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TO DEC. 23
The 11 artists showing in the Elizabeth Roberts Gallery’s “Works on Paper” can be divided into two categories: those who emulate established artists and those who don’t. The former group includes Susan Singer, whose pastel on paper Contemplation seems, from a distance, to be a Robert Mapplethorpe nude photographed with cyanotype tinting (her Quietude is pictured); Donald Depuydt, whose intaglio-lithograph Rapture features sequential head-and-shoulders portraits that suggest Duane Michals’ photographic storyboards; and Kate Cunningham, whose trio of brushstroked abstractions ape the colors of Willem de Kooning’s much larger Woman canvases. The more independent-minded artists include Tadzio Koelb, whose Noir Series elevates tiny, crosshatched ink sketches of human figures by setting them within an improbably large field of blankness, and Sara Clark, whose Crossroads features four paper buttons loosely attached within an airy frame, each one featuring a nuclear mushroom cloud rendered in blasphemously cheerful colors. But the exhibit’s standouts are the three Antibody Warrior Series works by Virginia’s Bob Worthy. The artist superimposes emulsion-transfer images of institutional-looking male nudes on top of washed-out, vintage-looking letteringan old map of Richmond, Va., for instance, or a dead-ringer take on the cover typography of Harper’s Weekly circa the Civil War. The meaning of Worthy’s works isn’t obvious, but their complex, layered aesthetics are mesmerizing. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Tuesday, Dec. 23, at the Elizabeth Roberts Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. Free. (202) 232-1011. (Louis Jacobson)