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TO NOV. 27
Bruce McKaig doesn’t take the easy route: The photographer has constructed his camera from a 10-gallon steel trash can, using a pinhole format that requires exposures lasting from a few minutes to a few days. Now, in his second exhibition of pinhole works at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery, McKaig has exchanged the boulevards, monuments, and neighborhoods of Washington he showcased last time for more pastoral settings in nearby Virginia and Maryland. A few of McKaig’s untitled works utilize his medium nicely, such as an image that distorts a tree trunk into a shape approximating that of an onion. (#57, February 27, 2002 is pictured.) But though other visual features suggest a sharp eye—perfect helix-shaped vines, a damaged windshield that cradles a flurry of fallen leaves—the pinhole technique fails to make their depiction special. Ultimately, McKaig’s suburban and rural views offer less tension than his city works did; with such long exposures capturing only the most sedentary elements of a scene, viewers are no longer able to wonder what’s missing from one of his frenetic downtown intersections. Also on view is Robert Bazemore Jr.’s series of enigmatic photo-based works. The Georgia-based artist uses blurry (and anonymous) snapshots as the cornerstones of mixed-media combinations, overlaying the Mondrian-esque rectangular geometries with the brown, green, and gold hues of Southern nostalgia. The show stealer, however, is an unadvertised exhibition of 7-year-old photographs by Mark Power that share a fascination with counting. Power’s hilariously deadpan titles brilliantly frame each image’s content: 6 Ethnically Diverse Babies at a Photo Opp; 28 Inhabitants of a Common Grave (dead bugs in box); and One Strong Man, 10,946 Rose Petals (a bodybuilder standing in front of a parade float). The show is on view from noon to 5 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Nov. 27, at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery, 1609 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-0955. (Louis Jacobson)