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TO MARCH 29
Over the past year or two, Washington has seen a lot of out-of-focus and short-focal-plane photography. Add to that the work of Mary Woodall, a Washington-based photographer who contributed eight images to the “New American Landscape” show at Conner Contemporary Art. Several of her images of water and snow settling on car windshields are a bit too obvious to sustain real interest; her more decontextualized efforts, such as Element 7with its random arrangements of icy blues and refracted bits of skyare more compelling. Stronger still are a pair of images that zero in on a wet window screen. Element 2 (pictured), the vertical version of this pair, is split into three bands: white on top, dark green in the middle, and light green on the bottom. What saves the piece from mere Rothko mimicry is the way the water droplets cling to the wire mesh, reflecting and refracting light so that isolated pixels within the mesh grid contrast with the predominant colors behind them. The exhibition’s other artist is John Kirchner, whose video Deer Hunting in Virginia unspools on a flat-screen, wide-angle, wall-mounted television. Though it’s not even four minutes in length, the piece’s moody, nocturnal imagerynearly stop-motion footage of darkly swaying vegetation, lights shining off dogs’ eyes, and the darting movements of deer on the runis mesmerizing. Kirchner’s use of a Bach score is especially inspired, setting up a refined, relaxed vibe that establishes an ironic counterpoint to the suggested violence of the hunt. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Saturday, March 29, at Conner Contemporary Art, 1730 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 588-8750. (Louis Jacobson)