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TO AUG. 23
Given its modest exhibition space, Conner Contemporary Art’s second annual student show—which exhibits the work of 16 graduates from eight local art programs—offers a surprising smorgasbord of works. As can be expected of any group show—especially a show of student work—the output is uneven, but there’s at least one intriguing piece in each genre. Nina Chung Dwyer’s 42-inch-by-42-inch painting Assimilation features what appear to be sunlit prison bars rendered in creamy whites and gunmetal grays—a blend of op-art visuals with Ashcan School stylings. Dave Beers’ Christenberry-meets-Beuys Hood series consists of KKK-style headgear crafted from unexpected fabrics, including fur, keffiyeh cloth, and wood pinstripes, each hung from invisible lines so that the hoods twist eerily, as if mimicking a lynching. Youngmi Song used pedestrian materials—namely, folded acetate sheets bought from an office-supply store—to create Flower, an unexpectedly evocative, lotus-shaped sculpture. But the exhibition’s selection of photography may be its strongest point: Andrea Tese’s Avedonian black-and-whites of masked, naked people (Unmasked Beauty is pictured); Julie Stovall’s inkjet prints of an eerily formalistic crime scene; and Jenny Lescure’s matrix of nine images made at a laundromat. The series’ retro colors (sky blues, mustard yellows, and Tide-box oranges) and geometrical resonances (circular view holes playing off gumballs) make it the most buoyant piece in the entire show. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Friday, Aug. 23, at Conner Contemporary Art, 1730 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 588-8750. (Louis Jacobson)