COIL PASTORAL, 2014 Porcelain with glaze and gold luster, 17 1/2 by 25 by 8 1/2 inches.

Alwyn O'Brien's towers of lacy, hand-rolled coils of ceramic are like webs of icicles that formed rapidly in a subzero instant and could crash down any second. Some mix frothy rococo with stabby gothic-style anxiety, but others feel post-nuclear, like solid objects turned to ash.

SPIDERY EARTHENWARE BASKETS  A look at Alwyn OBriens Astride the Bucket
  • SPIDERY EARTHENWARE BASKETS A group of Alwyn O'Brien's precarious creations

In her 2012 show Essay in Objects, the sculptures were freestanding. This new exhibition, Astride the Bucket, is more of an installation. On one wall, there's a false fireplace with a row of blue sculptures on the mantel. Two works stand like gaudy sentinels at either side of the gallery's entrance. Spidery earthenware baskets are on the floor, each balancing precariously on a white base that sits on top of a lump of colorfully painted newspaper. The baskets look burnt-out, the color underneath them repressed. If this were a room in a story, the characters living in it would be vulnerable and debauched.

Alwyn O'Brien's Astride the Bucket will show at the James Harris Gallery through May 12.