In "Barely Visible," that which is usually swept under the carpet is deemed worthy of contemplation, even elevated to the status of art. Currently on display at Solomon Fine Art, the work of Marc Dombrosky and Cynthia Lin—scraps of discarded paper and representations of dirt, respectively—defy typical connotations of both "art" and "trash."
Lin masterfully crafts images of dust, hair, and lint. Her drawings, displayed horizontally under removable panes of glass, create a paradox: sublime filth. The artist builds up layers of either enamel or gesso over paper on which she draws with silverpoint or graphite. The result is a gathering of precise marks whose final form faithfully represents her subject, while equally lending itself to more abstract visions, such as birds in flight or a mysterious alphabet. Titles such as Itch or Breath make deliberate allusion to the body, giving new, artistic meaning to the expression "dust to dust."
Whereas Lin's strength is her technical ability—her drawings are veritable trompe l'oeils—Dombroski relies on the kindness of strangers for artistic inspiration. He painstakingly embroiders found pieces of paper, using needle and thread to highlight discarded doodles, to-do lists, and algebraic notations. In Remember (pictured), the artist stitches over a scrawled note in the shape of a cheery blue rabbit that beseeches the viewer to "Remember to take I-5 south." His embellished notes are displayed in a loose mound atop a table in the gallery, where viewers can handle them only after donning a pair of white gloves designed to protect the artist's work from the destructive oils of the human touch. À la Pygmalion, Dombroski may have scavenged his scraps of paper from the street, but the reworked versions get the royal treatment.
The show's focus on lost, forgotten, or abandoned materials is extremely well timed; "Barely Visible" counters ambitious New Year's resolutions to tidy up by simply letting sleeping dust bunnies lie. Through Fri. Jan. 21. Solomon Fine Art, 1215 First Ave., 206-297-1400. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat.