What It Is: Ida y Vuelta (Round Trip) (2008, wood and paint, 42 by 42 by 24 inches, by Matt Sellars)
Where It Is: Platform Gallery
Shipping containers come and go forever. Seattle artist Matt Sellars turns their action into a rickety coliseum of consumption: He seals up the containers (little wooden blocks he makes and paints in bright colors) and strips them of their identifying lettering. With them he builds a miniature monument to their eternal round trip—out and back, or Ida y Vuelta, as the work's multinational title says—charged with centripetal force. That force implies smooth repetitive movement but the sculpture's thousand jagged surfaces belie how simple, rational, and equal each component part is. In the center there's space for something, but what it might be is hard to say. Gladiatorial blood sport? Refugees from a natural disaster? (The Katrina association, which I doubt the artist intended, comes to mind through the double architectures of that event: the Superdome and the boxy FEMA trailers, each mirrored here.) The sculpture fixes in the imagination but doesn't resolve. Its meaning stays in play just as its form remains vulnerable to a toddler's fist.