Overgrowth & Understory

The poet Joyce Kilmer famously wrote, “I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree.” The Center on Contemporary Art curators of “Overgrowth & Understory,” a series of 15 sculptures by regional artists in the meadows of Cougar Mountain, seem to have gotten the message. Rather than trying to compete with the landscape of the Issaquah Alps—a losing proposition among the sun-dappled foliage and sweeping views of Lake Sammamish—the best art here blends into its environment. Sarah Savidge’s Sea Changes, a box of blue and white glass shards in a pattern that will shift over time, seems organic, more accumulated than installed. Burnt Offering, a charred, twisted stump embedded with copper wires and mosaic tiles, looks like it was decorated by forest fairies (actually Debra Harvey, Catherine Thompson, and Bob Prowda). But though the art is appealing, the most beautiful part of this exhibit is still the five-mile hike between its two sections. Trees are hard to beat. REBECCA COHEN

July 10-Oct. 2, 2010