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The Arts
07.08.09

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Phaedra

Old Discoveries

Artists refashion what has been left behind

By Gretchen Giles


W hen Ahna Adair found an abandoned cardboard box in the lobby of her S.F. apartment building, she looked inside. The box contained the full makings of a woman's suit, circa early 1960, replete with paper pattern and a particularly vicious brown, orange and green tweed fabric. Adair has since exhaustively examined her neighbor's unwanted clothing, laying it and photographing its components, unraveling and re-weaving the thread onto sterling silver spools, using the remade thread to trace the pattern's pattern onto the wall, felting components of the dreaded tweed into discs, making sterling silver buttons from "extra" tweed, separating the suit's grim spectrum into disparate color piles, making cardboard cutouts of the original pattern pieces. . . phew.

Adair's thorough investigation is one part of "(RE)Consider," a group exhibit of recent MFA graduates working with found items curated by artist Cameron Kelly and showing at ArtSpace404 through July 16. On Saturday, July 11, Kelly and co-exhibitors Adair, Alicia Escott, Julia Goodman and Amy Keefer host a slumber party in the exhibit space. Exhorting those who are game to bring unfinished projects in all media and even long-neglected mending jobs, the artists intend to sit up all night working before hitting the floor with sleeping bags.

Those who are tempted to this party will be rewarded by spending time in the gallery space. Kelly takes the language of fashion and applies it to a tree limb she rescued from the side of the road and placed on leather and satin pillows (above). Rocks she has found are cosseted in remade fabric "packages," zippered or buckled up and placed on hand-hewn benches or wheeled platforms—all accompanied by zippy text lampooning our serious devotion to frivolous human endeavors and neglect of the ripe beauty of the natural world.

Julian Goodman has documented her grief over her father's death by using the 11 months' worth of junk mail his address continued to receive after his passing and pulping it into sculpture. On an adjacent wall, Alicia Escott has drawn images of wild animals taken from old National Geographic magazines onto mattress bags and Stella McCartney corn-based shopping bag, the art guaranteed to disintegrate before the baggies do. Amy Keefer obsessively crochets her boyfriend's used tank tops into their own private language when she's not crocheting metal in response to the rise and fall of the gold market. These women are smart.

ArtSpace404 hosts "Unfinished Projects" overnight on July 11 from 4pm. 404 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. Free. 707.579.2787.


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