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Quite Original 

Wednesday, Sep 19 2007
Mutated birds, round spiky footed creatures, and snouted pig/deer hybrids dominate "The Origin of Species." Many of sculptor Misako Inaoka's beasts have motion-sensor contraptions inside, and the tiny beaks open and close like real avians. Objects that were once plain toy animals are now sweet, deformed things tweeting on command. The show is a comment on environmental disasters and their potential outcomes, after the tradition of mutant movies in the radiation-freaked 1950s, sort of. The sculptures have white paint and plaster layered on top of the original bright plastics, and Inaoka has gently sanded them down to show glimpses of feather markings and pig-pink under the pale glaze of sameness. Against the main wall, a giant family tree for these misfits spreads its branches, starting with a lumpy "egg" and multiplying out through generations of fictional individuals, many of whom carry unorthodox numbers of heads. Elsewhere, specimen cases display smaller relatives, and in one corner is a leafy-faced owl, with big blinking eyes and tiny, graceful yellow wings. As flora for the pretty monsters, dead stuff pokes into the corners of the gallery, with stiff dry mushrooms sticking out shelflike and driftwood's impervious roundness echoing the shapes of the critters themselves.
Sept. 5-29, 2007

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Hiya Swanhuyser


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