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TO MAY 20
Usually, when people describe an artist’s works as kaleidoscopic, they’re speaking metaphorically. With the recent work of Don Reichert, though, the term can be used literally. The Winnipeg-based artist, now 73, came to prominence on the Canadian art scene as a painter of abstractions inspired by nature, and his current exhibition at the Canadian Embassy includes several acrylics on both canvas and paper that suggest such diverse influences as cave art, African face painting, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, and Frank Stella. (Rio Rojo del Norte is pictured.) The show’s standouts, however, are a dozen digitally altered photographs the artist made in 2004. In each, Reichert tweaked an initial image by adjusting its symmetry along multiple axes, “folding” it as if it were a piece of origami; he ended up with the kind of disorienting view one might see through a child’s kaleidoscope. Ultimately, the show’s handful of smaller ink-jet prints on paper pale in comparison to Reichert’s much larger works on canvas; somehow, despite the canvas’ own three-dimensional surface, the artist manages to make these images shimmer with detail and depth. In two works documenting a rusting bridge, Reichert’s distortions echo the angles of the girders and may even suggest the inevitable buckling of the structure. Even more impressive are the organic forms Reichert finds in nature—the ultrarealistic pebbles and rocks of Transit, portrayed almost angelically; the forest-underbrush details of Frosted Leaves, with gestures worthy of an Old Master painting; and the transformation of an amply lit rock face into a murky cave-/riverscape in Far Shore. The show is on view from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, to Friday, May 20, at the Canadian Embassy’s Art Gallery, 501 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. (202) 682-1740. (Louis Jacobson)