The Woolworth windows on Broadway and on Commerce are filled with cloud-themed art, beginning with the northern most windows and an installation called "Fabrication" by Janet Marcavage. The walls and the floor are filled with boldly striped patterns in cherry red and plum, blue and white and a wonderfully soft lavender. Printed mostly on paper to emulate the look of folded and billowing cloth, the patterned cloud shapes that hang from the ceiling and cling to the windows set up a challenging interplay between real and fake materials. Some of them are made from fabric and others by cut and folded paper, and it is almost impossible to tell which is which.
"Spaceworks gives the opportunity for experimentation, so I took the opportunity to play further with illusion," Marcavage says.
She explains: "The paper elements in ‘Fabrication' are all printed by hand, including the large red-violet striped paper (meant to look like bunched fabric) on the rear wall in the right window. All of the smaller paper elements are printed and cut out by hand. I included some real fabric in an attempt to combine illusion with the real thing. (The work) celebrates the topography of textile pattern imprinted upon daily life. The work is inspired by striped patterns used on a multitude of items from tablecloths and towels to button-down shirts for men and women. I enjoy the way that lines can render fabric's mutable form, shifting at the folds of everyday life. This installation also stems from my long-term investigation of printmaking's visual language, particularly the use of line hatching in prints dating back several hundred years."
The Marcavage installation is playful and delightful.
Heading toward 11th Street, the clouds settle to the ground like billows of fog in Jennifer Renee Adams' installation, "Equus Cirrus." Cottony clouds hug the floor in this set of windows, and moving through the ground layer of fog is a herd of paper horses. The horses are colored in tones of off-white and tan, and rest on thin legs. Each of the horses stand approximately a foot in height. Rosemary Ponnekanti, writing in The News Tribune, compared them to sculptural horses by Deborah Butterfield. That's a stretch for me. Butterfield's horses are majestic and monumental; these are more like delicate little toys. Adams extends the cloud theme with photographs of clouds taped to the windows. Unfortunately, they add nothing and are a distraction.
The next set of windows, on the corner at 11th, was a work in progress by Kenji Stoll when I visited but should be completed by the time this review hits the streets.
The Commerce Street windows feature an installation by Laura Foster called "Strawcloud/Parlour." The main part of this is a massive swirl of straw woven into rope and meandering through space, twisting and overlapping and circling back on itself, filling the space in front of a wall of early American-style wallpaper. In the next window is a snow-capped mountain sculpted from what appears to be plaster and straw on a bed created from a window shutter on wheels. It does not add anything significant to the installation, which would be much better if the meandering straw rope continued into that space.
[Woolworth Windows; Broadway at 11th and Commerce, through December]