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TO APRIL 7
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Stare into the eyes of a Van Gogh self-portrait and you’ll see a soul seeking asylum, a man stripped to his essenceand of his ear. Begining this Friday, 10 local artists show you what they see when they look in the mirror in “Still Life With Self: A Survey of Contemporary Trends in Self Portraiture.” Though their art forms vary, the artists collectively eschew representation for abstraction: You can try gazing into the portraits’ eyes, but, more often than not, you’ll have a hard time finding them. It’s Steven Weinberger’s Stomach Ache (pictured) that best speaks for the exhibit’s overwhelming pomo feel. An X-ray of the artist’s stomach is connected via cables and circuitry to a plastic ear, a diagram of a brain, and a mold of the artist’s teeth. Push a button and a bulb goes on inside the belly. Get too close and the ear lights up while a buzzer sounds. Stomach Ache, like the exhibit as a whole, tosses notions of self and self-representation right back at you. And though the psychology of the portraitsshrouded as they are by abstractionmight seem troubling, the presentation is compelling. Piero Passacantando’s self-portrait alonean installation that combines sci-fi and serial-killer aestheticswill make the trip worth your while. On view noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, to Saturday, April 7, at 57 N Fine Art, 57 N St. NW. Free. (202) 723-7526. (Felix Gillette)