod with molten glass to "draw" free-form imagery on sheets of rag paper -- quite nice. I'd love to see the flamers.

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