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One does plants, the other is known for her fish: It was no accident that threw flower-sculpting clay artist Jean Smith and animal assemblage artist Deborah Jang together for a couple of intertwining shows at the Ice Cube Gallery. Smith's Abstract Clay and Jang's The Way of Things open tonight but, while both shows represent new directions for each of them (Smith experiments with new abstract wall plaques, and Jang also veers into less representational territory), perhaps the greatest draw at Ice Cube will be Confluence, an unusual collaboration between the two that draws on the strengths of each artist in a whimsical yet challenging way.

“It basically has an underwater theme,” Smith explains. “She's got a lot of fish, and I've got the flora and fauna, which is all made out of clay.” Together they've created a seascape of Smith's large four- to six-foot-tall ceramic seaweed totems and “seaweedy things on the wall” and Jang's imaginative signature fish sculptures, all built from reclaimed metal, wood and other objects.

There will be plenty of special opportunities to wander through the duo's underwater scenery, beginning with tonight's opening reception from 5 to 9 p.m.; on November 26 from noon to 9 p.m., Smith and Jang will host a post-Thanksgiving Pie Day, with, yes, pies and the artists themselves. Smith will also host her annual Jean's Jewelry sale on Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4. Ice Cube Gallery is at the Dry Ice Factory, 3320 Walnut Street; go to www.icecubegallery.com for information.
Nov. 12-Dec. 4, 2010

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