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Irvine Contemporary’s exhibit “On/Off the Grid” might as well be called “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Progress.” The stated link between the show’s nine artists is that they “work with—and against—the concepts of grids, networks, architecture and abstract systems.” True enough, but for several of the most intriguing artists, that translates into muscle- and nerve-testing exercises in monotonous, very, very small-scale drawing. D.C.’s own Linn Meyers continues her impressive run of drawing freehand ink lines into mesmerizing patterns, in one instance painstakingly filling an 87-by-92.5-inch piece of Mylar. Tadashi Moriyama offers two pieces with circularly repeating figures that look like buildings; if you look really closely, you can see these forms are made up of hand-cripplingly small lines and dots. Adam Fowler’s hand-cut paper adds a third dimension, with forms that alternately come out looking like dried pasta, handmade fiber paper, or a dirty air-conditioning filter. Then there’s D.C. artist Molly Springfield, who copies, in medieval monk fashion, patent documents filed by Google. It’s part of a series “based on texts, particularly those that reveal visionary moments in the history of how we experience, organize, and reproduce information.” Such pieces are less visually bracing than others in the show, but her concept is meaty enough to make up for it.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 11 A.M. TO 6 P.M. TUESDAY TO SATURDAY TO MARCH 20 AT IRVINE CONTEMPORARY, 1412 14th ST. NW. FREE. (202) 332-8767.