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A cabinet of curiosities and one-person shows

By Linda Luise Brown
Special to the Observer

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  • WHEN: Both shows are up through April 30; call ahead.

    WHAT: Barbara Schreiber and Peggy Rivers.

    WHERE: Joie Lassiter Gallery, 1430 South Mint St., Suite 105-A

    DETAILS: 704-373-1464, www.lassitergallery.com.

    WHAT: Instructions for Displacements.

    WHERE: Dialect, 3204-C North Davidson St.

    DETAILS: 704-763-0506; www.dialectdesign.com.



At Dialect, which functions as an architectural studio in NoDa by day, a multimedia art exhibit, Instructions for Displacements combines fiction, photography, sculpture, and sound design. Themes include "Lost children, found trash, dirt-encrusted manuscripts, secret chambers, and hypnotic soundscapes."

A free-form wall piece by Diana Arvanites, "Mister Pastor's Wall of Curiosities," constructed of string and found objects, includes a real-life cassette tape. This obsolete artifact swings indolently above a dangling plastic Batman figure. Nearby, limbs of chubby china dolls, a bottle opener, tiny vertebrae, a cicada shell, red wax lips, various knobs, spools and buttons, and a couple of 19th century silhouettes are suspended by thread.

In some ways, Arvanites' installations revisit 19th-century "cabinets of curiosities," such as the collections by the natural scientist Albertus Seba. But whereas Seba focused on things rare and marvelous, Arvanites highlights the commonplace laced with post-modern irony.

Across town on the edge of South End, Joie Lassiter has provided Barbara Schreiber and Peggy Rivers with the discrete spaces needed to showcase their very different art.

In her cunning small work, such as "Defending the Flower" (acrylic on soft press paper, 8 by 8 inches), Barbara Schreiber pulls the viewer into her world of implied fun and games, only to shock the viewer with the message within. Often populated by animals and children engaged in unexpected activities, Her philosophical work challenges the viewer and is never dull.

With her love of the medium and deft control of a deep inner vision, Peggy Rivers' oil paintings delight with layered depths of perception. Her glossy medium is pretty and decorative on the surface, but there is something profound within those floating worlds.

The visions of these two artists are a pleasure to behold.

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