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TO MARCH 27

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Silhouettes: Photographs by E. Brady Robinson E. Brady Robinson’s “Silhouettes” series is a clever idea hampered by its own limitations. Robinson—who teaches photography at Georgetown University, George Washington University, and the Corcoran College of Art and Design—photographs members of her family in black-and-white, backlit settings that turn their bodies into impenetrable negative forms. In a sense, Robinson is doing the reverse of what Richard Avedon does when he makes portraits of people standing or seated in front of identical white backgrounds. In Avedon’s case, the white backdrops focus the viewer’s attention on the physiognomy of the subject; by contrast, Robinson’s silhouettes blot out such personal details, pushing viewers to ponder instead the images’ well-lit backgrounds. (An untitled work is pictured.) Unfortunately for Robinson, her backdrops—sheer curtains, a suburban street, the siding of a house, a blank sky—are not especially compelling. A few of the show’s 10 pieces work better than the others, including Susan, in which the subject sits in a straight-backed chair that, in shadow form, suggests a pedestal; this, in turn, effectively turns the image into one that could as easily be of a bust sculpted from ebony as a real person. The most intriguing pair of images, however, are Dad and Dad (profile), in which the sitter’s eyeglass lenses refract light, thus interrupting the silhouette’s simple blackness; in the head-on portrait, the lenses are parentheses bracketing an otherwise empty void. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and Tuesdays by appointment, to Saturday, March 27, at the Troyer Gallery, 1710 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-7189. (Louis Jacobson)