Artist Collective: Toy

As a girl, photographer Grace Weston played alone in her bedroom, devising life stories for people she’d made out of pipe cleaners. “One of my brothers had just died, and the other was very sick,” she recalls. “I felt very isolated. At the same time, I didn’t want to create any problems for a family that already had plenty.” Weston now uses toy photo tableaux to illustrate how children use play to cope with (i.e., escape from) difficult realities. On the other side of the spectrum is glass artist Tomoko Yoshitake, whose work urges adults to reclaim the carefree playfulness of childhood. She says her adorable teddy bears and bubblegum machines are reminders “for grown-ups who haven’t blown bubblegum for decades.” The two are featured with fellow locals Susan Arthur, Sarah Dillon, Alexandra Gjurasic, Kate Sweeney, and Grace Ellen Wixted in the group show “Toy” (through September 27), which offers multiple interpretations of the significance of toys in our culture. Some of the art is cheerful, some creepy, and all of it will have you reconsidering what kids do with their Barbie dolls and Transformers. Gallery 110, 112 S. Washington St., 624-9226, Free. Noon–5 p.m. ERIKA HOBART

Wednesdays-Sundays, noon. Starts: Sept. 3. Continues through Sept. 27, 2008

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