Arts News: SPACES Finds a Compass

And more local arts news

Given its name, SPACES could hardly pick a more appropriate show than Internal Compasses, curated by Jeff Chiplis, Jeanne Grossetti and Vlada Vukadinovic. Press materials describe the artists in the show as "visual thinkers who map, code and catalogue experiences and information, then systematically arrange the material evidence according to personal internal strategies." Images from the artists include explorations of space defined by lines or lines of force rendered in some physical way, like Athens, Ohio, artist Sarah FitzSimmons' tent sculptures that mirror geographic features of their settings. Internal Compasses opens Friday, along with a show by Israeli artist Efrat Klipshtien and Brooklyn-based Sung Jin Choi's Ambient Sound in the SPACELab. Opening reception is 6-9 p.m. at SPACES (2220 Superior Viaduct,, 216.621.2314). It's free. — Michael Gill

TWIN PASSAGE: With the touching, mournful fatalism of a Victorian family novel, just a few months after the death at 60 of Lucia, her identical twin and co-administrator of Ensemble Theatre, Licia Colombi also succumbed last week to the effects of long-standing ailments.

Yet far more memorable than the manner of the siblings' passing is the contribution they made during their lives to the enrichment of the area's arts scene. When Ensemble was founded in 1979, classic modern drama (which had been the bedrock of theaters from community to Broadway since the early '20s) had fallen into disrepute and scornful neglect. With their dual passion and dedicated appreciation for the best of this repertory — especially the works of American masters like Eugene O'Neill — the sisters served as our local stubborn keepers of the flame for most of three decades. Their zeal was to provide — from the safe houses of their tiny venues — living proof of this heritage's value.

Their deeply rooted warmth and commitment were undoubtedly influenced by their father Christopher, a highly respected physician. But this gifted, close-to-the-surface warmth was just as likely to flare into fiery contention, and the Colombi twins were known to have had an often tempestuous relationship.

Whatever their differences and disputes, what finally matters is that for 30 years, they fought the good fight to protect and project the theatrical art in which they believed and in which they passionately wanted us to believe. That's an epitaph more than generous enough for two. — James Damico

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