As a satellite venue for the New West Coast Design exhibition, Bucheon gallery breaks its mold this month with a soft-sided show of fibrous artworks produced by some very talented left coasters. The exhibition's title cleverly poses the question, Is it a Fiber Show? but doesn't provide a clear answer. It might be a fiber show, but it's also a sculpture show and a steel-wool-and-feathers show. It's an animal show, a ceramic underpants show, a design show, and a fleece cactus show. The show is whatever you want it to be.
The New West Coast Design curators have done us a favor. They've journeyed through the three westernmost contiguous states of America, plucked the crème de la crème of new art and design and brought it home for us to see. Out of the six venues where these delectable, hand-picked objects will be on display, bump Bucheon Gallery to the top of your list so you can decide for yourself whether or not it's a fiber show. Emma Luna's trompe l'oeil piles of tightie-whities and washcloths (made of ceramic but expertly rendered to look like fabric) will surely confuse your answer. It could be called a collective filament show. Or an "art with a relationship to fiber" show.
The collection is unintentionally heavy with animal imagery. Mandy Greer's Wolf Princess sculpture greets you at the door, cleverly dressed in sheep's clothing. Greer's other sculptures include a Parrot Princess and a pathetically fabulous pig, made of a soiled pink blanket and dressed up with glittery fabric flowers. Then there are Misako Inaoka's scientifically curious hybrid birds -- you'll notice a mossy-looking frogbird that croaks and puffs its neck out like a frog when its motion sensor kicks in. (See Gallery Crawl video of Inaoka's 2006 show at Blankspace.) A few of Adela Akers's masterfully-woven wall hangings are on display, and, while they don't look like animals, they are woven with horsehair.
The undeniable gem of the show is Martha Sue Harris's incredible desert landscape installation made of fleece cacti with exposed roots stretching beneath the velvety ground from which they've artificially grown. Tiny creatures and delicate details peek out from the fantastically sculpted, plush plant life. Also on display is Harris' 2006 stop-motion animation collaboration Jim Coursey, Flaming Spider Root, a film about a cheeky plant who eats a flying mothwart. (See Gallery Crawl video of Harris's 2006 show at 33 Grand.)
Is it a Fiber Show? runs through February 16, 2008 at Bucheon Gallery. New West Coast Design exhibits include:
Contemporary Objects at the Museum of Craft + Design through April 27, 2008.
Jewelry & Metalwork at Velvet Da Vinci Gallery through February 17, 2008.
Book and Book Arts at San Franciscio Center for the Book through April 25, 2008.
The State of the Art Quilt at Art Works Downtown through February 28, 2008.