Troy Gua

Don't hug me, bra. Out-of-towners and transplants always complain about the "Seattle Nice" freeze-out effect; and though Troy Gua is a local, that's also the subject of his N/ICE Teddy bears. The little fellas, plus one larger cousin, have been wrapped in duct tape. No child would ever clutch them for security or take them to bed. Warmth and fuzziness have been encapsulated inside a hard plaster shell (the eight-inch figures are actually cast from molds, then painted). Whatever succor they might've offered is now trapped within a carapace, unreachable. It's all metaphoric, says Gua: "Breaking through the surface to forge a real friendship is a difficult task. We really are those warm and open folk, if you can manage to break through the chilly protective barrier." Or, in a lighter mood, he joked of the bears during the show's opening, "They're my poor-man's Jeff Koons." BRIAN MILLER

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. Starts: Jan. 4. Continues through Jan. 28, 2012

 
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