Downtown art

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January 31, 2005 // UPDATED 1:51 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

Beautiful corrosion

Painter Patricia Scott has the eye of a sophisticated rummage sale shopper, as she hunts the roadside boutique. She takes artifacts like tossed-out couches from the curb and brings them to the canvas - things she considers human fossils. These discarded items enjoy revival as Scott collects things that are rusty or thoroughly used.

In her show, "The Natural History of Objects," she depicts with poignancy the ordinary, such as pickup trucks, tools and even soup broth (not bowls of soup, but a panel of "Water and Broth"), images that aren't often considered "artistic."

She doesn't perform cosmetic surgery on these items or give any of these articles Botox injections, rather, she shows these frazzled objects where they're at, extra worry lines and all. With scratchy strokes, blotches and scribbles, Scott preserves their frumpy conditions in soft ground etchings, transfer lithographs, linoleum cuts and collages.

With a sense of humor, she gets us to notice the character of little things - subtle puns intended.

(Note that Scott is a founding member of the Warehouse District printmaking atelier, Below the Surface.)

Reception: F Feb. 4, 5 p.m. Gallery; Tu-Sa Feb. 4-Mar. 11; Tu-F 10 a.m.-4 p.m, Sa 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Circa Gallery, 1637 Hennepin Ave. S., Free. 332-2386,

Feets don't fail

The dancers in the modern dance festival, "Best Feet Forward," are like researchers using their bodies to interpret diverse topics, including animals at the zoo, Hoola Hoops, communication, romance, geography and guns.

Many of these ensembles incorporate imagery with photographed backdrops wherein some dancers go so far as to morph into the scenery - becoming cloaked in tree branches and leaves; other ensembles show off audio effects.

Telling tales or simply providing a visceral experience, this miscellaneous roster is funny, serious, theatrical, experimental, graceful and exotic. The dancers' collective abilities also run the gamut, with emerging dancers moving alongside established artists in a schedule so full that the proprietors color-coded everything.

"Red" includes Karen Sherman's "Missouri Compromise," about how she's internalized the Midwest climate. Cynthia Stevens builds on that, relating the body to exteriors of community and environment, while co-founder Matt Jenson's pieces stir in Greek myths.

"Blue" highlights Judith Howard's line dance gone wrong and her "haunting, whimsical punk/butohesque" (according to press materials) version of "Ophelia." Deborah Jinza Thayer runs in circles with Hoola Hoops while Maggie Bergeron's sepia-toned steps convey childhood dress-up memories. Bergeron articulates presence and absence, both physically and intellectually.

"Green" features Jennifer Dunning's "Before Words," a female duet composed of body language and the written word, with footnotes to the ancient and instant. Heidi Geier's Soft Eyed Collaborations' "Song Cycles: Take I," synthesizes live music and dance. Krista Langberg's piece blends reality and illusion, while Penelope Freeh's piece shows off a wild imagination.

Rosy Simas Dance Projects' "Have Gun Will Shoot" shadows four dancers' physical and emotional wartime journeys; Vanessa Voskuil's "The Weight of Light" is a couple's conversation about love that transcends artificial romance.

Like cartoon animators, Dancing People Company's "In a Room Gambling" and Amber Ellison and Jesse Walker 's "Wilderness" and "Zoo" exaggerate physical movement in the show colored "Purple."

The third weekend features the tri-city project, SCUBA (with local dancers working with some from Seattle and San Francisco). Laura Curry's "PINKK" confuses spectator and performer, while the duet "Give Me a Story, Tell Me You Love Me" is like a dancing soap opera.

The lobby will be just as entertaining with site-specific performances from Live Action Set and base8 (staged in the lobby and set in the lobby). The Live Action Set and Abi Basch dust off the theater's memories in a ghostly trilogy, and base8 mixes interactive video projections with sound and movement.

Th-Su Feb. 3-20; Thursday 7 p.m., Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. (Sunday Feb. 6, "Stickin' with It," 5 p.m.) Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S. $20 ($15 for additional shows or $60 festival pass). 340-1725,