Graves, Jen. ‘A Spectral Glimpse,’ The Stranger, Wednesday November 7, 2007 (reproductions)

The word “glimpse” is onomatopoetic: a couple of consonants not quite there, and then a sizzling disappearance. A glimpse sounds prurient (a body part briefly exposed), or dangerous (redacted government documents). But the real dazzle of the glimpse is that it’s a moment of total possibility, a crucible for pure imagination.

A Spectral Glimpse is independent curator Jim O’Donnell’s first show at Platform Gallery, and the work—by artists from Seattle, L.A., Colombia, New York, and Chicago—radiates possibility.

From cheap colored frames on the wall, more wall oozes forth in beams of white foam core coated in plaster. They reach out and down to the floor like abstract sculptures emanating from the architecture—as if the frames were placed in hot spots where the building’s inner impulses could escape.

These are by Bari Ziperstein, who built a colony of the white constructions in her Spanish-style apartment (she lived among them for three months) and had the apartment photographed in the style of a glossy home magazine. These scenes with ghostly shapes issuing from her vase or chair or chandelier are unnerving but also endearingly absurd and funny, like early feminist collages or the Décor Project interventions in other people’s homes of the artists Hadley + Maxwell.

Ghosts are in Leyla Cárdenas’s photographs, too, of city buildings with scars on their sides where other buildings have been torn away. Paired with them are bits of paint scraped from the demolished buildings and pressed between glass like archaeological finds.

In Lucy Pullen’s photographs of a recording studio streaked with multicolored lights, or of the flaring rings of the sun captured by Adam Ekberg’s camera lens, what’s glimpsed hints at what can never be photographed (the feel of the music, the air and light of the forest).

A series of small surrealistic drawings by David Dupuis represents something unavailable in any other form: a slightly crazed, daydreaming consciousness, rendered with exquisite precision yet naiveté. His drawing style has been compared to Louise Bourgeois’s, another artist who uses recurring eyes; the bare, exotic environments with their echoing shapes also bring to mind Martin Ramirez.

Ariana Page Russell took close-up photographs of her pink, porous, and hairy skin, turned them into fan-shaped temporary tattoos, then applied them to her skin and peeled them off. She attached a scaly section of the remains, like a turtle’s shell, between a wall and a window: the translucent peels are on the window, and the backings are on the wall. So many tiny glimpses are the opposite of cumulative; the shell is cracking and falling away.

On the floor of the gallery is Brad Biancardi’s scale drawing of the underside of his first car, a 1983 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue. Beams of color drawn in chalk emanate from the guts of the car, but they are busy disappearing as people walk on them. Each person carries away a colored shoe sole and leaves colored footprints on the sidewalk. Biancardi’s piece can only be glimpsed briefly, which seems sadly apt. The talented painter is moving from Seattle to Chicago later this month.