March 2005

San Francisco: CRITICS' PICKS
Tucker Schwarz
49 Geary Street
February 22 - March 27

Tucker Schwarz renders a mean chain-link fence, not to mention an aging ranch house, with her sewing machine. Her intricate, mostly architectural images are sewn on muslin, with loose threads dangling, lines clinging to the pale fabric. The compositions suggest Ghada Amer's embroidered works transposed to a desolate American suburb, though Schwarz's craft-inflected vision exudes a homegrown sense of ambivalence. The show also includes two surprising and ambitious web-like sculptures, both 2005, made from threads and stringy bits of cloth. Like Fred Sandback, Schwarz makes thread command space, albeit in a far less manageable aesthetic universe, and thus without Sandback's minimalist economy. Here's to All the Old Boys is like a colorful three-dimensional drawing made from hundreds of threads tied together, with only a few grounding points in its corner of floor and wall. It's human-scale, something to get caught in. Let's Do It the Hard Way is a similar but more florid sculpture that seems to have been spun by a spider trapped in mom's sewing basket. It's an ungainly yet graceful net-like construction that hangs close to the ceiling in a gesture towards escape—or is it transcendence?

- Glen Helfand