5/8/10 3:48 PM
How to capture the magic of a snowy winter’s night in the country, the dark still air fresh with falling flakes? Or the elegance of the moon reflecting on a deep watery lake? Or even the shallow glitter and silly glam of a young starlet tap-tap-tapping away on stage? Plastic beads and bits of fabric and a couple lengths of ribbon might not seem at all adequate to such tasks, but Janis Parker has proved them so. In a unique practice that might best be described as fiber assemblage, Parker thoughtfully scraps together such unassuming materials as fake eyelashes, plastic palettes, crochet doilies and random pieces of jewelry to movingly embody the kinds of situations described above. Alright, so a sassy little starlet isn’t exactly moving, but Parker’s depiction of her is hilarious, all shining lights and chickadee body; even the corners of her frame are touched up with gold and silver paint, as if stage lights. The winter’s night and the reflecting moon, classical subjects of so many a poem and painting, receive welcome new treatment here, appropriately sensitive and intelligent. No crocheted snowflake could ever be exactly like any other; that it also recalls Amerindian dreamcatchers is perfect for a truly wondrous night. The reflected moon, meanwhile, is depicted with a handful of plastic beads, an image seen in water that, because fragmented, must be ebbing. Plastic beads have rarely held such elegance.