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Sparkplug, the arts incubator at the District of Columbia Arts Centers, recently brought seven new members into its ranks. They all appear in the group show “Facts and Fiction” and present some interesting ideas, but seldom take them far enough. Take Matt Smith‘s digital color swatches from the skins of citrus fruits and a red onion, which offer a brief meditation on the variety of tones definable as lime, orange, or red, but barely scratch the surface of the approach’s potential. Elsewhere craft is the problem, as with Chajana denHarder‘s work. While her digital collages of distorted figures are compelling from a distance, a closer look reveals a floundering use of Photoshop. The arresting work is Chandi Kelley‘s, partly for the dry irony of her photographic nature studies, each illustrating man’s intrusion into the space, and partly for their presentation as stereo slides in plastic viewfinders. While it’ss clear this is a group of smart and serious artists, as a collective they need a little more time to cook.
“Sparkplug Presents: Facts and Fictions” is on view 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday to July 18 at the District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Free.