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TO AUG. 31
If you lust after existential voids, then the Foundry Gallery’s “From the Atom to the Cosmos” show is for you. Margaret Alleva uses oil on canvas to represent fiery galactic explosions, angelic blotches of light in the darkness, and, in Planet (pictured), a blue orb drifting within a swirling, spiral vortex. Alice-Marie Gravely’s oil-ink monoprint Crying Mars features a red form dripping ethereal streams of yellow, green, and indigo into the cosmic blackness. Peter Robinson steals a page from Adolph Gottleib with Lost Asteroidan empty, fragile arrangement of circles and polygonsand Bernard Shleien depicts objects flying through space, most lightheartedly in Exodus to Space 3002, in which dozens of contrail-spewing cylinders (spaceships, presumably) zoom through the heavens like cars accelerating away from a crowded parking lot. The 33-piece exhibition is so heavy on multicolored abstractions that you may find yourself clinging to something, anything, that’s tangible: Barbara Beatty’s oil-on-canvas Phases of the Moon depicts Earth’s only satellite as a jauntily bouncing tennis ball, and Ann Stein’s Contingencies reinvents David Smith-style geometric sculptures in maroon paint rather than burnished steel. You may even be willing to forgive Ashley Wells’ decision to ignore the show’s theme”art inspired by science”and go instead with a pair of pleasingly geometric renderings of building façades. If nothing here outshines the works in the National Academy of Sciences’ typically stellar exhibitions of science-themed art, “From the Atom to the Cosmos” should at least inspire visitors to begin pondering their own insignificance. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, to Sunday, Aug. 31, at Foundry Gallery, 9 Hillyer Court NW. Free. (202) 387-0203. (Louis Jacobson)