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“Raising Dust” at the Carroll Square Gallery spotlights five artists whose works incorporate clay, but none of the five artists is content to simply turn clay into pottery. For each of them, clay or dirt is a starting point, not an end in itself. The show’s standout is Margaret Boozer, whose core sampling of downtown D.C. soil and rock at Flashpoint was one of the most intriguing exhibits of 2011. Even more than this show’s other artists, Boozer seems obsessed with dirt; she founded Red Dirt Studio in Mount Rainier, Md., and reportedly enjoys going to quarries and other sites to seek out earth with notable artistic qualities. Such eccentric interests pay off in a 25-by-37-inch book featuring photographs of soil (shown) that range in tone from gold to amethyst, and in textures that run the gamut from granular to delicately cracked. None of Boozer’s individual images is uniquely impressive, but viewed as a whole, they have an intellectual and visual coherence that exceeds the sum of their parts.
The exhibit is on view Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., to Aug. 23 at Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-7978.