Repercussions: Tides & Time

Pretty pictures of mountain ranges are a dime a dozen in the Northwest. Even amateurs carry professional-quality DSLRs into the wilds, and everyone’s weekend trip in the North Cascades ends up as a slideshow on Flickr or screensaver at work. (Oh, look—there’s Mount Shuksan, again, over at Bob’s cubicle in accounting!) Texas artist Jason Urban takes a different approach to alpine scenery in the group show “Repercussions: Tides & Time,” which includes 13 other artists engaging with places natural and built. His 28 banker’s boxes in Desktop Mountaintop are the ordinary sort of cardboard containers we use for moving. They’re ubiquitous tokens of office life that feed reams of paper to our insatiable copiers and printers. Stacked in a grid almost six feet high, they’ve been printed with a somewhat generically pretty mountain scene—maybe the Tetons—of peaks reflected in a high blue lake. The effect is that of an oversized 3-D jigsaw puzzle; none of the facing panels are set perfectly evenly against one another. The broken grid of the picture surface refuses to align into a flattering plane. Empty, the boxes can easily be jostled into further disarray by a passing shoulder or gust of wind. They suggest something transitory and unstable, almost like the grinding tectonic plates that produce mountains. This cardboard vista could tumble at any moment. Or be recycled into paper again, ready to receive a fresh image. (In back: Ellen Ziegler's book of knowledge.) BRIAN MILLER

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-5 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 16, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 7. Continues through Oct. 30, 2010

 
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