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TO JAN. 23

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but talk is cheap. With such a ridiculous exchange rate, it makes sense that Takoma Park artist Josh Holland would try have it both ways by painting pictures of people talking. “Conversations” presents paintings and sketches made from photographs of people lounging and lunching in local malls. (Conversations is pictured.) To some, food court denizens might seem like dull subject matter for art. But to avid people-watchers like myself, Holland’s work is long overdue. I remember once riding in the last car of New York’s D Train entranced by two derelicts emphatically discussing life’s hardships. Their words were mostly unintelligible, but the exchange was visually fascinating. In the end, one slipped the other a couple of bucks as he got off the train. And at a club on 14th Street I once watched a woman’s incredulous face as a snazzily dressed pick-up artist tried to convince her that he was in the “art business.” She knew the right questions to ask and soon uncovered that he worked as a framer in a shopping mall. Moments like these are too precious even for Kodak, so I’ve often wished I had a more subtle way to capture them forever. Looks like Holland had the same wish—not to mention some art supplies and talent. On view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, to Sunday, Jan. 23, at the Foundry Gallery, 9 Hillyer Court NW. Free. (202) 387-0203. (Neil Drumming)