One by One: Charming Simplicity

Kinda like origami.

Tucked into a corner near SAM's sleek elevators is a space displaying work by winners of the museum's prestigious Betty Bowen Award. It's currently occupied by a white rectangle of paper puffed out from the wall titled One by One, by Oscar Tuazon. Looking like an unfolded work of origami with a cushion of air captured behind it, the piece is marked only with seams created by folding paper against itself. The triangles lie atop one another, dissected by and layered with additional diagonals. I was charmed by the simplicity of the piece, and by the fact that the artist's hand seems so present: I imagine Tuazon folding and unfolding the photo paper until the textural lines are as wide as he likes. "I print them and fold them up," Tuazon explains, "handle them, impose another logic on them, break them down, make them harder to see." Swollen fat and stuck to SAM's pristine walls with a perimeter of transparent packing tape, One by One is both quiet and playful. And (lucky you) it's housed on the lobby floor, so you won't have to pay admission to see it. A participant in last year's Whitney Biennial, Tuazon shows at STANDARD in Oslo, Norway, and will be part of Miami's Art Basel this December. Based out of Tacoma and Paris (yes, really), he was largely unknown to Seattle audiences until late September, when he won the $11,000 award. Keep an eye out for his upcoming show at Howard House, with brother/collaborator Eli Hansen, scheduled to coincide with a parallel two-man show at SAM, in April 2008. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3100, www.seattleartmuseum.org. Free.

 
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