If human history were underwater, Alwyn O’Brien‘s ceramic vessels could serve as the bleached bones of the Ancien Regime, the decorative drained and dead on a dark sea floor.
4 Descending Notes 2010
Manganese Clay and Glaze
9″ x 7″ x 5 1/2″
Hand-rolled coils make her lacy vessels. Born past their prime, they are in their own weird way pristine.
Story of Looking, 2010 Porcelain and glaze, Two Pieces 12 1/2″ x 14″ x 5″
Following Thelonious Monk, she knows how to use the wrong note. See the brutal foot on the right, below.
Allegory of Something 2010
Manganese Clay and Glaze
10″ x 8 3/4″ x 5 3/8″
At James Harris through Jan. 15.
I realize O’Brien’s show is past its pull date and has been pulled. If we all lived 700 years, my timing would be impeccable. As it is I’m running a bit behind, still looking but allowing my notes from various art forays to remind untranscribed in their notebooks. Without notes, this is what I remember.
Abigail Reynolds at Ambach&Rice, through Jan. 16: Pop-up books have their own gravity, their flourishes unfurling and folding back down as each page turns. Reynolds’ intrusions onto the flat surface of printed imagery are always in full pop. She plays a game she invented and rigged in her favor. Any two images, dull as dirt, combine to shine.
The Universal Now: Natwest Tower 2010 Cut and folded vintage bookplates 16.5 x 23.25 inches
Victoria Haven at Greg Kucera, through Feb. 19. Inside any abstraction is a gaudy narrative that refuses to come out. In an abstraction is a blueprint that contains a house but leaves no clues to its construction. Although Victoria Haven’s supple geometries are light on their feet, they have an old-soul resonance. Strike them and they’d ring out, like gongs. Her most recent exhibit at Greg Kucera is a sleight-of-hand look at her sources, which are all about location, location, location. X marks the spot, Washington State.
NORTH X NORTHWEST MYSTIC (Gore-Tex® version), 2010
Gore-Tex®, silver marking film, thread
24 x 27.5 inches
A Gore-Tex® mountain full of lakes and satellites combines natural beauty with high-tech surveillance, Seattle being the town that Boeing built. In her formative years, nuclear submarines cruised through Puget Sound. What was good for the military was good for Seattle. We even named our basketball team in the military’s honor.
THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION (after DFL), 2010
Western red cedar
22 x 23 x 12 inches
“No Fun” comes from a late 1960s song by The Stooges. Carved into a sliced tree, the words rise like pepperoni on pizza pie: junk food forests folded into a four-four beat. I get a strong hit of Gretchen Bennett‘s influence in this show, which Haven uses for her own purposes.
Adam Ekberg at Platform Gallery through Feb. 12. Adam Ekberg is a medievalist, in the sense that he’s happy to dance on the head of a pin. Made of nothing much, his homey spectacles have an endearing flair.
Arrangement #1 2009, archival inkjet print
Available at 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3) and 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)
Carolina Silva at Lawrimore Project, through January. A couple of months ago, Lawrimore Project ceased to operate in the city’s largest gallery space and took up residence in its smallest, a white closet with a window facing Main Street in Pioneer Square, smaller than the smallest booth at a mainstream art fair. It can’t work, I thought, and yet, it’s working.
Carolina Silva is a maker, which means can think with her hands.
Tasks & Errands (individual details). 2010
I love her drawings. They look as if she does them in her sleep.
The Bridge, 2010
Onward to more regular posting….