At Osuna Gallery through Feb. 5, a new exhibit of works by American painter Jean Meisel reaffirms the seemingly indomitable spirit of artists dedicated to nonobjective art. This modernist tradition has a pedigree dating to the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935), and its adherents are as numerous as ever. This says something about the genre's almost endless possibilities as an expressive art form, as well as its almost universal aesthetic appeal.

Meisel is a disciplined and competent painter with considerable color sense. Her canvases sing with the love of painting and process. And in most of these recent works, she displays an ability to achieve the intriguing, feathery surface textures and luminous hues one associates with the work of Rothko or veteran modernist Jacob Kainen. Not one of her color areas is pure. All are to a greater or lesser extent blendings of many tones, which, even from relatively close up, seem to shift and mutate before your eyes.


Keith Brion, who specializes in the music of John Philip Sousa, will conduct the National Symphony Orchestra in "A Star Spangled Sousa Celebration," Thursday and Friday nights at the Kennedy Center.

Two visiting chamber orchestras will perform in the Terrace Theater this week: the Gewandhaus Bach Orchestra of Leipzig, playing Bach and Mozart Wednesday night; the Northern Sinfonia of England, with pianist Jean-Bernard Pommier, playing Mendelssohn, Faure and Schumann Friday night. The D.C. Youth Orchestra will play tomorrow night at Coolidge High School.

Violinist Itzhak Perlman, with pianist Samuel Sanders, will highlight the week's chamber music, Saturday night at George Mason University. Other chamber music this week: the U.S. Marines Chamber Ensemble, today at the Marine Barracks; the Ridge String Quartet, today at NIH; Olivier Charlier, violin, today at the Phillips Collection; the Washington Music Ensemble, Friday at the German Embassy; the Peabody Trio, Saturday in the Terrace Theater; American Chamber Players, Saturday at the Dumbarton Church; Chamber Artists of Washington, Saturday night in the Terrace Theater.

Pianists of the week: Michael Ponti, tonight at the National Gallery; Andre-Michel Schub, Thursday in the Terrace Theater.

The highlight of the week's vocal music will be the New York City Opera Company, performing "The Marriage of Figaro," tonight at George Mason University. Also worth noting: the Boys Choir of Harlem, Saturday afternoon and evening at the Kennedy Center.

Lunch-hour concerts of the week: Mozart's "The Impresario," Thursday at Mount Vernon College; the Washington Bach Consort, Tuesday at the Church of the Epiphany; the Friday Morning Music Club, Friday at the Sumner School.


As part of tomorrow's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the 9:30 club hosts the man whose turntable magic drives Public Enemy -- Terminator X.

Every day is Valentine's Day when Marti Jones and Don Dixon are making sweet (and sometimes sour) music together. At the 9:30 Wednesday.

Rap skillfully smoothed out on the R&B tip has made Bell Biv Devoe one of the groups to watch in the early '90s; the singers join with New Edition mate (and local man made good) Johnny Gill, the balladic Keith Sweat and the irrepressible Monie Love at the Capital Centre Thursday.

Louisiana's Creole culture embraces zydeco and jazz with equal fervor, and Saturday, Lisner hosts two family get-togethers sure to set toes tapping: the Ardoin Family celebrates traditional bayou zydeco with three generations of Ardoins on hand, while Doc Paulin's Dixieland Jazz Band is fired by trumpeter Ernest "Doc" Paulin and five of his sons.