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Inside the Looking Glass

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Michael Janis creates tableaux that reveal planes of existence in panes of glass. Using the ancient technique of sgraffito, Janis carefully applies layers of glass dust to a piece of kiln-worked glass and then scratches and carves his figures in the surface with scalpel blades and brushes. The level of detail is remarkable: Milky faces gaze ineffably out at this world, seemingly trapped in but not a part of the glass that holds them; tiny human forms float across a pale gray background, an etched magnifying glass hovering over one revealing eye sockets and even a discernable brow; the downy feathers of a bird's breast blend into the off-white of its stomach with a hint of ruffling. The longer you gaze into them, the more you see looking back at you. Michael Janis: New Work, a collection of the Washington D.C.-based artist's recent work opens with a free public reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 15, at the Duane Reed Gallery's new location in the Central West End (4729 McPherson Avenue; 314-361-4100 or www.duanereedgallery.com). The show remains up through Saturday, June 13, and the gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: May 15. Continues through June 13, 2009