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TO AUG. 28
You wouldn’t necessarily know it just by looking at the photographs, but “Under the Influence,” a five-artist exhibition at the Spectrum Gallery, includes a tribute to a teacher—Tom Wolff—by four of his students—John Borstel, Prescott Moore Lassman, Leta O’Steen, and Emily Whiting—as well as the teacher’s own works. Wolff’s photographs are impressive; those of his disciples are more mixed. Borstel’s Micro/Macro Marilyn Series documents assorted pop-culture renderings of Marilyn Monroe. The portrayals are all appropriately offbeat, though some work better than others; a not very realistic-looking Marilyn figurine set among vine-ripened tomatoes is rather less successful than the edgy statuette whose outstretched hand holds an outsize drug capsule. Two artists explore the intersection of animals and humans—O’Steen with a technically undistinguished series of black-and-white images of people with their pets, both real and plush, and Lassman with a much more stylish depiction of domesticated horses, highlighting the animals’ curvaceous backs and rubbery faces. Whiting treads on Tom Baril’s stomping grounds—careful, formal portraits of plants in sepia—but falls short because of her choice of needlessly dark tones. The standout, perhaps not surprisingly, is Wolff himself. (His work is pictured.) Though one image of horses is plagued by overly dramatic lighting, the others—including a single feather held up against the stark landscape of Wounded Knee, S.D., and a dog and a horse standing on a quiet slope, separated by a mysterious diagonal white line—are understatedly poetic. Wolff also got creative with his mounting, hanging his photographs with paper clips from unvarnished wood frames that allow the prints a hover in the air. The show is on view from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, to Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Spectrum Gallery, 1132 29th St. NW. Free. (202) 333-0954. (Louis Jacobson)