Euan Macdonald

Euan Macdonald puts nature in its place for his show “A Little Ramble.” Or puts it out of place. That tension is felt most acutely in the massive, two-story indoor installation that gives the exhibit its name: A fake, snowy peak adorned with taxidermy mountain goats. It’s so large that you have to survey it from several angles, circle it downstairs, then peer at the goats from the loft. Especially during our presently mild El Niño winter, the frigid summit seems profoundly strange, but Macdonald—a Scotsman based in sunny L.A.—is intent on such environmental dislocation. His drawing The Tower seems an ordinary radio antenna until you realize its bulk is buried in ancient geologic strata, with only the tip above ground. Upstairs, his tabletop diorama 98134—the gallery’s zip code—relocates the SoDo exhibition space onto another snowy mountaintop. It’s like a still-life The Day After Tomorrow, calm scenes from after environmental collapse. Yet the quietest and most effective work comprises a dozen simple drawings that can be read in two directions. Left to right, World Reversal has an empty frame slowly give rise to a cruise ship. Reverse direction (i.e., reverse chronology), and the right to left reading yields a more disturbing progression: The vessel bobs on an ocean that gradually evaporates, until the stranded ship begins to rot and rust to nothingness, and all that’s left are the dried-mud tiles of an ancient seabed turned to desert. BRIAN MILLER

Thursdays-Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Starts: Jan. 16. Continues through April 17, 2010

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