Elinor Carucci, Tom Baldwin


Nudes are somewhat overdone in the art world, but Elinor Carucci's work is refreshing despite its sometimes clichéd subject matter. Her latest show, titled "Closer," is a collection of beautifully bleak portraits emphasizing the luminescence of human flesh—often in opposition to dark, empty backgrounds. The photos are unsettling yet enticing and offer glimpses into possibly troubled private lives. Carucci focuses her work on the ordinary: Ebony stitches protrude from a woman's delicate fingertip, deep blue veins show through pale skin, a woman plucks a single black hair from her breast, and a dark carpet of hair sprouts from a man's naked legs in these intricate images. Other photos capture the relationship between pairs of naked individuals: man and woman, woman and woman, mother and daughter (pictured), and father and daughter. The work is careful, moving, and genuine, taking what we see in our everyday lives and transforming it into something unusual and fascinating. Photographic Center Northwest, 900 12th Ave., 206-720-7222. Noon-9:30 p.m. Mon.; 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tues.-Sun. ANIKA WILSON


Baldwin, who lives in Hawaii, has been working in digital art for a number of years, and his work has been getting more abstract. Earlier pieces involved taking photographs of urban wastelands and celebrities and replacing the images bit by bit with Day Glo digital colors. In his latest project, Baldwin has created a series of small circular panels in collaboration with Vienna-based artist Gilbert Bretterbrauer. Each of the pieces starts as a series of simple graphic motifs (vague outlines of trees, phone receivers, cars, maplike shapes) that become transformed and obscured in an e-mail give-and-take between the two artists. Baldwin has the final aesthetic say, and the resulting near-abstract works are vibrant and bursting with exuberance (Untitled #14 is pictured). Interestingly, the pieces look better on a computer as digital files than as prints on the wall—which isn't surprising, considering their origin. Still, this is a rewarding show—each piece displays a lot of color and vibrancy. Each one has the feel of a diagram, a map, or some other sort of graphic display, but rather than conveying information, the pictures are empty ciphers, pure mandalas of meaningless (and pleasurable) color and form. James Harris, 309A Third Ave., 206-903-6220. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat. ANDREW ENGELSON

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