The Fussy Eye: Burnt Nest

Brooklyn artists Stephen Nguyen and Wade Kavanaugh have filled the Suyama atrium with 900 pounds of black craft paper. Flat or folded, the sheets would neatly stack maybe as high as a refrigerator, something you could easily walk around. Instead, however, the pair spent two weeks twisting and heaping the paper into a knotty, undulating mass of strands.

You can barely get around Drawn From the Olympics, skirting the walls surrounding the ropey structure, though there is a little alcove within. What’s being drawn, or alluded to, is the rainforest of our Olympic Peninsula, whence paper products are still extracted from wood pulp. Most of those mills have now closed, of course, and logging there is greatly diminished. Nguyen and Kavanaugh’s gnarled strands suggest unearthed tree roots, perhaps blackened after a fire. Strands reach to the rafters and creep across the floors like charred tentacles.

The piece seems both organic and inert, like the stumps left behind in clear cuts or a bird’s nest made of old twigs. The gnarled structure also recalls a wasp nest, those also being made of paper, on a much larger scale. It’s both delicate and massive. And when the show’s over, the whole thing can be pulped and recycled. Next year its fibers could be found in a phone book, a cereal box, or a newspaper. Suyama Space, 2324 Second Ave., 256-0809, Free. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri. Ends Dec. 13.

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