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TO MAY 11
The blossoming of tulips and Washington Nationals caps isn’t the only signs of spring in downtown Bethesda; another is an exhibition of photographs by Andrzej Pluta at the Fraser Gallery. The last Fraser show for the Polish-born, Canada-based artist was a crowd-pleaser, thanks to Pluta’s large-scale, boisterously colorful floral images, which were clearly visible through the gallery’s plate-glass windows from 100 feet away. This time, Pluta has stuck with this idea—offering highly infused renderings of flowers, subtly distorted by such tricks as submerging the flowers beneath rippling water—but he’s employed just enough new touches to avoid complete redundancy. The current show, though heavily weighted (as was the first) toward reds and pinks (Tangerine is pictured), benefits when Pluta experiments with other hues, as in the wispy Yellow Flowers or the mesmerizing arrangement of colors in Blue Abstract, which range from aqua to an indigo so dark that it verges on black. In Wild Violets, Pluta finds a winning formula by photographing translucent, deep-purple-pinstriped petals amid a forest of parallel green stalks; in Wild Rose, he faithfully reproduces the veins and spines of flat green leaves, paying homage to the cameraless botanical studies made in the earliest days of photography. Pluta’s most skillful works, however, are those such as Parrot Tulip and New, in which he uses photography to render his beloved flowers with the convincing illusion of painterly brushstrokes. The show is on view Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., to Wednesday, May 11, at the Fraser Gallery, 7700 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda. Free. (301) 718-9651. (Louis Jacobson)