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TO NOV. 11
For what they are—abstractions of pure color—the photographs of D.C. artist Kristi Mathews are extraordinarily complicated to make. The process starts with Mathews’ piecing together a found-object collage, which she then photographs. The resulting negative is enhanced with nail polish, glitter, and glue, and reshot. That image is mounted in a frame made by the artist from recovered hardwood flooring, and covered with an epoxy resin which is, finally, blowtorched to create a highly reflective surface. A few works (Orange.5 is pictured) suggest—very tenuously—real things: Blue.1 looks like an extreme close-up of streetlights at night; Pink.Green.6 suggests green fields against a yellow sky. But Mathews’ nonfigurative images must be judged on one factor alone—their color. In this regard, she succeeds, though not always in a way that’s pleasant to gallerygoers. The glowing reds and yellows that predominate in her images at Flashpoint are retina-burning and sweat-inducing, and Mathews only occasionally turns down the temperature with a piece in aqueous blues and greens, as in Blue.2.A. A four-row, five-column matrix that offers a variegated mix of smaller prints is less successful at drawing viewers into the artist’s world, and ends up as not much more than pretty wallpaper (which, no doubt, still took Mathews plenty of time to make). But that’s part of the deal: As with the work of fellow Washington artist Colby Caldwell, with whom Mathews has much in common artistically, the complicated technical journey is a large part of the payoff. Mathews’ images are on view from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Thursday, Nov. 11, at the gallery at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. Free. (202) 315-1310. (Louis Jacobson)