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TO MARCH 24

Elaine Kurtz lets paint run free across her canvases in the tradition of Morris Louis. But Kurtz eschews the abstract aesthetic of Louis’ early-’60s “soak-and-stain” generation, creating works that somehow verge on photorealism. And although the Troyer Gallery—which hosts this exhibit—claims that Kurtz’s paintings (Alluvial Painting, 1998 is pictured) mimic “powerful landscapes of sea or mountain formations,” don’t believe it. Her pieces—topped with real sand, pebbles, and mica for texture—traffic in subtlety, not power. Rather than merely suggesting seas or mountains, Kurtz’s paintings capture intimate plots of ground where the tides are constantly lapping and receding. Whereas Kurtz’s works are consistent almost to the point of redundancy, Michael Dunn’s washed-out landscape photographs are an uneven lot: Dunn’s Ektachromes aren’t much better than your next-door neighbor’s nature snapshots. But his ink-jet prints are more skillful, perhaps because the prints’ nonreflective texture better suits his subject. Dunn—a photo archivist at the U.S. Capitol—captured each of the exhibit’s 14 images in one day, as he hiked through the deserted Bonneville Salt Flats of northwest Utah. His time frame, if handled well, might have offered a solid organizing principle. But on Dunn’s watch, it only underlines how much he might have accomplished had he spent more time studying the lights and shadows of this eerie wasteland. Both exhibits are on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Saturday, March 24, at the Troyer Gallery, 1710 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-7189. (Louis Jacobson)