Inner visions

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The power of internal secrets, and drawers filled with sacred treasures and scientific marvels emanate from the pieces in “Cabinets of Curiosities” at the Wood Turning Center.


These finely crafted cabinets are not so much furniture as curiosities in and of themselves, with their secret spaces already filled, and their public faces allusive and metaphorical.

“Cirque de Cabinet,” by Michael Brolly, John Biggs, Zac Robbins, Chris Coggiano, Tony Delong and Lynne E. Brolly, is practically alive, sitting swami-like on its bed of nails, its gold eyelids loudly winking when a viewer approaches, its antennae wiggling, and its lazy-susan belly whirring open to reveal beaded contents. Above the whirring drawer, a sealed bottle with beads hanging inside brings to mind the magic powers of African nkisi figures.

“Chest in a Bowl,” by Gordon Peteran, is as reductive as “Cirque” is complex, its box-within-a-box notion destabilized by a round bottom–a sort of blank-faced babushka doll uncovered to offer its interior selves.

Many of the pieces had the detail, wonder and affect of a Victorian science display, offering a magic-carpet ride into the interior of nature and the human mind.

The work was commissioned by the center and by the Furniture Society, which is meeting here until June 14. The show will travel from here to three other stops in Pennsylvania as well as to Houston, Alaska, Massachussets and Wisconsin.

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