Release & Capture

It’s not often I find myself on the Eastside to see an art show, but Kirkland Arts Center is looking a lot more interesting lately—especially this smart group show of works on paper, curated by Seattle writer and art-scene guy Fionn Meade. The pieces are spare and restrained: Mary Simpson’s little dramas, composed of cutout men and Victorian row houses, owe a lot of their mystery to the fact that the figures have been stolen from their context and plopped down on a blank page. Gretchen Bennett’s sly contact-paper compositions capture nature in extremes, including a series of ducks plummeting down a wall after being shot from the sky. Meanwhile, Claire Cowie’s paper mobiles and minimalist figurative paintings continue to confound me—her stuff just seems too cute to amount to much. More substantial are Saul Becker’s weird abstract landscapes crisscrossed with rainbows of color—it’s as if he’d started doing a seascape in the style of Hokusai and then, midway through, dropped acid and listened to Pink Floyd. As usual, the most interesting thing about Perri Lynch’s multimedia pieces is the accompanying soundtrack, this one of raindrops and synthesized cacophony. Marc Dombrosky’s work—which involves hand-embroidering notes and trash he’s found on the street— continues to fascinate, while Dawn Cerny’s simply drawn menageries of birds and prisons (including Clump of Birds, pictured) offer sweet meditations on limits and freedom. Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market St., 425-822-7161. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.