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Peepholes and "Metamorphosis" in downtown Tacoma

Rivers, glowing cells and hidden imagery behind the Woolworth Windows

Barbara De Piro's "Metamorphosis" detail is on display in the Woolworth Windows in downtown Tacoma.

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Elise Koncsek's "Sneak Peek" in theWoolworth Windows is an impressive and fun work of art. It consists of flat, cut-out images in a pop style not unlike children's book illustrations. There are stylized trees and animals, and each one has peepholes at adult and child levels. What you see when you look through the peepholes is surprising as each one is something totally different yet thematically and stylistically consistent. This work is playful and should be fun for both adults and children.

Next to Koncsek's windows heading toward 11th Street on the Broadway side is Barbara De Pirro's "Metamorphosis," which is also impressive. Whereas Koncsek's "Sneak Peek" is playful and light-hearted, De Pirro's "Metamorphosis" is an elegant and solidly built wall-hanging sculpture. It comprises, according to the description on the Spaceworks Tacoma website, a "series of sculptural forms, each representing a metamorphosis, a transformation from the humble into the exceptional." There are groups of tall, pod-like structures, each made from reclaimed plastic bottles that have been cut into cell-like shapes and sewn together. Inside each cell is a single Christmas tree light, some white and some yellow. Seen in person in daylight, each light is visible. In the photograph I saw before visiting the installation the individual lights are not visible but the whole thing has a translucent amber or golden glow. I suspect that may also be the case when seen at night, although I have not seen it at night.

Anastasia Zielinski's "Bright Light Heavy" fills the next set of windows all the way to and around the corner of 11th and Broadway. It is an abstract scene of a river running along a steep bank with a mountain range in the background. The entire scene is made of various types of cloth with glitter and mirrors and gold paper on the background. The idea is good, and all the glitter and sparkle is impressive. It probably looked fabulous lighted up for First Night, but the construction is rather tacky and reminds me of nothing so much as a cheap theatrical set.

In the Commerce Street window is a group exhibition by a group called Generis 01T: Zip Code consisting of poetry by Hozoji Matheson-Margullis printed on walls and windows and boards that hang in front of or lean against walls, and photography by Evan Soto and Michael Vahrenwald. The poems are esoteric, as are the photographs. One of ghostly crosses (possibly but not clearly a graveyard seen in heavy fog) is mysterious and moody. Overall this installation left me cold. If there was any consistent message or any unifying principle, I could not see it.

WOOLWORTH WINDOWS, on view 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through April 16, Broadway and Commerce at 11th Street, downtown Tacoma

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