Taking on the theme of parents and children with a winning directness, Parenthesis is a brilliant, bighearted fun house of an exhibit. Jennifer Zeyl has recreated staircases from her childhood home, and these form the entrance and provide access to the upper-level galleries. They make going through the show like wandering around a stage set. The homey, Middle-American details of Zeyl's oversized recreations (mail slot, ugly light fixtures, kitschy wall hanging) set a mood of incongruous domesticity that brings out the goofy, welcoming vibe of Roy McMakin's gallery design as never before. The videos that make up the bulk of the show—there are also photos and a freestanding wall built by a father-and-son team—may not exactly be my cup of low-budget obscurity, but for once it somehow feels meaningful to sit and puzzle out (for example) the video of Neil Goldberg's parents reading the artist's accounts of dreams. And not just because of the fantastic, loungey couches. Parenthesis marks the first time that individual artworks can be seen to be so clearly part of a coherent sensibility on the part of gallery owners Bill and Ruth True and director Eric Frederickson: funny, absurdist, open-ended, and full of sentiment without being sentimental.
3412 Fourth Ave. S., 838-7444, westernbridge.org. Thurs.–Sat. Noon–6 p.m. Ends Dec 19.-- Read more of David Stoesz's The Slutty Eye.