Michael Spafford

It's hard to talk about Michael Spafford's pictures without sounding like a pretentious art professor—oh, look at the negative space! But, seriously, look at the negative space, battling the foreground for prominence as viciously as the figures depicted battle each other. "One Greek, One Trojan" continues the decades-long exploration of Greek myth by this decidedly unpretentious UW art professor emeritus and father of superstar photographer Spike Mafford. Sharp-edged as traffic-sign icons in the prints (Beheadings and Divine Indifference Next 10 Miles), more blobby and abstract expressiony in the richly textured paintings, Spafford's pictures are claustrophobically cropped, giving your eye no escape from the stylized but gruesome violence. If the sexualized nature of all this brutality (I found myself wondering if one crotch-level shape was a blood geyser or a distended nut sack) brings Abu Ghraib to mind, don't look for any hope for justice here. Zeus' face gazing down at the planet in one print is serene as the Buddha, inscrutable as a sphinx, and helpful as a Pentagon inquiry. In the upstairs gallery: Beth Lo's incisive, affectionate illustrations on porcelain plates of her Chinese-American childhood. Francine Seders Gallery, 6701 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-782-0355. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.- Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. Closes Sun. Feb. 27.

 
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