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Where to see art gallery shows in the Washington region

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Exceptional craftsmanship and exquisite detail are among the qualities that connect the pieces in McLean Project for the Arts’ current exhibition. Another link is disclosed by the show’s title, “Continuum: Artists Teaching Artists.” All 18 participants are veteran instructors at area colleges and universities. Even the most conceptual ones of their artworks are beautifully made.

This is exemplified by John Ruppert’s two-part sculptures, which initially appear to be sets of stones but in fact pair a chunk of rock with a cast-metal piece that emulates its counterpart’s rough contours. Ruppert’s stark duets suggest that finding and making are twinned processes.

The smallest institution whose faculty are featured is the Washington Glass School, represented by directors Tim Tate and Erwin Timmers. Timmers’ contributions include three hands, elegantly cast in glass, that protrude from rectangular panes. One of Tate’s pieces juggles high-tech and antique by placing a blue-tinted video of a blinking eye inside an ornate white-glass frame.

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Also combining traditional craft with contemporary technology, Robert Devers’s stoneware vessels are perforated with stylized flames through which seeps red light from interior LEDs. This evocation of fire is a warm contrast to Patrick Craig’s forest-cool painting of intertwined columns of what appear to be blue water and birch-tree bark.

Both Kate Fitzpatrick and Reni Gower executed large pattern pieces that, intriguingly, leave traces on the floor. Fitzpatrick’s massive black-and-white painting appears etched, and hangs above a line of gray dust. Gower’s large ornamental design is made of carved white paper; its back is painted red and green, hues that reflect on the wall. The cutout is echoed by a related but not identical pattern on the floor, drawn with white sand like a Tibetan Buddhist mandala.

The contributor who traveled farthest from the studio is Peter Winant, who is known for his geographic projects. The artist returned water from the Hudson River to its origins in western Massachusetts, an undertaking documented in photos and video. But this eco-ritual also includes clay models of animals and fish, as carefully rendered as anything in this meticulous show.

Continuum: Artists Teaching Artists Through Nov. 10 at McLean Project for the Arts1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean.

Pyramid Atlantic’s gallery is up a flight of stairs, but its current show has a submerged vibe. “Altered Environments” spotlights April Flanders, a North Carolina artist who clips as deftly as she prints, draws and paints. The show’s centerpiece is “Filter,” made of about 2,000 tiny cutout monotypes in dozens of shapes; they swoop in nine undulating schools across two white walls. The massive yet delicate piece, a version of which was shown at the American University Museum in 2019, symbolically depicts invasive species of mussels in subtly gradated shades of blue and green.

Other assemblages combines monotypes and screen prints whose curving forms and vibrant colors evoke underwater life without representing it realistically. Flanders simulates depth by overlapping one-dimensional circles, ovals and tentacles — some in decidedly unwatery reds — or by constructing 3D demi-worlds of painted, laser-cut paper layered inside glass-topped boxes. Flanders views with alarm what’s happening to lakes and seas, but she can’t resist making it visually alluring.

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While the main gallery displays only Flanders’s art, the adjacent hallway holds works on paper by 24 additional American and Canadian artists who depict invasive species. Among the highlights are Marty Ittner’s cyanotype of a blue catfish, reversed atop a maritime chart; Julie Wolfe’s trio of jellyfish, screenprinted in contrasting aqua and magenta; and Eveline Kolijn’s etching and linocut of several lionfish in a sea that seems to flow from a single gush of water. All three are close-ups that convey a sense of larger forces in rapidly changing oceans.

Altered Environments Through Nov. 13 at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center4318 Gallatin St., Hyattsville.

Light is the essential subject of Bill Hill’s “Modalities,” but the abstract painter identifies plenty of other precedents for his Gallery 2112 show. While the influence of such Washington colorists as Sam Gilliam and Leon Berkowitz is to be expected, Hill’s statement also credits music by composers John Cage and Giacinto Scelsi and James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake.” Perhaps that novel’s cyclical structure shaped the local artist’s approach to laying down shifting, swirling and near-liquid hues, which sometimes appear to be have been splashed onto the canvas, or to contain ghostly gestures beneath the surface.

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Hill notes that his paintings, executed with watery oil pigments and mostly in shades of blue, orange and pink, begin with gazes into his own backyard. Still, their intimations of landscape are hints at best. A few include what could be seen as horizon lines, and several are fields of mottled color that suggest sky or water. But all the pictures are square, which makes their edges feel arbitrary, not integral. Hill’s compositions look less like individual scenes than excerpts of views that go on and on, perhaps forever, beyond their frames.

Bill Hill: Modalities Through Nov. 19 at Gallery 21122112 R St. NW.

Joan Mayfield and Ruth Trevarrow depict trees after humans have had their way with them. The two local artists paired in the Athenaeum’s “Woodcuts” take their cues from stumps and castoff boards, distilling their subjects to meandering black lines or nestled fragments.

Among the inspirations for Trevarrow’s large black-and-white prints is an elm that used to stand near DC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The artist’s “MLK Elm1” is an exact rendering of the stump’s contour, executed in a thick black line and filled with hundreds of simulated concentric tree rings. Such pictures are memorials to bygone organisms, but their complex forms are alive with possibility.

Mayfield’s found-wood collages are made of materials that have been wrenched even farther from their natural origins. Yet the battered, partly painted slats are often arranged in ways that evoke their previous existence as part of a living organism. One piece deploys twisting blond-wood uprights that reach toward a blue backdrop that evokes sky. Mayfield doesn’t merely reuse wood; she, symbolically at least, replants it.

Joan Mayfield and Ruth Trevarrow: Woodcuts Through Nov. 13 at the Athenaeum201 Prince St., Alexandria.