Featured Review: Concurrent: Gina Alvarez, Melody Evans, Damia Smith This exhibit of work by Craft Alliance's inaugural group of artists-in-residence serves as an essay on craft's essence. Here craft-as-art means stripping away the traditional aspect of utility and focusing on the meticulous, serial acts that produce exponentially larger, and ultimately abstract, forms. Evans and Smith derive these small, repeated motifs from the microscopic natural world, and their pieces erupt on the gallery walls in clusters of polyps and creeping cells made of metal, clay and Plexiglas. Their works' nearly floral elegance slyly confuses its malignant origins. Alvarez's forms, on the other hand, are derived from craft itself — stitch lines, doily patterns, the single imprint of a dot. Summoning the French phenomenologist Gaston Bachelard, she states that her work is an extended act of exaggeration intended to both elicit and be a product of wonder. This perspective serves not only to articulate her work, but it is also a summary statement for the show and its survey of the cottage industry of awe. Through August 16 at the Craft Alliance Gallery (Grand Center), 501 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-7528 or www.craftalliance.org. Hours: noon-6 p.m. Wed.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.
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