“Little Death Hollow” by Matt Sellars at Platform Gallery
The emptiness and solitude of the desert landscape shapes Matt Sellars’ exhibition Formation. The work “Little Death Hollow” speaks to the apparent harsh desert environment and the seemingly empty recesses and darkened spaces of the dry and cracked landscape. “Little Death Hollow” evokes a ribcage, carved immaculately in a white stained poplar. This medium allows the work to exist as a hand-made artwork, but also fills it with the echoes of sun-bleached bones. Sellars describes the desert as poetry, but also as “the pause between the stanzas.” This sense of pauses and rhythms is illustrated through the natural interludes of the ribcage. The sculpture is defined by the negative space in and around its sleek structure. Sellars states, “This exhibition is a reflection upon a resource of emptiness and those who seek to occupy this void.” The title of “Little Death Hollow” is well chosen. The work captures the essence of the harsh desert environment, but also speaks to the relation of emptiness and form, absence and presence.
“Viscosity” by Matthew Dennison at Abmeyer+Wood
The style of Matthew Dennison is quite unique, but remains in the realm of the familiar. His oil on canvas works for Connectivity have a surreal, yet storybook quality to them. The paintings are not only stylistically reminiscent of storybooks, but they also have a strong narrative, which here emphasizes strange human interactions with nature. In “Viscosity,” Dennison captures one such scene—a moose running through a forested setting with a cabin in the background. This dichotomy of curious human and animal interaction is apparent in much of Dennison’s work, but especially here through the rending of figure and space. Dennison employs a cut out technique, which creates a mask-like appearance to the moose and to various elements within the house. The moose appears separate from the space, signifying delineation between the natural environment and the human sphere. Dennison’s application of a high-gloss atop the pieces intensifies image’s effect and its surreal quality. Matthew Dennison’s Connectivity reflects human and animal interactions, but also a unique method of narrative storytelling.
“Float” by Robert Hardgrave at Cullom Gallery
Robert Hardgrave’s “Manifestations” are a collection of primarily ink and gouache on mulberry paper pieces. While many of Hardgrave’s works are reminiscent of a Kandinsky, the piece entitled Float fills the entire paper in an all-over style. The harsh geometric lines and shapes are juxtaposed and softened by the coalescing colors of the gouache medium. Float like most work in Manifestations, is quite small—emphasizing Hardgrave’s interest in the role of drawing. Hardgrave interprets this show as an open narrative of life and state. The drawings reflect a progressive and expansive quality from one piece to the next.
“Untitled” by Leif Ilvedson at HUB Seattle
Positioned before a window on the street, the artist’s self-portrait draws one into HUB Seattle with its emotive eyes. The white and orange tones of this work—reminiscent of sepia—are ghostly. On a far wall, the juxtaposition of the self-portrait to the darkness of Ilvedson’s untitled work is striking—yet the works bear a familiarity with each other. The palette knife painting captures a haggard figure that emerges from darkness and skeins of dripping paint. The embedded wire structures subtly hidden in the brows and lips provide a sense of three-dimensionality but also function to physically shelter the figure’s features from the drips. As in most painting, Ilvedson navigates the difficult—and often wavering line—between spontaneity and control. The figure that Ilvedson captures is one that is present yet eerily aloof—as are most of the characters captured in his portraits.