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From a distance, the decay that permeates Olivia Rodriguez’s art at Curator’s Offfice isn’t always obvious. To get the full effect of the rot, you have to squint. Rodriguez creates small sculptures and tableaux dominated by mushrooms, lichens, and branches, using a palette of dark browns, beiges, and rust reds. The closer you look, the clearer the drivers of decomposition become—flies with delicately crafted legs and wings, white worms with nearly translucent surfaces, and the daintiest slugs you’ve ever seen. Rodriguez’s works look realistic at first, but there are occasional, subtle reminders of their artificiality: patches of exposed gray material, for instance, or a small hole that reveals metallic insulation. Some of the 17 works are repetitive, but several stand out, like an homage to Claes Oldenburg that features a fake hamburger topped with ketchup, pickles, and flies, and a branch draped with insect-ensnaring goo. But the most impressive works are the spindly mushrooms attached delicately to the wall (shown), defying gravity with an unexpected lightness—eloquent, paradoxical grace notes of deterioration and disintegration.
The exhibition is on view noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays through August 4 at Curator’s Office, 1515 14th St. NW, Suite 201. Free. curatorsoffice.com. (202) 387-1008.