“Petits Tableaux” at Winston Wächter

Claire Reiner
Posted on December 04, 2012, 7:08 pm
5 mins

Winston Wächter Fine Art is a little off the beaten path for gallery goers who stick to Pioneer Square at the opposite end of downtown. Though it has east coast connections, Winston Wächter focuses on northwest artists of many media and can set its own standards. The gallery’s holiday show on Saturday, December 1 provided me with the opportunity to experience their current show as well in livelier environment than one typically finds in a gallery.

The holiday party set up at Winston Wächter.

Guests enjoyed the seasonal sweets while exploring the current, which includes works from Piper O’Neill, Christ Pfister, James Allen, Christopher Boffoli, Stephen O’Donnell, Erich Woll, Ann Gardner and many others. Megan de Jardins and Dena Rigby pulled the pieces together in a way that is unique but easy to follow.

The “Petits Tableaux” exhibition occupies the first room. It explores the role of size and its contribution to the understanding of a piece as a whole. Perhaps the best examples of this theme are the three works by James Allen. Allen opens the closed book’s potential into a visual narrative and the exquisite details of these mini miracles—the layers of cut paper revealing illustrations and adornments—instantly grab the viewers’ attention.

Another exploration of the power of petite is found in works by Christopher Boffoli. Boffoli constructs a strange world of Accidents and Incidents through the use of figurines and food, the world of the miniature also explored by artists such as London-based Slinkachu. Boffoli worked previously as a photojournalist and his photos retain a humorous, documentary quality. Like his journalistic work, Boffoli’s art has received international press for their lighthearted perspective.

Carmen Lozar’s “Lipsticks” in the Petits Tableaux show.

Carmen Lozar’s Lipsticks are tiny, yet breathtakingly cool. Classic lipstick containers are given new life with the addition of small, feminine figurines in glass of conventional lipstick shades. remind me of hyper feminized versions of Hellenistic sculptures, like the Venus de Milo. A modern Aphrodite perhaps? But limbless and headless as they are, their forms remain ambivalent. The turning mechanisms of the vintage containers still work, allowing the tiny goddesses to slip into their gilded shrines and elude interpretation.

The second room of the gallery features a show exhibiting the work of Piper O’Neill and Chris Pfister. Here, O’Neill’s short film, Indigo Blue, plays on a loop surrounded by a small collection of her finely embroidered works. O’Neill’s exquisite use of texture creates a materiality that begins to tell a story. Her short film Indigo Blue focuses on rarely seen footage from the Seattle World’s Fair and emphasizes O’Neill’s ability to construct a narrative through pure aesthetics. Chris Pfister’s painting installation showcases the artist’s influences by place and history. Pfister sticks to a dramatic grey scale, which establishes this concept of historical rhetoric. His expertly grouped pieces tell a story of “interrelated narratives” of settlement and industrialization. The historical nature of the pieces is clear in the execution, as they truly resemble photographs capturing a moment in time.

A portion of Christ Pfister’s work at Winston Wächter.

Winston Wächter’s featured shows will continue until December 21. On January 15, Klavier-Stücke, a German born sound engineer, will open an installation at Winston Wächter, which will encourage visitors to “see, hear, and experience.” For more information regarding this show as well as about the gallery in general, please visit www.winstonwachter.com.

Claire Reiner

Claire Reiner is a writer, artist and recent graduate from the University of Washington’s School of Art with a major in Art History. She is interested in recent art movements and subcultures (1950s, 60s, 70s) and how they have shaped present perceptions and practices of art. She grew up in Southern California and moved to Seattle in 2010. She is quite influenced by the unique geography of both places and enjoys hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Reiner covers visual art exhibits in Seattle and seeks to contribute to a profound and positive artistic community, as well as encourage people to come out and experience art moments for themselves. Reiner is also the Executive Assistant for VanguardSeattle and handles any press related needs.