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TO NOV. 29

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I’m not saying he’s been down to the crossroads and sold his soul, but Jeff Spaulding’s work has seen an uncanny kind of improvement over the past few years. “The Hunt,” his spring 2000 show at the McLean Project for the Arts, was too cute by half, its juxtapositional found-object surrealism strained and obvious. But in the beguiling new “Lost and Found,” Spaulding asserts his command of a substantial vocabulary of found and made forms to construct sculpture that is elliptical, menacing, and subtly sexy. There are nods to his old ways, mainly the bicycle seat and plastic bowling balls of Sweet (pictured), but this tongue-in-cheek Mickey Mouse-ification of Picasso’s famous Bull’s Head is the only such homage I’ve seen that doesn’t seem like mere piggybacking. The two-tone bulges of Issue recall a polymer-chain molecular model even as they suggest the egg sac of an unknown entity, with individual ova protruding from a surrounding membrane. The biology of sexual reproduction is also implied by the single cream-colored marine bumper and multiple black bicycle seats of Built for Two, and Protected State—which consists of what looks like a long fan belt cinched inside a punctured nylon sheath—explores the calculus of enclosure and transparency that governs certain brands of sexual fetishism. For the Moment conjures the example of Martin Puryear, and Ghost that of Matthew Barney, but in the tightness of Spaulding’s facture (not to mention his lack of obfuscatory myth), the latter comparison breaks down. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Nov. 29, at G Fine Art, 3271 M St. NW. Free. (202) 333-0300. (Glenn Dixon)