Lacey Jane Roberts

Like a burr in a cashmere sweater, there’s one work that catches you—literally halts your progress—in The Mysterious Content of Softness, which features dozens of pieces by 11 fiber artists. Strategically placed across a short passageway, the big pink yarn fence that is We Couldn’t Get In. We Couldn’t Get Out checks your momentum through the generally interesting, eclectic show. You’ve been detained, like a gallerygoer at Gitmo. New York artist Lacey Jane Roberts tops her chain-link fence with razor wire (also woven yarn); and the whole edifice is both comical and menacing. A child could easily claw through the hanging mesh, but it suggests a whole sad world of military jails, immigrant holding pens, prison yards, and other forms of incarceration. Invented in mid-19th-century England, cyclone fences are the perfect product of the Industrial Revolution. (Appropriately, the inventor adapted a cloth weaving process to work with wire, as Roberts is surely aware.) Chain-like is today one of the the most mundane and invisible materials of the city—until you start looking for a gate or find yourself climbing over one (a lost art, really, practiced today by teenagers and on TV cop shows). But Roberts’ concertina wire up top couldn’t actually cut anyone; there’s no danger to the piece, only the residual reminder of unwanted confinement, the thin barrier between captive and jailer. BRIAN MILLER

Fridays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: Feb. 4. Continues through June 26, 2011

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