Developing ideas: Systematic Ambiguity

The Boston Globe


One-two punches

There are two electric two-person shows up, full of thoughtfulness and sparky conversation.…

SYSTEMATIC AMBIGUITY: Recent Work by Tracy Spadafora and Carrie Crane
At Fountain Street Fine Art Gallery, 59 Fountain St., Framingham
through June 19. 508-879-4200,

Encaustic painter Tracy Spadafora and mixed-media artist Carrie Crane have a show at Fountain Street Fine Art Gallery.

Carrie Crane,  LSPSD: Parental Complexity.

Carrie Crane, LSPSD: Parental Complexity.

Crane and Spadafora use scientific rubric to uncover metaphors and allusions — to induce, rather than deduce. Crane wittily roots her works in the clinical visuals of infographics, then fills them in and opens them out with a painter’s sensibility.

Her “Longitudinal Study Psycho-Social Development: PARENTAL COMPLEXITY ,” based on the work of a 19th-century scientist who attempted to measure consciousness, has the underpinnings of a chart. The circles that rise over its surface grow bigger and more formally complex, like a single cell evolving into an organism.

Spadafora’s “Collection,” a series of nearly 90 discs on the wall like planets and stars, feature lettered DNA sequences, real pine cones, a bar code, milky Rorschach blots, and more. They reference systems and patterns — not ones we associate with one another. Yet there are echoes, and together they make a layered net that holds knowledge itself, and the way we make sense of the world.

Tracy Spadafora,  Collection , installation view.

Tracy Spadafora, Collection, installation view.