An inch-high desk with spindly old-fashioned legs topped with a minuscule coffee-stained porcelain cup and an ink-marked square of paper. Tucked inside the window of Catherine Person Gallery—and visible only from the street—this hand-crafted sculpture is part of an urban installation series by Rick Araluce entitled "Fragments of a Life." The artist situated tiny plastic furnishings (clothbound books, a carved chair, a bird's nest, and what looks like a hundred-year-old lightbulb fixture) in alleys, storefronts, and galleries downtown, mostly in Pioneer Square. Represented by William Traver Gallery since 1997 (the teeny bird's nest is attached to a tree branch outside their Seattle gallery window), Araluce has been garnering attention recently: A 2008 Artist Trust GAP grant paid for this project, and the artist will participate in the Tacoma Art Museum's ninth Northwest Biennial, opening in January. (Currently, a series of Araluce's miniatures is on view in NYC's OK Harris Gallery.) These tiny objects are reminiscent of another time: The chair (on Araluce's site anyway, because it's disappeared from its nook in the alley) looks like one my grandmother owned, while the dark-stained desk could match it. A bird's nest is a sort of timeless icon of the hearth, while the books also speak of home. On the street, these miniatures seem to offer a bit of nostalgia. Seen amid the worn bricks of Pioneer Square, these dollhouse-sized furnishings seem to want to provide a fragment of narrative, but, sad to say, most of the sculptures are no longer in place outside the gallery walls.
The window of Catherine Person Gallery, 319 Third Ave. S., web.mac.com/rickaraluce. Free. Ends Oct. 22.