Wade Kavanaugh’s Regrade

Belltown’s Suyama Space is situated on a plot of land unearthed by rushing water. Sixteen million cubic yards of soil were blasted from Denny Hill in the early 1900s—the city planners’ big idea to create a thriving business district in what came to be known as the Denny Regrade. Inside the gallery, through December 12, bricks of sheetrock are now stacked waist-high, replicating the flow of earth hosed into Elliott Bay. Maine artist Wade Kavanaugh’s Regrade is an interior landscape comprised of ten thousand hand-crafted bricks. This cheap, mass-produced building material becomes something unique, a one-off you couldn’t buy at Home Depot. Kavanugh suggests a do-over of the sluiced hill by using construction materials in what was, in essence, a destruction project. The gallery’s expansive space is taken over, made claustrophobic, almost as if mud were coursing through the room and toward the waterfront, just blocks away. I wonder if the resident architects at Suyama Peterson Deguchi feel implicated by this piece, which reminds us how we flattened out a hill with glorious Seattle views. Or maybe they read Regrade as I do: a piece of abstract history made tactile. Kavanaugh has built a beautifully uncomfortable room. Suyama Space, 2324 Second Ave., 256-0809, www.suyamapetersondeguchi.com. Free. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ADRIANA GRANT

Mondays-Fridays. Starts: Oct. 1. Continues through Dec. 12, 2008

 
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