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Lawndale's Oddly Pretty Paper Plate Snake

Abhidnya Ghuge works with the most common and disposable of materials -- paper plates. Their abundance comes in handy, though. In her site-specific installations, the artist employs them by the thousands to create unusual forms that snake organically across the room.

Her latest installation, poetically yet incomprehensibly titled "Halls without walls, room to feel in. The door awaits you, your return within," takes over the Grace R. Cavnar Gallery at Lawndale Art Center. The somewhat awkwardly shaped room responds well to a work that compels its way through the space, changing how you walk through and forcing you to interact with it. This isn't a flat, unresponsive surface but a dynamic, fleshed-out work with depth; you can see it from all sides and have it completely surround you.

With the paper plates folded up into cones and held in place by a wire frame, the flowing form looks like a coral reef out of water. An original wood block carving is printed on these thousands of paper plates in bright orange, yellow, blue and white colors, further adding to this scaly reef effect. Upon closer inspection, the wood block design is less coral-inspired and more henna -- a nod to the Tyler, Texas-based artist's Indian origins.

It's a highly unusual piece, one that's completely unexpected and oddly pretty. It's best viewed as a whole; up close, it's simply paper plates with prints on them, which isn't so magical. But stepping back and taking it all in, it becomes something else entirely.

"Abhidnya Ghuge: Halls without walls, room to feel in. The door awaits, your return within" at Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main, runs now through June 15. For more information, call 713-528-5858 or visit www.lawndaleartcenter.org.

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