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TO JULY 24
There’s a clear audience for “Concentrics,” a four-artist exhibition at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery: anyone who’s whiled away hours at a time with a Spirograph. Each artist—through sculpture, painting, etching, drawing, or silk-screening—enmeshes him- or herself in a dazzlingly complex universe of lines. Jae Ko reprises her trademark style: tight rolls of paper, dipped in black ink, forcefully molded into pillowy, organic shapes. Some of her forms suggest intestines; others approximate blocky Asian lettering. Kathleen Kucka paints with acrylic on aluminum and Mylar, leaving creamy strokes on semireflective surfaces. Of her five works, the most compelling is Into Blue, which looks like a cross section of cells on a microscope slide; somehow, Kucka makes her aluminum surface seem translucent and her paint seem ghostly. Andrea Way creates works that overlay multiple strata of similar but imperfectly repeating motifs. Often these suggest scientific themes—zeros and ones, hash marks that recall DNA-typing patterns, and even cicada wings that she secreted away during the 1987 emergence of Brood X. (The piece dates from 1992.) But the show’s most mesmerizing artist is Craig Dennis, whose 23-year-old works demonstrate a rare combination of artistry, intellectual rigor, and patience. (Inside Out: Trying to Repeat the Previous Interval With Right Hand, Clockwise, Increasing Concentrics is pictured.) Dennis traced rings around a perfect circle in the middle of a large sheet, first with one hand, then with the other in a different color. As the lines move outward, they bend and pinch in imperfect fashion, creating works that could pass for topographical or weather maps—and that toy gainfully with the idea of human fallibility in a technological age. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, July 24, at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery, 2012 R St. NW. Free. (202) 328-0088. (Louis Jacobson)