That Marcy Adzich hails from the Great White North (Edmonton, Alberta to be exact) begins to explain why sweeping, majestic landscapes seem to worm their way into her work. It's as if Canada's dense forests, towering mountain ranges, and arctic expanses have become a permanent lens through which she views the world. In her new gallery-sized installation, Still Life with Wolves, these exaggerated outdoor spaces are realized with the most mundane materials, from an ordinary coffee table to plastic flowers. Wire brushes are trimmed and spray-painted green to become tiny coniferous trees, while modified Mylar balloons float above like shiny clouds. There's a sense of insistent fervor to her construction, as if she's adamant to expose the sublimely expressive potential locked within even the most commonplace items. Naturally, Richard Dreyfuss' compulsively sculpted mashed potato mountain in Close Encounters of the Third Kind comes to mind.
Like her bizarre assemblages included in last year's Oregon Biennial, Adzich creates a miniscule ecology in Still Life that implodes scale and teases out peculiar associations. The focus of the piece is a miniature tableau that, like some feral still-life arrangement, erupts on a coffee table in the middle of the gallery. A propeller, made entirely of reclaimed wood, undulates over the top of the table, signifying rolling hills with its shape and forest with its materials. To drive the point home, Adzich has populated it with wire-brush trees, plastic flowers, and silver wolf figurines. Beneath the propeller, mossy patches spread like mold and tiny English cottages (likely culled from thrift store bric-a-brac). It's as if a tidy decorative arrangement has usurped the coffee table on which it rests, shedding ornamentation for a true representation of wilderness.
While Still Life creates a deeply transporting space that draws viewers into its unexpected materials and disorienting scale shifts, it never quite achieves a satisfying sense of coherence. Rather than confidently organizing the work around a consistent logic, the piece seems loose and chaotic, even a little unfinished. Granted, its haphazard quality is part of its head-scratching appeal: Processing such disparate elements as an iconic landscape gives viewers a glimpse inside Adzich's wildly imaginative perspective. Like a child who envisions monsters in a closet's shadows, she casts a new aesthetic vitality on the articles of the everyday.