Nov. 7 2012 01:39 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

William Morris’ pattern “Strawberry Thief” serves as the inspiration for the exhibition of the same name.

1 Ineffable art

On Project Runway, the fashion-design reality competition on Lifetime, a recurring challenge is having the designers create a textile and use their prints in outfits. It’s resulted in interesting patterns, garments and heart-wrenching stories.

Helmuth Projects will be doing something similar with The Strawberry Thief, an exhibition opening from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at its Downtown gallery space (920 E St., Suite 103). It features a collaborative installation by Bill Conger and Colin Tuis Nesbit inspired by the pattern “Strawberry Thief” created by textile designer William Morris in 1883. The intricate design depicts thieving birds and their stolen strawberries among a flowery thicket. It will serve as a “conceptual lift-off” for this new piece, says curator Angella D’Avignon.

“The idea of using [the Morris textile] as a departure point seemed an interesting challenge to the authority of contemporary painting and subsequently to the authority of all contemporary art as well,” she says. “It seemed that because the work was not… created to be seen as contemporary art, it provided fertile ground for re-interpretation.”

When asked to describe what attendees will see at this exhibition, D’Avignon couldn’t really paint a picture, and, apparently, that’s part of the experience.

“We are attempting to create a moment in time for the viewer,” she explains. “We cannot describe what they will see, as said moment hasn’t been created yet. We intend that they will leave with as many questions as answers.”

What we do know is that Conger will choose austere sculptural objects and place them within a light-based piece by Nesbit that mimics Morris’ pattern. The resulting work will also visually recreate moonlight.

Just like the original Morris pattern, the installation embraces its complicated and somewhat esoteric nature, using that as a jumping-off point to question various aspects of art, like its function and originality.

2 What is that?

Everyone experiences déjà vu from time to time, but what about its eerie opposite, jamais vu? Its literal translation is “never seen,” but it’s more complicated than that. Jamais vu describes a momentary lapse in memory, or an actual disorder, where something familiar seemingly presents itself for the first time. The time between head scratching and realization is what three artists are toying with in Jamais Vu, happening from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Space 4 Art (325 15th St. in East Village). At the opening reception, guests can check out works by longtime San Diego artist Ernest Silva, along with Los Angeles artists Michelle Carla Handel and Michael Arata. Sculpture, paintings and photos exploring the dark side will trick viewers into experiencing jamais vu for themselves.

3 Dance eclectic

The choreographers whose works make up BJM Danse’s program for ArtPower! at UCSD’s Mandeville Auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 8, are a diverse group: Israeli-American Barak Marshall will show his new work, “Harry,” which examines internal and external conflicts, set to jazz and Israeli folk music. Chinese-born, Vancouverbased Wen Wei’s “Night Box” is a gritty exploration of sex in the city (no, not the TV show) and Spanish-born Cayetano Soto’s “Zero in On” was compared to a Pedro Almodóvar film by the Washington Post. BJM, whose full name is Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, has been around since 1972 and prides itself on seamlessly blending traditional and contemporary dance styles. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $26 to $46; there’s a pre-performance dinner for $12 and post-performance talk.

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.