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TO SEPT. 14
The Ralls Collection’s “Summer Show” may well set a new record for the most artworks ever hung in a two-room gallery: 128. The space crunch means that some pieces are hung almost out of sight, and—besides a cluster of representations of the American flag, which might be part of another show—the exhibition offers little thematic unity. Still, with such an embarrassment of choices, it’s hard not to uncover at least a few gems. Among the noteworthy paintings are several brightly lit landscapes in oil by Mark Dorman, Roger Winter’s diminutive, Basquiat-influenced Graffiti, and Wilbur Reeling’s Technicolor drip painting Passage of Tears. Silas Shabelewska’s photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge (pictured) captures the span not only in grand scale (60 by 40.5 inches) but also at an unexpectedly gawky tilt. Dorothy Kerper Monnelly’s Interrupted Fern, a shot of vegetation in a clearing, is done with such light shading that it looks as if it had been sketched in graphite. Though Michael Kenna contributes two typically coolly atmospheric works, both are out-Kennaed by Eileen Yaghoobian’s 2005 (Coney Island Series) and Colleen Spencer Henderson’s Sunrise on Outer Banks—two abstract landscapes rendered in blank shades of white. Still, the most impressive photographs may be those by Stephen Petegorsky and Gunnar Plake. Petegorsky lays his emulsion of an Umbrian hay bale over gold leaf and clay; Plake mounts his dramatically fuzzed, pink-and-blue landscape on what seems to be aluminum. The photographic images that form the core of these works are unexceptional, but the artists’ inspired techniques suggest creative minds indeed. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Ralls Collection, 1516 31st St. NW. Free. (202) 342-1754. (Louis Jacobson)