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wednesday

Rosamond Purcell’s exhibit “Bookworm” at Kathleen Ewing Gallery isn’t concerned with nerdy kids with glasses. It’s named after the little bugs that devour paper. Appropriately, most of the works shown have a theme of decay and destruction. Subjects in the photographs include a dilapidated former gold-processing plant, a thoroughly burned copy of Dante’s Inferno, and, of course, insect-gnawed books. Other photos, featuring found objects that aren’t as close to falling apart—including old croquet balls, Urdu graffiti, and soap from the 1920s—are so zeroed in and abstracted that at first glance they look more like paintings. Less interesting are Purcell’s collages, which lack the spontaneity and originality of her photographs. The works are arranged in an order quite different from the “exhibition checklist” you receive near the entrance, but you don’t have to be a brainiac to navigate your way around the place when the exhibition is on view from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, to Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery, 1609 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-0955. (Kim Rinehimer)

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