As one of the rare individuals willing to work long hours with heavy chunks of steel heated to glowing hot temperatures over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, David somehow fuses the archaic serpentine extravagance of 19th century art nouveau with the futuristic, post-apocalyptic aesthetic of Mad Max, or sci-fi writers like Philip Dick who anticipated the wonders and terrors of the shape-shifting, digitally defined present we now inhabit. Darlingtonia, upper left, a collaboration with artist Liz Judkins, suggests a tall, spidery, Auguste Rodin-esque interpretation of a gigantic carnivorous blossom with a darkly elegant art nouveau aura. Narcissus Lycorine is another mysterious botanical form, a metallic meditation on the Narcissus flower. One side resembles a shield, but revolves to reveal a mirror on the other side. The "lycorine" in the title refers to the poison contained in its sap, a metaphor, perhaps, for the toxicity of extreme narcissism, but Spinning Wheel, above, suggests an alternative Industrial Revolution shaped by the laws of nature. Bursae, top, suggests a vastly oversize cocoon reminiscent of an ancient Viking ship. Clusters of actual silk worm cocoons embellish either end in fuzzy baroque flourishes. David says most of her ideas come from dreams and observations of emotional states in herself and others. In Bursae, "holding patterns" play an important role. "The silk worm is in a holding pattern. It builds the cocoon around it; there is a mile of silk in each cocoon and the moth, transformed, emerges and flies away." ~Bookhardt / Holding Pattern: Hand Forged Steel Sculpture by Rachel David, Through Jan. 3, Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 710-4506.
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