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TO JULY 2
No disrespect to digital illustrator Lisa Bertnick, who creates intentionally too-perfect renderings of a beautiful, slender model; nor to photographer Tanya Marcuse, who offers a fascinating black-and-white peek into archaic undergarments of hard metal (usually for male armor) or stiffened fabric (corsetlike female constraints). But it’s really no surprise that the biggest buzz around Hemphill Gallery’s current three-person show surrounds Hannah Rose, a local 12-year-old who makes wise-beyond-her-years mixed media works. (Playtime is pictured.) It’s not that Rose is a fully developed artist, or even a consistently successful one: Most of her photographs, usually of carefully arranged toys, are technically indifferent; her drawings share the same tough-cute iconography of countless teen cartoonist wannabes; and her 15-panel marker-on-plexiglass exploration of her varied moods conjures up the result of a Wendy Ewald session working with, yes, kids. Yet there is a spark of insight in several of Rose’s works. In one piece, 12 pairs of shoes “climb” up a wall, each one bigger than the last, concisely embodying the work’s title, Growing Up. In another, a Barbie-type doll is completely enveloped by a tall cell of Lego blocks, cleverly evoking the quashing of the feminine spirit. Even if only a handful of Rose’s works are so weighty, how many of us can say that our 12-year-old selves created something of equal import? The show is on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, through Saturday, July 2, at Hemphill Fine Arts, 1515 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 234-5601. (Louis Jacobson)