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to nov. 9
“Good Cop/Bad Cop” pits Daniel Davidson against Tricia Keightley, both West Coast–trained painters now living in Brooklyn. Living together, in fact; the two are husband and wife, which helps to explain why so much of the same fleshtone acrylic appears in their works. But the shared supplies are where the similarities end. Davidson’s ground-floor watercolors and acrylics showcase the juvenile and grotesque. Alphabet of Hard Kocks, an oversize mixed-media piece that makes good use of the vertical breezeway between floors, features a singsong word-balloon tree painted over collaged paper, drawings, and found print materials (including sheet music, ads, and a listing for his own show). Puerile Rhymes reveals a MAD Magazine–esque bent; this impishness extends to Davidson’s technique in a series of “mirror” watercolors, in which he paints one half of a (grotesque) portrait before folding the page to impress the other half. Technique-wise, Davidson is unimpeachable, but his jokes often fall flat: They’re not half as cutting, witty, or bawdy as the artist intends (Scarecrow is pictured). If Davidson is the bad cop, Keightley’s the good one. She couples art-nouveau illustration (strongly recalling Victor Horta’s Hôtel Tassel) with free-form architectural piping. To this core marking system, she adds design elements that resemble wind chimes, crests, antennae, ladders, and alien ornaments. Her palette is heavily weighted toward one assortment of lavenders—not a flaw, exactly, since these stark pastels are rarely so credibly balanced but a limitation to a strong series that otherwise offers variation in plenty. The good, the bad, and the ugly are on display from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, to Thursday, Nov. 9, at Project 4 Gallery, 903 U St. NW. Free. (202) 232-4340. (Kriston Capps)