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"Fool's Errand" (mixed media on paper, 28 by 36 inches, 2005) by Jean Arnold is part of a display at Phillips Gallery through Friday.

Through June 9, visitors to Phillips Gallery (444 E. 200 South) will encounter the abstracted, urban landscapes of Jean Arnold and the poetic and playful ceramic sculptures of Francesc Burgos.

The only piece in Arnold's portion of the show that even remotely approaches a representational geography is her oil on canvas, "Night Shift," a rich statement of contrasting blues and oranges. But each of her tastefully rendered urban insinuations is as visually strong as the next; her use of color and composition and her distinct approach to layering surfaces make each canvas vibrant and involving.

Obsessed with the land and its environmental predicaments, Arnold extracts her imagery through the experience of travel.

"Not of a particular place," she explains in her artist statement, "but from the velocity of travel itself, its visual bombardment and its alteration of spatial perceptions."

The disjointed nature of our contemporary environment couldn't be expressed any better; Arnold's voice is unique, intriguing and well-tuned.

Burgos, a Spanish born sculptor and ceramist, is interested in the relationship between interior and exterior space.

"I aim for forms that will have a strong presence and be intriguing, beautiful, proportionate and harmonic inside and out: the poetics of space," he writes in his statement.

The simplicity and elegance of each porcelain and earthenware piece will delight gallerygoers.

Approaching Burgos' work, you are immediately taken by the folds in the designs — and you wonder how he managed to maintain each fold during the firing process. "He fires them on their side," Phillips gallery director Meri DeCaria said.

On his porcelain pieces (clay for porcelain is purer than clay used for earthenware) Burgos employs the ancient technique of "Terra Sigillata," which literally means, "sealed earth." After creating the clay shape, he applies the terra sigillata slip and fires the piece. These sculptures are a pleasure to behold. Some mimic cryptic designs; others appear retro-futuristic, like we've wandered into George Jetson's flat.

There are also several works of earthenware and wood; with thin, pliable sticks inserted into skeletal-like bits of ceramic, each rests, often precariously, appearing quite playful.

The best aspect of Burgos' work is that it allows the eye to crawl ever so pleasantly over every nook and cranny of the sculpture.

Arnold and Burgos make a great exhibition couple; go see the show before it closes on Friday.


E-mail: gag@desnews.com