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TO DEC. 31
Brocker, a Baltimorean now studying in Wales, delivers a knockout in her first U.S. solo exhibition. She spent months with an Irish family that is part of a distinct, tiny, and marginalized population known as “travellers”—itinerants akin to, but distinct from, gypsies. (They even have their own language, Shelta.) Brocker earned enough trust to observe unguarded moments, and she arrived at a pivotal and difficult moment for the group—when the government began insisting that travellers settle into fixed homes. In Brocker’s rich and moving portrayal, limned in understated color, the difficulties of their life are plain to see: a pair of young boys fighting in proximity to a distracted adult; a girl recoiling as if shot by a boy holding a stick like a rifle; a boy wrapping himself in the folds of a woman’s long coat, his torso either dirty or scarred. Under largely overcast skies, adults are barely seen. In one image (pictured), three children sit on a bench, inches away from each other, but each is lost glumly in his or her own world. Compelling even in this small sampling, the project compares favorably to the best recent documentary work, including that of Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, and Mary Ellen Mark. The show is on view from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Dec. 31, at Irvine Contemporary, 1710 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 332-8767. (Louis Jacobson)