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Like most effective art, Mark Nowell's Open Container, a massive metal structure that once dominated the southwest corner of Union and McLean, stirred up strong feelings. People either loved it or hated it with very few fence-riders. It's gone now, but Nowell's distinctive and not always controversial work can be spotted all over town. The silvery, neo-nouveau fence he built for the Maria Montessori School on Mud Island snakes elegantly toward the harbor, and the twisted metal flame he installed in the Edge brought that neighborhood a distinctive arts-district flavor. He's constructed dangerous-looking office furniture for Memphis businesses and put warped metal and marble pedestals in homes. His artfully imagined security doors, which can be spotted in and around the downtown area, are as clever as they are formidable. He'll soon be unveiling two more large outdoor works created in conjunction with the UrbanArt Commission at the Hickory Hill Police Precinct and the Katie Saxton Community Center.

Not all of Nowell's work is intimidating and gigantically imagined. Some of it is small, meditative, and personal. "Boondoggler," an exhibit opening on July 4th and running through July 31st at Material gallery, will feature smaller sculptures and drawings, showcasing the artist's gentler if not necessarily softer side.

Opening reception for Mark Nowell's "Boondoggler," Friday, July 4th, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Material, 2553 Broad. For additional Information call 219-1943.

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