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Good dirt

Dirt, Detritus and Vermin finds the beautiful details in degenerate objects.

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Janice Wright Cheney's Encroach
  • Janice Wright Cheney's Encroach

Usually people don't care to notice the delicate intricacies of dirt, detritus and vermin, but these works by Cal Lane, Sarah Saunders and Janice Wright Cheney have managed to transform what at first glance looks like a mess into a beautiful and thoughtfully detailed scene. Curators Katie Belcher and Ingrid Jenkner brought the works together as an examination of "the decorative applied to 'degenerative' subject matter," says Belcher. Working separately, the three created the pieces that form an exhibit with a narrative. Lane has carefully sifted dirt through lace to create a rug-like pattern that could fool the naked eye from afar. Saunders' porcelain slip-cast handkerchiefs (every bit of lace has been fired out, leaving the Hankies with the consistency of a potato chip) litter the floor and Wright Cheney's cockroaches (made of felt, wire, horse hair and shellacked onion peels) look so real it'll make your skin crawl. Drop by and take a look, and then, take a closer look.

To August 8, Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, 166 Bedford Highway, 457-6160

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