Review: reCYCLE pARTS at Stutz Art Gallery 

click to enlarge Emily Budd, "Dreamcatcher" (detail)
  • Emily Budd, "Dreamcatcher" (detail)

A benefit like reCYCLE pARTS is circumscribed to some extent by its prescribed material - namely, used bike parts. But an imaginative crew of artists made a virtue of necessity, producing work in a wide range of mediums, including photographs, paintings, sculpture, and often some combination of the three.

Several pieces refer to or depict birds: Emily Budd used tire strips for the feathers of her "Dreamcatcher," while Sue Uhl's graceful "Feen-ix" sculpture brings both bird and bike parts to new life. Catherine Cunningham used the backs of two bike seats for the ears of her whimsical "Great Horned Owl"; its shadow is in itself a work of art.

The word "falcon" on David Kleeman's bicycle parts inspired "Horus," after the Egyptian deity depicted with a falcon head. His version, a vision in rubber, is like a steampunk astronaut crossed with a comic book villain. So what's the connection between bikes and birds? Does cycling register subconsciously as flight, since riders, elevated above the ground with wind streaming past, cover more ground faster than they ever could on foot?

Some of the show's most intriguing pieces relegate bikes to the background, like Shawn Causey's "Striping Cycles: Tire Prints Nos. 1 & 2," which incorporates the vertical lines and complex textures so key to her work. David Landis's sleek, abstract kinetic sculpture, "Stingray," was inspired by childhood memories of colorful and shiny bikes and, presumably, Schwinn's most coveted 1960s model.

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