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March 8, 2004 // UPDATED 9:25 am - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'Romeo and Juliet' and tales of 9th-Grade Nothing

In high school I hated melodramatic protagonist-couple Romeo and Juliet. First of all, their fatal attraction made me sick. They'd talked for what amounted to about 15 seconds before they'd fallen hopelessly in love. That was equivalent to a locker conversation between classes or a mild flirtation at a late-night party. It was completely unrealistic -- or even worse, it was so ninth-grade. Honestly, had Shakespeare been watching too many soap operas? Was his famous drama a love heist? Perhaps someone should take away his remote control? Don't worry, I, for one, wouldn't be deceived.

Romeo and Juliet were in fact, my classmates. They sat across from me in Miss Nelson's English class. Romantically delusional, they fawned over each other's killing fashion sense or bewitching fragrance. I hated the mushy-ness of the whole affair. They were in love with the idea of being in love. When their parents didn't get along, that was kind of a bonus -- an opportunity for rebellion.

It took me a long time to accept Romeo and Juliet (the characters and the classmates) -- to see that they showed something more metaphorical than purely infatuated prom royalty. They proved that people push-pull each other; grudges propel mortal combat and, sometimes, love does conquer all. Revealing the toxicity of stubbornness, they exemplified (and still do) a universal illusion and aspiration for love.

Tuesday-Sunday thru April 11, call for times, Guthrie Theater, 725 Vineland Pl. $13-$48. 377-2224.

'Built Up'

While there are tons of build-up removers, such as tough-on-grease Mr. Clean, the three artists whose work is showcased in "Built Up" are actually creating build-up. Whether we art consumers eradicate their extra layers might also be part of their pastel-colored prophecy of Pompeii, power plants and Minneapolis parks.

Like construction workers, these artists have an interest in the materials they use to tell a visual story. Whiteout, litho tape, mylar, duralar, wax, stickers, maps, blueprints, Polaroid snapshots, acrylics and household paints are intrinsic to the works. The materials themselves seem pensive and in transition; the artists use them to point to truths weathered/obscured/revealed (apply Whiteout here) by time, science, patterns and metamorphosis. In other words: what we don't say is just as important as what we do.

For example, in Mike Carina's view of Pompeii, we see that not only is Whiteout a typographical blemish remover, it may also bury whole cities or civilizations. Paint is no different -- while paintings may present something, they delete perspectives, too, just like Whiteout. Not to mention, isn't Whiteout a dying product? It's so easy to hit "delete" on the computer screen, there's no need for tactile cover-ups anymore. Plus, Carina's sketchy travelogue is a disappearing act already -- Pompeii is a lost city (apply Whiteout here). Carina uses Whiteout not only to paint away Pompeii, but also to bridge his architectural rendering with his sketched, fleeting thoughts.

Gregory Euclide's "System Fade: Charge Emitting Growth Pockets" seems like a painter's idea of science, fizzing with nuclear energy. His playful compositions and colors betray his artistic license. With ribbons of litho tape and confetti-like particles revolving and devolving around cyclical vents, his fading system is scenic/picturesque. Graceful curves swirl around a power plant of some sort, colored lightly. If paradise is about to be lost (not through spontaneous combustion), this transformation is pretty. Key words: Growth pockets.

Meantime, Rebecca Silus watches things vanish/change from her "Observation Tower." Her cubist take on Minneapolis fuses a past, present and future city bent through a prism. In blue, green, yellow and brown, we see bridges, skyscrapers and parks as a trinity -- inseparable components of the same image. It's a cloudy day, and nothing is too clear.

Thru March 31; Tuesday-Thursday, noon-8 p.m. and Friday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Rosalux Gallery, 1011 Washington Ave. S. Free. 747-3942.

Step into Wilson's works

Artist Kit Wilson (whose brothers are the famous Wilson brothers, from Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare) zooms in on natural land elements such as grass and trees. We might be looking at irrigation ditches, a patch of sod or a micro view of one fiber of a grass blade.

It's easy to see that Wilson was once a geography teacher; plains spread out like an atlas, and she highlights certain continent-shaped clusters. Although fuzzy and contemplative, these watercolor crayon works are detailed and show a lot of texture. Her relief paintings/maps are vast landscapes that thoughtfully envelop us.

Thru March 13; Tuesday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. and Saturday, noon-4 p.m. The Annex at the Groveland Gallery, 25 Groveland Terrace. Free. 377-7800.

Anna Pratt can be reached at annapratt@artlover.com.