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TO AUG. 8
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Advertising and magazine assignments constitute much of Kay Chernush’s photographic work, but it’s safe to assume that the six images featured in Touchstone Gallery’s “Take Ten: Works by Ten Washington Photographers” are more meaningful to her than any other project she’s done. Chernush’s “Self-Examination” series documents, in dreamy tones, the artist’s battle with breast cancer. Some images grapple with visual scars, such as the taped-up breast of Biopsy or the bold, bald head of Side Effect; other works speak elliptically, such as the translucent, irradiated-looking bra at the heart of In my dreams I wear satin & lace (pictured). None of the other nine photographers in the exhibition produce anything nearly as weighty, but several offer noteworthy visuals. Ruth Schilling Harwood presents a greatly enlarged television-screen capture of three human figures, putting an enigmatic spin on a famous image by the great German photographer August Sander. Lisa Masson offers a series of four sunflowers that look like photographs from a distance but take on unexpected, almost air-brushed properties up close. And Irene Owsley uses a distinctly horizontal, wide-angle format to capture dramatic, Western-style landscapes as close as the Potomac River. For sheer color, though, no one tops the palette of Pamela Zilly. Her portrayals of oddly shaped windows and shadows of windows on bumpy surfaces are both crisp and understated—but it’s her Red Cross that steals attention for its Madras-shirt color scheme. It’s an image that makes a run-of-the-mill shed seem extraordinary. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, to Sunday, Aug. 8, at the Touchstone Gallery, 406 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 347-2787. (Louis Jacobson)