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In the Windows–trash, sluts, naked ladies and Tacoma!

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on March 25, 2009 at 6:00 am with No Comments »
March 25, 2009 6:00 am

Diane Kurzyna, “Another White Trash Wedding.” Photo courtesy Diane Kurzyna.

The spring installations in the Woolworth Windows are finally up–well, most of them–and they’re definitely worth a walk-by.

Down on Commerce St, Diane Kurzyna has created a floating Jewish wedding out of plastic bags. Kurzyna, a.k.a. Ruby Re-usable, is the queen of trash art, having created her life-size human figures out of plastic and bubble-wrap for Seattle exhibitions and Olympia street windows. With the delightfully titled “Another White Trash Wedding,” though, Kurzyna combines figures with decoration and props for an entire wedding scene: bride, groom, cake, flower girl, the lot. Looking oddly solid, the sculpted plastic bags are white for the bride, black for the groom, both of whom float on chairs from the ceiling in a nod to the Jewish tradition of lifting the couple. Faceless, with postures that don’t connect to anything, they hang as if in a dream. The blue plastic flower-girl behind them is rather gruesome, like a strangled baby, with crime-scene tape dangling from a crown-of-thorn garland. But the wedding cake is great, adorned with plastic detritus (forks, lids, bread tags) in a symmetrical juxtaposition of beauty and waste.

Up the hill at Broadway and South 9th Street begins a series of giant black-and-white prints. They’re the brainchild of last month’s King’s Books Wayzgoose, an annual festival of letterpress folks: Local artists designed woodcuts, linocuts or whatever, then drove a small steamroller over the inked up cut to make a series of enormous prints. Lots of fun to watch, and even better that the results get a little longer exposure in the Windows. One of the best is the Tacoma tribute by Beautiful Angle (Tom Llewellyn and Lance Kagey)–our fair city as a tube of toothpaste oozing black goodness. (Pardon my shot of the reflected cityscape.)

Tacoma’s pioneer lady Thea Foss gets a tribute, too, from Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary in a well-designed fantasy of Foss as a tugboat figurehead, and her famous quote (“There are so many things left to do”) enscrolled in a mermaid typeface.

Local cartoonists’ league CLAW gets their manic insignia (a skull in a fez, with crossed pencils) in backwards, while Chris Sharp scunges up a picture-postcard image of Mt. Rainier with–what else?–inkblots.

In the middle window, Portland artist Mark Clarson aim to create a visual narrative with photo-novella-style characters, but in fact the three images (two blonde sluts and a plaid-shirted lout) tell a boring tale with no subtleties.

Most intriguing right now is Chandler O’Leary, who’s hard at work painting a mural taking up the longest window space of them all (walls, ceiling and floor.) Here’s a snap I took of her yesterday:

She’s creating gigantic, Amazonian nudes on a background of patterns ranging from mountains to leaves to wallpaper. Muscled and lean, these women are both domestic and environmental goddesses. If you pass by, stop and say hi; it must feel a bit exposed painting your heart out in a shop window.

The Woolworth Windows, run by Tacoma Contemporary, are on view 24/7 along Broadway near South 11th Street, and on Commerce and South 11th Streets, Tacoma. www.tacomacontemporary.org

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