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to sept. 9
Project 4 would have done well to point the limelight at a single painter for “15 Minutes,” the gallery’s first revue of recent mid-Atlantic MFA graduates. Hell, give Ivanny Pagan a whole half-hour—his contributions, drawn from a promising series of portraits of monsters, distinguish him as the best in this class. Pagan’s Aemaeth/Maeth, a two-panel oil diptych, pairs rival Terri Schiavo portraits: one done in healthy, rosy tones; the other in ghoulish grays that more accurately reflect the condition of the woman who embodied a national debate about humanity. The multiplicity of the images plays on the number of monsters that emerged during that feud, while the contrast between the paintings establishes the notion of the monster as tragic and unfortunate. His sampling also includes Ego—a 6-inch square portrait of the furious red eye that represented HAL in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey—which elaborates on Pagan’s darkly comic, almost curatorial bent but doesn’t entirely assure the viewer that he has the technical chops to pull it off. The opposite question rises for Phillip Adams, whose charcoal mash-ups of familiar figures in unfamiliar roles—Alan Greenspan, for example, hunched over a banjo like a down-on-his-luck Ralph Stanley in a piece called Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?—show competent draftsmanship but lack substance. Unfortunately, Luisa Greenfield’s paintings over photo transfers of John Wayne show neither, and Marc Alain’s photo collages of celebrity photos and art-historical references brook no explanation for their inclusion. Each of the artists, of course, contributes to the loose and somewhat arbitrary Warholesque theme of the show. But only Jonathan Trundle, whose self-modded camera enables him to capture—in one go—time-lapsed exposures of nude hippie chicks or ’70s roller girls, does Pop without the political finger-wagging. (Trundle’s Fast Friendly Curbside Service is pictured.) The exhibition is on view from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, to Saturday, Sept. 9, at Project 4 Gallery, 903 U St. NW. Free. (202) 232-4340. (Kriston Capps)