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TO FEB. 26
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Two years ago at the AFL-CIO headquarters, Washington-based artist Janos Enyedi exhibited a series of miniature, realistic, three-dimensional works that lovingly documented America’s faded industrial sites. Using paper, paint, and sometimes tiny stones, Enyedi still makes art about the Rust Belt—but he’s now gone in two additional directions, one promising and the other not. Enyedi’s intriguing tack is to make digital prints from photographs, manipulating them slightly so they look like watercolor paintings. (Down Time–Between Barges is pictured.) Except for a few too-pixilated pieces, these renderings—which feature subjects ranging from enormous but empty machine shops to conical piles of sand stacked in the bright sunlight—are at once vivid and dreamy, limned in tones of ochre, beige, and rust. He is equally at home portraying a symphony of steel diagonals as portraying thick, billowy clouds of exhaust. The problem occurs whenever Enyedi tries to fuse the digital-print aesthetic with his old mixed-media sculptural style. In roughly half the pieces at this Kathleen Ewing Gallery show, most of them made in 2004 and 2005, Enyedi has taken perfectly good digital prints and added 3-D elements to them, from metallic piping to piles of gravel or coal. Unfortunately, doing so creates visual perspectives that just don’t work. Worse, in a few cases, the artist’s attempts to mimic falling sand or rock by meticulously gluing tiny shards to the print’s surface look just plain silly. Visitors should focus instead on the impressively stylized visions from Enyedi’s earlier work: Taken together, they are almost suggestive enough to revive the dying world of the factories they elegize. The show is on view from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery, 1609 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-0955. (Louis Jacobson)