Arts Desk

Reviewed: “Open Source” at Carroll Square Gallery

“Open Source”—an exhibition of works by students in George Mason University's School of Art—runs the gamut from paintings and sculptures to video and audio. Two painters set their work against deep black backgrounds—Lindsay Hawks, in a series of domestic items limned in creamsicle tones using bleach on bed linen, and Brook Marcy, whose weighty portrayals of decaying fruit reference 17th century Vanitas paintings. Ryan McCoy’s large-scale agglomerations—pine needle ashes, rust, baby powder, and acrylic—are texturally mesmerizing, suggesting Astroturf layered with a dusting of snow. Peter Lee films himself in a visually inspired routine in which he pastes patches over his body that, through green-screening, become conduits for “alternative” personalities that range among various races and ethnicities. But the most winning work is “Barcode Orchestra,” a video collaboration in which Hawks, Lee, and Alex Straub approach shoppers with a handheld gadget that turns ordinary consumer-product UPC codes into musical flourishes. The artists could have done more with the melodies those bar codes create, but seeing kids’ eyes widen and hearing a grown man say, “Sweet!” offers an unexpectedly resounding endorsement of the power of art.

Through March 25 at Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F Street NW. Open during regular business hours. (202) 624-8643.

An opening reception will be held today from 6-8 p.m.

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