I once witnessed a fatal motorcycle accident, and one of the most haunting images from that experience was coming across a scuffed Nike tennis shoe (belonging to one of the victims) sitting on Perring Parkway. The texture of the violent scrape on an otherwise pristine shoe—and, of course, the situation—made it unforgettable.
I was reminded of that experience yesterday, while checking out City Square, the Ruth Pettus show at The Creative Alliance. It features various types of shoes—boots, slippers, etc—that Pettus has tied with rope, filled with rocks, dripped with wax, stained, scraped, and scuffed. Coming across them on the floor of the upstairs gallery was, at first, vaguely unsettling, but, like all of Pettus's work, it drew me in and rewarded close examination. The textures reminded me of her paintings—she cites Giacometti as an inspiration—and the piece got me thinking about motion and restraint, creation and decay, life and death.
The show runs through April 3rd.