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Destruction and reconstruction in three Raleigh shows 

Lost in place

In two Raleigh shows this month, there are distinct themes of anticipated destruction, confusion and dislocation, while a third exhibition focuses on the restoration of order.

click to enlarge Detail from Mario Marzan's "Sinter Method: Dive and Reappear #21." 12 in. x 12 in. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FLANDERS ART GALLERY

Cycles of Deconstruction
Stephen Floyd and Mario Marzan
Flanders 311
Through July 30

Flanders 311 has paired Stephen Floyd and Mario Marzan in a show whose theme is hurricanes. Floyd has produced a series of pen-and-ink portrait drawings depicting bird's eye views of various cyclones that have borne down on the U.S. mainland over the past century. Below the sketches are short scrawled bios the artist uses to characterize and anthropomorphize each storm. Some are statements of their force, but often Floyd uses his quips as a foil to our typical thinking about these powerful natural occurrences. Hurricane Alicia, for instance, is characterized as "a brat, throwing rocks at windows of skyscrapers." These quirky statements are the more compelling ones in the show as they humanize the inhuman and explore the vacuum between our human condition and the forces of devastation and power in nature.

If Floyd's work is about the whirlwind that destroys, Marzan's images are about a flurry of building (or rebuilding). His work incorporates many architectural elements in various stages of completion: Tumbling gabled house shapes and open platforms connected by ladders are depicted swirling within exquisitely rendered nebulous fractal and web-like shapes. Marzan's work is primarily concerned with presence and transformation; he continually navigates the fertile territory between the physical and the psychological.

click to enlarge A still from Thad Kellstadt's "Freeride" - PHOTO COURTESY OF LUMP GALLERY

The Middle of Nowhere
Lump Gallery
Through June 27

At Lump Gallery, The Middle of Nowhere, curated by Jerstin Crosby, also deals in a realm similar to that of the dazed aftermath of natural disasters. Though not directly referencing storms, the work on display is concerned with spatial dislocation. This group show's main subject is the lack of a sense of place as embodied by the show's title. The 10 selected artists explore how our contemporary condition relates to this notion, employing a diverse palette utilizing prints, paintings, photos, sound pieces, mixed-media and video works. At times, the works seem haphazardly assembled, rather than being specific pieces oriented around the theme of the show, but that, on the other hand, fits the theme of disjointedness. Perhaps most appealing are the video broadcasts by Thad Kellstadt, who arranged for them to be shown on cable access television as a part of Crosby's ongoing community project series.

click to enlarge Sarah Lindley's "Smallest Miniature of Sara Ploos Van Amstel's" - PHOTO BY TIM THAYER
  • Photo by Tim Thayer
  • Sarah Lindley's "Smallest Miniature of Sara Ploos Van Amstel's"

Housing Petronella
Sarah Lindley
Artspace
Through June 27

At Artspace, Sarah Lindley has created intricate reworkings of elaborate antique cabinets displayed as skeletal frameworks built from thin, fired black ceramic slabs. Utilizing 17th- or 18th-century Dutch cabinet houses as a starting point, Lindley reconfigures them as pared-down structures which appear more like welded steel or iron-bar structures. There are some technical challenges also, as Lindley pushes the clay to perform at the limit of its structural capacity. (There's a reason why you don't generally see long and narrow pieces of fired clay around much—too prone to breakage.)

The original cabinets had elaborate features that replicated domestic home interiors as miniature art objects for their affluent owners. Lindley subverts this notion by reducing the concept of the original massive carved wooden cabinets to pure, lean structure, questioning the notion of such idyllic domestic interiors. Basic sculptural concepts of space and form are also turned inside out; her material choice expresses fragility rather than affluence and stability.

Most fascinating is how the final works carefully correspond with the artist's preliminary drawings. They appear as bold sketches in space first and foremost.

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