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TO DEC. 21
Viewed within the cozy confines of the Troyer Gallery, Madalyn Marcus’ paintings are impressive to the point of imposing. Sometimes working on paper and sometimes on canvas, the D.C.-based artist combines broad shapes—gelcap forms on solid backgrounds seem to be a favorite of hers—with more detailed, X-laden brushwork that alternately mimics sketches of skyscrapers or poorly designed Florida ballots. The reflective, almost lacquered surfaces and enveloping size of her works make for a far more confrontational experience than one would have guessed by her catalog’s reproductions; in person, the multiple layers of oil paint, in blood reds, charcoal grays, and lemon yellows, shimmer with urgency. By contrast, Claire Flanders’ black-and-white photographs are elegant in their simplicity. Flanders’ show, in Troyer’s second gallery, features works she’s made since 1997, largely of quiet, pensive settings in France and Portugal: an unlocked door of a house, a columned cloister, an aqueduct-style folly near a chateau, slightly wet paving stones at dusk. Flanders—who also works out of the D.C. area—pays homage twice to Frederick H. Evans, whose famous 1903 photograph of Wells Cathedral in England documented a sea of steps whose advanced age had worn their once-sharp edges to curvy imperfection; in one of these homages, Flanders does Evans one better by lighting the scene with an angelic-looking sunburst. Worlds Apart: The Tower Window (pictured) harks back even farther, to the primitive, contrasty images of photographic innovator William H. Fox Talbot in the 1830s and 1840s. Flanders’ image blends still life, landscape, and geometrical abstraction seamlessly, and with uncommon skill. Both exhibitions are on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Troyer Gallery, 1710 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-7189. (Louis Jacobson)