I'm not so jazzed about the 2D works in Alexis Granwell and Carrie Scanga's "Ballast/Break" in Lawndale Art Center's project space, but there is some pretty nice 3D stuff going on. There's nothing wrong with Granwell's large drypoint and monotype prints, images that look like architectural sketches for yurts. They just aren't that interesting.
Granwell's sculpture, however, has much more potential. Her best work in this small show is Palimpsest and Things to Come (2011), a tall, narrow structure that takes an angular network of wire wrapped with creamy white handmade paper and props it up with a scaffolding of randomly sized one-by-twos. It's light, elegant and clunky all at the same time.
Meanwhile, Scanga's little works on paper present images of house-like forms. Completely competent, just kinda dull. But when she starts using that paper to build architectural forms, the work becomes much more powerful.
She creates bricks from paper and builds a short, chimney-like structure. It rests on strands of wire stretched across the gallery, seeming to float in the air. The artist printed etchings on tracing paper and then wrapped the paper around bricks. She creased the edges, removed the brick and taped the paper back together into a brick-like form.
The structure is incredibly light and fragile, slowly sagging into itself under its own weight. It's a nice piece and was apparently going to be much taller, but airflow from the gallery's vent was problematic. The black-and-white image on the exhibition brochure shows an amazing floor-to-ceiling structure. I'd love to see that one as well.
"Alexis Granwell and Carrie Scanga: Ballast/Break" runs through January 7 at Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main, For information, call 713-528-5858.
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