March’s First Thursday Pioneer Square Art Walk showcased a broad spectrum of artistry. Davidson Galleries, Room 104 and Cullom Gallery provided some of the peak experiences this month through very different mediums.
Davidson Galleries: J.D. Perkin
At Davidson Galleries, J.D. Perkin’s Cadence of Stone takes center stage. Perkin’s sculptural work abstracts the human form through a study of poses. The lines and structural bands that decorate the sculptures emphasize the rhythm and movement evoked by the performative positions of the figures. The piece Butoh draws direct inspiration from the postures of the Japanese dance of the same name. Figures in yogic poses are more abstracted, as the human form becomes entangled and limbs, torso and head nearly merge in alluring curves. Possibly the most alluring piece in the show is Performer. The solitary figure stands with a poised body, shoulders square, eyes downcast—perhaps in deep concentration or meditation. Its pose suggests a performer who has just completed a show, that decisive moment of the final landing—or is it just the beginning?
Cadence of Stone will be on display through March 30.
Room 104 Gallery: Adele Eustis and Edie Whitsett
The tactility and interest of wax as a medium is fully on display within Room 104. The distinct work of two artists, Adele Eustis and Edie Whitsett, sit together beautifully in the same space. Both combine multiple materials, unified by the medium of wax. While Eustis’ work uses wax as a luminous binding element or substitute for paint on paper, Whitsett’s encaustic work explores wax as the primary material.
Eustis builds a warm sense of place in her hanging Glo-nests and more pictorial illustrations of nests through the medium of wax on the dark pages of a 1950s Atlas. The artist evokes the comfort and security of nest forms, but with an added radiance through actual lighting or through the warm contrast of white wax on dark paper. While Eustis constructs a space, Edie Whitsett concentrates primarily on the image of the icon—in both a traditional and modern sense. Her encaustic works and those produced with myriad applique materials are only an incremental expansion from ancient and traditional forms, but clearly contemporary, especially a large series wherein Marian iconography is reduced to only a hood (an irregular polygon, really) that is still immediately recognizable in each panel. The director of Room 104, Laurie LeClair states, “the word ‘icon’ is used loosely to include images other than saints and deities because her treatment of the images, floating in fields of color on decorative and shaped panels, elevates even a mundane object, such as an egg, to the status of an icon.” The posthumous exhibit of Whitsett’s work showcases her dexterity with the tricky medium of encaustic as well as her smart and respectful approach to her subject matter. Both Adele Eustis and Edie Whitsett produce luminous works of art that unite disparate elements to form one unique and profound image.
Continuing to Dwell and Icons will be on display through March 30.
The flatness of traditional Japanese woodblock prints has been an inspiration for many artists, from Manet to Monet and especially Toulouse-Lautrec. Seeing Cullom Gallery’s vast selection of modern and earlier works is well worth the trip up Main Street. The pieces currently exhibited provide an interesting dichotomy of woodblock conventions and modern content.
Yoonmi Nam’s pieces blend traditional Japanese imagery, such as cherry blossoms, with elements of contemporary Japanese life. The cherry blossoms spring from a microwavable noodle cup in one piece (Kitsune) that has a charming beauty and an ambiguous message that invites pleasant contemplation. Springing from an emblem of disposability and fast food culture, is the sakura branch the persistence of nature…of tradition? Is the relationship sympathetic, as both bloom and noodle bowl are ephemeral?
Also on display is Keiko Hara’s prints which explore the “relationships of inverse concepts or contradictory forces.” Inherent in most woodblock prints is the interest in flatness and the preservation of the picture plane. The landscapes and organic elements here create a sense of space within this relative flatness. Cullom Gallery’s collection of historic and contemporary Japanese and Japanese style works is truly refreshing—individually organic and meditative, but together an ode to a culture to which the art world owes so much.
Moku Hanga Innovators will be on display through March 30.