Though "new talent" rarely sells, especially in times like these, that has never stopped artists from producing, or dealers from showing, with the hope of striking it big.

Middendorf/Lane has at least two winners -- possibly more -- among the five new Washington artists now on view: Yuriko Yamaguchi, Juan Mayer, Lenore Winters, Marilyn Mahoney and Glenn Goggin. They can be seen downtown at 404 Seventh St. NW.

Yuriko Yamaguchi is not altogether unknown: she has been included in several recent invitationals, displaying greater strength each time. Here she is showing several small, carved wooden "objects" hung in arrangements on the wall. From a distance they look like old kitchen and farm tools -- choppers, harness parts, brushes, flasks. But closer inspection reveals an array of wholly invented forms, all beautifully carved or assembled from wood.

There are two distinct works. "Cohabitation" consists of four pairs of sensuous, beautifully finished forms, all rubbed with dark paint and projecting distinctly erotic overtones. "Under the Sun" has 21 pieces, each with a different form and textural surface; they are painted, drawn upon, incised and sometimes embellished with handmade paper and fiber. Yamaguchi is a master craftsman and a master of expressive form as well. We will hear more of her.

Juan Mayer, who has not shown before, also makes a strong impression here, with four sculptures, some wall-hung -- all monumental, primal forms that appear to be cast from lead.

But, like Yamaguchi, Mayer deceives the eye: these works are carved from pine that has been overlaid with thin sheets of lead and then burnished. Adding interest are the constantly oxidizing surfaces, which continue to change as iridescent glints of red, blue and black appear and disappear. A wall-hung piece shaped like a clam shell and a tall, free-standing curve take best advantage of this unusual combination of media.

Lenore Winters' wall pieces are also unusual, and look like paintings that have taken leave of the canvas. Her "brushstrokes" are made from flat strips of oil-painted plaster, attached directly to the wall with Velcro.

Incongruous domestic melodramas featuring half-nude folks in cowboy boots are the subject of Glenn Goggin's color-pencil drawings. Dream-like stage sets have inspired Marilyn Mahoney's large acrylic paintings; her work had far more punch in black and white, and on a smaller scale.

The show continues through Oct. 30, Tuesdays through Saturdays 11 to 5. Marie Ringwald at Foundry

If you've forgotten how pleasant the beach can be on a sunny summer afternoon, Marie Ringwald's show at Foundry Gallery will bring it all back. Filled with bright, deliciously colored paintings on paper (and some less interesting ones on canvas) they recall--in flattened, design-like forms -- things like sand and sunny skies and stars and stripes and awning chairs. To reinforce the mood, Ringwald thoughtfully has brought in some big wooden lawn chairs from home, making this one of the few galleries in town where you can sit down and enjoy yourself at the same time.

In addition to her gift for color, Ringwald also has an extraordinary talent for conveying a special sense of place, and she does it through the most minimal means. Despite their tiny size, several wall-hung constructions do this: The three-part bit of wood-patchwork titled "Silver Farm Buildings" warmly recalls the beauty of an aged barn, while "Turquoise Closed Window" evokes a very different mood suggesting abandonment. This is a strong artist and a strong show. It will continue at 641 Indiana Ave. NW through October. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 to 5. 'Big Al' Carter at WPA

Allen D. Carter -- better known as "Big Al," painter of outdoor murals -- is having an indoor show at Washington Project for the Arts. It starts with several highly expressive drawings and paintings of people, and ends with some big, goony paintings and constructions featuring Bugs Bunny, Howdy Doody and other cartoon characters.

Carter works in several different modes, but is at his best when he paints expressionist portraits such as "Red Line 4," and the Rouault-like king of "Yellow 2," in which fiery eyes transfix the viewer. Equally riveting are the drawing of "Mrs. Jones" and a crackled painting on an old tray that recalls the portrait of Dorian Gray. Audiences agree; all of these works have been sold. Carter's show continues through Nov. 5 at 404 Seventh St. NW. Hours are Mondays through Fridays 10 to 5, Saturdays 11 to 6.