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TO JAN. 7
Before attending the exhibit “Common Ground: Labyrinth Designs, Past and Present,” I couldn’t tell a labyrinth from a maze. So what’s the difference? While labyrinths can be confusing, they don’t have dead ends—just a single path that goes into the center of the design and back out again. The 4,000-year-old design has experienced a resurgence in the past decade, thanks in part to the Labyrinth Society (www.labyrinthsociety.org), to which Common Ground’s participants belong. The exhibit—housed in a lovely space at the architecturally distinctive Charles Sumner School Museum—consists of room-sized, walkable labyrinths as well as wall-mounted works. Standout artists include Marilyn Larson, whose understated painting style suggests early Mondrian, and Rafala Green (Fire, Water, Earth, Air pictured), whose pastel-drawn designs run the aesthetic gamut from floral to mechanical to humanoid. The society’s vibe tends toward the crunchy and New Age-y, championing the supposed peace and higher truth that one can discover while meandering into and out of a labyrinth. That focus definitely permeates “Common Ground,” but skeptics are advised to tune it out and instead enjoy the geometry on its own terms. Think of a labyrinth as the visual equivalent of a sonnet: a rigid structure, fleshed out artistically in an endless variety of ways. On view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, at Sumner School Museum and Archives, 1201 17th St. NW. Free. (202) 442-6060. (Louis Jacobson)