An inch-high desk with spindly old-fashioned legs topped with a minuscule coffee-stained porcelain cup and an ink-marked square of paper. Tucked inside the window of Catherine Person Gallery—and visible only from the street—this hand-crafted sculpture is part of an urban installation series by Rick Araluce entitled “Fragments of a Life.” The artist situated tiny plastic furnishings (clothbound books, a carved chair, a bird’s nest, and what looks like a hundred-year-old lightbulb fixture) in alleys, storefronts, and galleries downtown, mostly in Pioneer Square. Represented by William Traver Gallery since 1997 (the teeny bird’s nest is attached to a tree branch outside their Seattle gallery window), Araluce has been garnering attention recently: A 2008 Artist Trust GAP grant paid for this project, and the artist will participate in the Tacoma Art Museum’s ninth Northwest Biennial, opening in January. (Currently, a series of Araluce’s miniatures is on view in NYC’s OK Harris Gallery.) These tiny objects are reminiscent of another time: The chair (on Araluce’s site anyway, because it’s disappeared from its nook in the alley) looks like one my grandmother owned, while the dark-stained desk could match it. A bird’s nest is a sort of timeless icon of the hearth, while the books also speak of home. On the street, these miniatures seem to offer a bit of nostalgia. Seen amid the worn bricks of Pioneer Square, these dollhouse-sized furnishings seem to want to provide a fragment of narrative, but, sad to say, most of the sculptures are no longer in place outside the gallery walls.
web.mac.com/rickaraluce. Free. Ends Oct. 22.
Oct. 15-22, 2008