Matthew Picton

You may have taken notice of cracks in the pavement; maybe you've even contemplated them. But you've got nothing on Oregon's Matthew Picton. The London-born artist captures the spaces between the cracks, crannies, and crooks in parking lots, streets, lakes, ocean beds, and other entities, and turns them inside out. As a result, the viewer can focus on forms that were once voids, and ponder the beauty of the hidden or unnoticed. In Picton's obviously patient hands, carefully photographed cracks in the road are reproduced as either spidery, hanging sculptures made from reinforced Dura-Lar (like Mylar) or as almost-feminine ink-and-paper drawings of incredible detail. The "roadwork" is perhaps what Picton is most appreciated for (one such sculpture was just acquired by the newly revamped De Young Museum in San Francisco). His recent sculptural series based on floor mapping of the Arctic Ocean done by the Russian Navy seems to lack romance in comparison—despite the pieces' cool names such as "nEHUHCKOSO KOMCOMONA" and the exciting possibility there will be a hidden discovery made by looking closer. Perhaps it's because we can relate to the ever-present cracks on the street (and in our lives) that they stir something more within us than scientifically mapped ocean beds, depicted in large, somewhat cold plastic or aluminum-wire sculptures. (Besides, what Seattleite wouldn't covet the locally inspired "Road Surface Drawing, 14th St., Seattle WA, May 16, 2004?" Sorry, it's already sold.) Howard House, 604 Second Ave., 206-256-6399, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Ends May 13.

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