Art Walkin': May First Thursday 

God's Eyes, Frog Legs, and Lady Fingers

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"GUESS WHICH BUG I AM!" exclaims a bowtied Elizabeth Leach Gallery patron to his First Thursday date. As his partner scrutinizes Seattleite Claire Cowie's mixed-media insect sculptures, making many mis-guesses, Bowtie gushes, "I'm gonna put one in my kitchen. People will go, 'Oh no! There's a bug in your kitchen!'" Okay, but if this gent really wants make his dinner guests blanch, how about Cowie's "Finger Wall"? An assortment of corpselike fingers beckons at wild angles, adorned in places with bloody papercuts, rings, and daubs of nail enamel. (Unlike the Halloween novelty fingers they resemble, these digits will gouge you for $10,000 because they're Art. But it's probably rude to—ahem—point that out.)

Through the Park Blocks, past the green grass and an eager Chihuahua, Blue Sky gallery gawks at girls in bonnets. Naked men. A child drinking directly from a cow teat. Lucas Foglia's A Natural Order, a collection of photos of "off-grid" communities, fits the gallery's ongoing yen for anthro-art. The crowd mills around dumbfounded 'til one woman, stopping short at a squirrel-loincloth-wearing sylph, gasps, "This could be my mom!" Raised in the wild, she fondly remembers catching bullfrogs with a pillowcase and a flashlight. She doesn't say whether they ever skinned a squirrel, but she fried many a frog.

If the industrious hippies featured at Blue Sky were let loose in a hi-tech trash heap, they might make vessels like Gail Tremblay's lidded baskets at Froelick Gallery. Intricately woven from filmstrips, cables, and wire, the objects intended to "preserve indigenous technologies" from the Onondaga and Micmac Nations make me daydream of a sci-fi fate reversal where ancient peoples sift through modern ruins. Filmstrips look like painted papyrus. Coated wires seem like watertight vines. One society's information is another's weaving reeds.

Past Ground Kontrol and into the heart of skaterville, "It's nice to see Compound returning to its roots of 'pretty Asian ladies,'" snarks a longtime patron. It does help to note that in current show Daydreamers, the images of are also by the described demographic: Brooklyn's Stella Im Hultberg and BC's Suite Charlie. Can approximate self-portraiture still be objectification? That one merits a much longer discussion; what's undeniable is that the pieces are pretty, and yeah, for Compound, a return to form. Meanwhile at Upper Playground, Klutch's flame-colored wooden blocks and comic-style patterns are overseen by a sunburst of skateboard decks with a single red eye—arguably the second "god's eye" I've seen today. Leach had one, too, by Mark R. Smith in baby-clothes blue. Is there anything new under the sun? Because this month, it seems like we're back to the elements.

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