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TO SEPT. 16

“Shift,” a four-artist exhibition at American University’s Watkins Gallery, is for those who like their art obscure. Each of the four contributors—all twenty-somethings who developed their techniques in Washington—traffic in the puzzling mists of abstraction. Jonathan Bucci (whose Pleasent Crump is pictured) hammers textured, non-reflective squares of lead into works that are hung on the wall as if they were paintings. Some of his pieces have a biological feel—an ear, a brain, some veins—but it’s by no means clear that Bucci is using his art to communicate anything about bodily form. The same enigmatic sensibility applies to the other three artists. Jason Gubbiotti’s smooth, almost rubbery-surfaced oil-on-wood paintings feature ethereal layerings of color, some with the unexpectedly transparent feel of diaphanous fabric. Eric Hibbit offers large, non-representational canvases that exude the shimmering sensation of wrapping paper; his retro-geometry would not have looked out of place as interior decoration in the movie Swingers. Of the bunch, Kristin Holder is the most representational: If you look hard at her multicolored, large-format works on paper and cloth, you can indeed tease out the trees and landscapes that inspire her art. But just barely. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m; and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. To Saturday, Sept. 16 at American University’s Watkins Gallery, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Free. (202) 885-1670. (Louis Jacobson)