Though Polish-born German painter Justine Otto looks to the cosmos when she needs to name a new exhibition, she doesn’t focus her work on planetary behavior. Surreal and slightly disturbing in nature, the kaleidoscopic works displayed in Otto’s “Hyder Flares” show at the Goethe-Institut captivate with bright colors and distorted figures. Observation becomes a key part of this show: The painting “Milchmädchen” features a girl literally stretching out her eyeballs toward a fixed point, leaving viewers feeling like they’re being watched by a two-dimensional canvas. In the scene painting “Fourth Corner” (pictured), a mother sits on her bed, staring off into nothingness while her children, who look like the product of a thalidomide overdose, watch over her shoulder. Just in case you feel like you’re not being watched closely enough, individual paintings of eyeballs are also on view. The exhibition is on view Mondays through Thursdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 289-1200. washington.goethe.org.