Visual Arts Picks

FRANCESCA BERRINI AND MANDY GREER

Whimsy can be a dangerous path, but Berrini and Greer manage to be fanciful without succumbing to the sappy, precious, limp, self-indulgent, or sentimental. Berrini constructs her intricate topographies with loving care. She makes the real unreal by snipping maps of actual places into small squares and reconfiguring them, mosaic-like, into unknown realms, maintaining the abstract language of maps even as she loses the labels. Giotto-blue forms become gulfs; dense, jumbled lines designate population centers; and a sun-soaked, golden desert is an unidentified "Oasis." There is something both anarchic and utopian in Berrini's scrambled fantasy lands; they are what Robert Hughes called "landscapes of pleasure." In the gallery's long front room, Greer's sculptures and assemblages, made from cast-off materials like thrift-store fabric and cardboard scraps, are incongruously opulent, fiercely frilly. Her allegorical installation features a Parrot Princess and Wolf Prince and what appears to be their grand, snow-white matrimonial suite, composed of a yarn pom-pom chandelier suspended over a spiraling rag rug. The resplendent green parrot amorously perches on a sequin-encrusted branch; her beak glitters and an oversized bow festoons her throat. The prince, a mangy, decidedly off-white knight in shining armor, is so fetching (in a reprobate kind of way), you just want to pinch his shaggy jowls. Delicate, crocheted tassels of drool hang from his jaw. His bust extends from a curvaceous frame decked with pleated layers of fabric and lace, tenderly sewn, like a shrine to true love.Priceless Works Gallery, 619 North 35th St., Suite 100, 206-349-9943, noon-6 p.m. Thurs.-Sun. Ends Sun. May 2. ELISE RICHMAN

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