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to aug. 5

“E3: Painters” at Transformer Gallery is the fruit of a collaboration among four artists brought together to paint, discuss one another’s paintings, paint some more, critique one another’s paintings, and paint yet still more—all before finally submitting their work to a panel of mentors for another round of nips and tucks. For all that trouble, however, the results look like those of a seminar, not a salon—and it’s difficult to piece together what, exactly, the artists hoped to accomplish together. It worked to the advantage of Christopher Lee and Lisa Marie Thalhammer, who took the opportunity to throw the proverbial shit against the wall and find out what sticks. Thalhammer collaged drawings of women boxers with faces snipped from print (pictured), then inked the exquisite corpses in a graffito style; more study than finished composition, these works show an evolving marking system. Lee titled his offerings “Outside Black Novel,” a reference to Jean-Luc Godard’s teleology of the black-power movement in the film One Plus One; his faux-naive collage on newsprint, The Washingtonian, depicts a divided Washington Monument over a murky reflecting pond. Brent Baumgartner and Piero Passacantando, the two artists who contribute actual paintings to the painting mentorship program, don’t take much away from it. Baumgartner’s Acknowledging the Manifestations is surely unfinished: He’s blotted out the hair on the head of his fairly realistic self-portrait, as if he ran into a technical hurdle and simply walked away. And Passacantando’s untitled clusterfuck of color doesn’t seem to have gained much from all the criticism—it’s static through and through, despite its technical merits. The exhibition is on view from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday to Saturday, Aug. 5, at Transformer Gallery, 1404 P St. NW. Free. (202) 483-1102. (Kriston Capps)