Earl Grey. Hot. Make It So.

There's nothing technologically astounding about the teapot, right? Well, fancy a gander at the ones by English-born artist Margaret Realica currently on display in “Alternate Images,” an exhibit that provides a sculptural take on the mechanization of water.

Realica uses porcelain, Plexiglas, and found gears to fashion teapot-like fixtures that wouldn't look out of place on the Starship Enterprise. The pieces resemble little machines -- the Plexiglas squares and metal gears certainly give the impression of drawing liquid through a series of tubes -- but without the possibility of movement. The works are as static in form as they are in function. That's the point, of course. The teapots, with their thin, snakelike wires and puffy porcelain containers, almost beg for anthropomorphization. And in the same way we attach life to wind-up toys, cars, or any old mechanical thing, the idea of function is endearing. All it takes is recognition of form. Same with Realica's contraptions. You can't brew tea with ’em, but it doesn't take much suspension of disbelief to think you could try.

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 25. Continues through March 2, 2008