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Lucas Blok puts some Pop in Op Art. Blok, a painter who lives

in Carmel, Calif., carefully applies acrylic paint to paper and canvas in distinctive, rectangular-shaped patterns of pure color (Untitled is pictured). But, although Blok’s work structurally echoes that of proto-minimalists such as Josef Albers, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko, his color scheme leaves their muted blacks, greens, and purples in the dust. Instead, Blok’s palette is straight out of the swinging ’60s: hot pinks, lily-pad greens, and carrot oranges. Many of these colors meet at ruler-straight borders, as Albers’ and Reinhardt’s did. But Blok adds a twist—his most interesting color fields end in feathered borders, some of them having the tremulous appearance of a vibrating piano string. Absorbing Blok’s work isn’t easy—the colors set your eyeballs ablaze, and some of the canvases all but swallow you up (the biggest is 5-and-a-half feet by 16-and-a-half feet). Although the artist, in his statement, declares that “I avoid symbolism in my work,” it’s hard not to read some of his paintings as architectural forms, particularly given the fact that the exhibition is being mounted at the American Institute of Architects’ headquarters. Indeed, one untitled piece from 2000 features two identical rectangles that, sadly, look arrestingly like the former twin towers of the World Trade Center. Blok’s work is on view from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, to Friday, Nov. 2, at the Octagon, 1799 New York Ave. NW. $5. (202) 638-3221. (Louis Jacobson)