Visual Arts Picks

FABRICA FILES/TAKING CARE

Some exhibits shouldn't be seen before dining out. In Margot Quan Knight's photograph Meat Feet, shoelaces are being used to tie up not shoes, but the actual open flesh of a pair of feet. Currently gracing the cover of Art Access, the image may be single-handedly responsible for declining restaurant business in Belltown. From 2000 to 2002, Knight, a Seattle native and recent Dartmouth grad, was a sponsored artist at Fabrica, the Benetton Research and Development Communication Centre in Italy, and her "Fabrica Files" have some of the same glossy shock value that Benetton ads strive for, with a copywriter's love of puns. Knead depicts a fleshy mid-section lain upon a floured surface and Button flirts with "belly" as a human Velveteen Rabbit in mid-life crisis tenderly stitches up the stuffing spilling forth from his ample gut. For the photographs in "Taking Care," Knight created molds of human body parts by painting plastic wax onto actual bodies, then casting the forms in plaster before sculpting, sanding and painting them with flesh-colored acrylic paint. These blobs evoke a precious cluster of eggs in Nest (seen above, in black and white); in Aftermath II they seem like detritus haphazardly tossed from an indifferent sea. Rather than messy, rotting flesh, Knight's manufactured body parts appear to have fallen cleanly and fruit-like to the floor; her subjects have quite literally fallen to pieces. Clearly her time with Benneton has paid off; as with any good sales pitch, you're not aware of the strategy so much as the wit. Atelier 31, 2500 First Ave., 206-448-5250, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Tues.; 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. May 2. SUZANNE BEAL

ART & DESIGN BFA SHOW

Cornish has been keeping the local scene dependably stocked with talent, and the show from this year's BFA grads includes several artists to watch. Michelle Sciumbato's scribbles of watercolor on bare wood map out boredom and frustration, while Ephraim Peniston's lovely, paranoid paintings unite fantastic landscapes with that weird eyeball on the back of the dollar bill. I'm also fond of Jason Matsune's plain white canvases, from which vertebrae-like shapes struggle to burst forth, and Julia Gfroerer's simple but very human paintings of friends and costumed performers (see above left). Also deserving your attention (see above right): conceptual artist Elisheba Johnson's coloring books of adult failures (coke addicts, the Bush administration) and her self-explanatory "Everything I Wanted to Say But Couldn't So They Are in Fortune Cookies." 306 Westlake Ave. N. (Trick & Murray Building) 206-726-5011. Noon-7 p.m. daily. Ends Fri. May 7. ANDREW ENGELSON

 
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