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TO JUNE 24
At Rex Weil’s current gallery exhibition, it seems appropriate to gravitate first to the works on paper, saving the more complex canvases for later. Weil’s India-ink paintings on rag paper forsake color for mannerly black lines and white negative space; continuous loops, like chains of lowercase L’s, cross the pieces horizontally. Perhaps because the shapes resemble cursive writing, these pieces seem like exercises—even their splashes and rivulets of ink are tightly controlled. But in Weil’s “Memories of Earth (maps and other misinformation)” series—composed of ink, semi-transparent oil paint, and District maps—the looping forms take on another meaning, as if encircling or erasing D.C. neighborhoods. The map series’s meandering pathways can be found again in Weil’s canvases, but here they are more relaxed. Wavy lines of glossy, honey-thick white enamel traverse a black background in Miles Smiles (pictured); blues and jazz references in some titles force musical interpretations. In fact, the titles become intrusive: In the Howlin’ Wolf in Japan triptych, a repetitive pattern of spattery black squares suggests a futon cover more than a culture clash. On the whole, the most memorable visions here—like the malevolent, converging black waves of Great Despisers 10th Anniversary or the punchy target shapes of an homage to Sun Ra—deviate from an orderly presentation. Gallery-goers who want to see Weil’s work should make it snappy—the exhibition closes Saturday. From 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Gallery K, 2010 R St. NW. (202) 234-0339. (Nathalie op de Beeck)