Diaspora, 2010, now at Bellevue Arts Museum.
  • Courtesy Paul Villinski
  • Diaspora, 2010, now at Bellevue Arts Museum.

The view above shows only the vortex of a storm of stacked LPs sculpted into flying-away birds by Paul Villinski (full view).

Villinski, based in Long Island City, has two pieces in the group exhibition Making Mends at Bellevue Arts Museum. Diaspora is joined by Pilot, a child's wooden chair held aloft on the wall, up high, by a grimy wing made of old found workers' gloves riveted together. Allegorical works like these carry a great risk of being cheesy, but these instead are arresting. Diaspora also resonates nicely with the diasporic story of Theaster Gates's current installation at Seattle Art Museum, The Listening Room, where records salvaged from a store that was closing down in Chicago are now playing in a church/lounge atmosphere in the gallery. The environment of the museum, in both cases, becomes more personal and less a place for disinterested observation.

The premise of Making Mends is that art helps heal people, whether that means the artist uses the creation process to work through something, or the piece itself extends a hand of assistance in the gallery. I'll be writing more on Making Mends for next week's paper, but the bottom line is I think it's worth your time. It's a moving exhibition.