Chairness

Drew Daly at Wright Exhibition Space.

How many standard-issue wood chairs does it take to make a work of art? You have to destroy them first, of course, or at the very least corrupt their very chairness. Drew Daly's carefully wrought Mirror Merge is one of the strongest pieces in "Century 21: Dealer's Choice," the exhibit of Northwest art currently on view at the Wright Exhibition Space. Mirror Merge is an angular imposition, a spiky sculpture, with a look like that of a fast-growing teenager: all pointed elbows and a certain graceful awkwardness. Twelve wood chairs, Bondo, and lacquer compose this piece, which reads a bit like a stopped twirl. In an exhibit that some are hoping might begin a Seattle-based Northwest biennial, but that others are saying is rather uneven (it is), not so many younger artists are represented. Born in 1973, Daly is one of the few. His cut and reassembled chairs nod to cubism, reading like a gaggle of angular dancers pressed into each other on their grey-blue tiptoes, or like a crowd of furniture pushed aside—a stop-action shove, with part of a leg lost here, part of a seat lost there. Twelve seating platforms have become six angular folded ones, from which a prospective sitter would slide to the floor. It's precisely this playfulness, coupled with a slight sense of physical discomfort, that makes this sculpture stand out.

 
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