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May 9th, 2007 RICHARD SPEER | Visual Arts
 

Heart of glass

Andy Paiko deconstructs beauty and function using coyote skeletons.

     
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Andy Paiko is a glass blower in the Venetian tradition. In the past he has created goblets, candlesticks and other assorted vessels that are well-crafted and beautiful, if not particularly original. In his current show at Guardino, however, the artist goes out on a limb with works of blown and sculpted glass that are both utilitarian and fanciful. His Spinning Wheel is fully functioning, as is his Seismograph—on opening night, children jumped up and down to make the instrument record their movements. Other works are more inscrutable in their purpose. Glass encasements hold deer spines, coyote skeletons and mink skulls. Other cases hold sea lion teeth and mouse skulls. There is a five-and-a-half-foot-tall syringe with a rubber plunger, which the Jolly Green Giant might use to shoot up with. Wherefore these impractical designs? As Paiko counter-questions in his statement: “Must a vessel be used in order to be functional? Does a functionless sculpture have a real purpose outside of aesthetic contemplation?” To which we respond with a resounding “No.” Good for Paiko for evolving past stemware into conceptual works that question the relationship of beauty to purpose. 2939 NE Alberta St., 281-9048. Closes May 29.
Scottish-born painter Crawfurd Adamson, who now resides in England, displays a utility of brush stroke and finesse with the figure that place him at the crossroads of expressionism and impressionism in his show at the Broderick Gallery. In works such as Pub Scene and Waiting for the Right Moment, he employs a loose technique and a vibrant, earth-toned palette to suggest facial features, body posture and the directionality of light. Alone is a meditation on the Baudelairean “lonely crowd,” its protagonist shaded on one side with orange, on the other with crimson and dark blue. It is in his single-figure studies that Adamson shines most brilliantly through. Standing articulates the figure’s shoulder blades with the aid of bracing turquoise and aqua accents, while Yumino juxtaposes delicate, delicate forearms and fingers with meaty Michelangelan feet. The artist, who sometimes paints with his canvases upside-down to impart a semi-abstract sense of composition divorced from narrative, succeeds in creating psychologically insightful vignettes of everyday life, emerging from pools of limpid color. 814 SW 1st Ave., 224-4020. Closes May 31.
 
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