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TO APRIL 15

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The five area artists selected by the Arlington Arts Center’s Exhibitions Committee for “Spring Solos 2000” constitute an uneven but promising sample of young local talent. Nina Martinek offers another chilling installation riffing on childhood horrors—this time, a field of cherry-red lollipops encased in ominous steel fencing called Better Than a Kiss. The poppy field recalls mass graves and bloodstains; the accompanying soundtrack of laughing children juxtaposes these horrific images with the sounds of youthful vulnerability. Amy Gerhauser’s Family Tree: Re-Membering (pictured) is a metal-ribbed canoe with rusted chains spilling out its base and photographs printed on handmade paper coating its hull. The whole thing leans upright against a stout tree trunk, evoking the Amistad, Native Americans, and Nazi oppression without melodrama. William Niebauer, who makes plywood and steel puzzle-piece-like boxes that look like outsized kiddie building blocks, phones in a much less refined statement: Jumbled willy-nilly in the center’s upstairs hallway, his blocks lack both reason and visual poetry. In an installation of school desks and AV equipment screening stills of celluloid psycho-freaks, Barry Jones rails against the ostracism of schizophrenics—but without eliciting pathos. And Jason Falchook’s color photographs of a young couple wielding pink sheets, while sometimes compositionally striking, offer only opaque narrative. To judge from Falchook’s obscure titles—From the Point of Imbrication Series: Erstwhile Tabescent Dictums Counterpoised is one—alienation is exactly what he’s aiming for. On view from 1 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, to Saturday, April 15, at the Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 524-1494. (Jessica Dawson)