Thomas Glassford is doing some cool stuff in "Pteridomania" at Sicardi Gallery. "Pteridomania" means "fern fever" and was coined in the 19th century to describe the Victorian era obsession with ferns from a botanical, as well as a decorative, standpoint. Glassford displays a range of fern imagery, but the most dramatic works are his leaf sculptures, which use vividly colored acrylic Plexiglas.
Afterglow Hybrid Pendant 1 (2010) is a luminous, almost fluorescent-green work in which giant leaf shapes have been cut from the colored Plexi, stacked on a rod and hung from the ceiling. The shapes appear to have been heated and bent into more naturalist forms; they seem incredibly delicate until you realize they're not actually glass but Plexiglas. Jungala (2010) is Glassford's largest piece, a jungle gym-like framework that sprouts what looks like palm and banana leaves, all in a lush, translucent ruby red. Light passes through Glassford's plexi flora, casting jewel-toned shadows on the floor. They're just pretty darn gorgeous.
(Through March 5. Sicardi Gallery, 2246 Richmond, 713-529-0443.)
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