There are few chances to take in such a wide variety of artworks from international and local galleries in one place. The Affordable Art Fair provided just such an opportunity in Seattle last week with fifty participating galleries filling the exhibition hall at Seattle Center. The AAF also takes place in New York, Amsterdam, and London and provides exposure for perhaps lesser known artists and galleries. Every gallery presented beautiful works that were representative of their collections, but these artists stood out amongst the crowd.
Dante Brebner, PLACE Contemporary, Seattle
Dante Brebner’s “dioramas” are so much more intricate and interesting than the dioramas of elementary school days. Upon first glance, Brebner’s work appears to be simple white cubes decorated with small rectangles of color. But a further inspection reveals a tiny world that exists within that cube. These pieces exhibit an amazing sense of depth and space. The eye takes a second to adjust to the miniaturized version of our world, and slowly the line between reality and artifice begins to wane, thanks to the fine details that Brebner includes. The scenes are loaded with curious narratives and questions. Digital images might capture the scene, but Brebner’s worlds-in-a-box are an experience best viewed in person. Visit www.placecontemporary.com for more information.
Jared Bender, LxWxH, Seattle
This University of Washington MFA graduate was recently featured at the Henry Art Gallery’s MFA and MDes Thesis Exhibition. In that show, Bender exhibited tools encased in concrete—a family narrative of manual labor in the printing industry. The work presented at the Affordable Art Fair consisted of similar concrete pieces along with wood, beeswax and brass pieces. Bender’s work has an industrial quality, but it is filled with thought and tenderness. The incorporation of the beeswax between the grain of the wood creates an interesting dichotomy in visual appearance and material quality, as it seems to glow within its confines. Visit www.lengthbywidthbyheight.com for more information on Jared Bender.
Rebecca Jewell, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, New York and London
Rebecca Jewell’s technique and medium are truly unique. Her pieces are composed upon feathers and paired with natural subject matter that generally relates to the medium. Jewell completed a PHD in Natural History Illustration at the Royal College of Art in London. Jewell makes detailed etchings and prints them onto unusual surfaces and objects, including feathers. The piece on display at the Affordable Art fair evoked a sense of weightlessness, with feathers arranged atop each other, resembling a wing. Jewell’s work is sometimes constructed in more geometric designs, to a very different effect. The piece “Deer Stalker’s Headdress I,” for example, places the feathers in a semi-circular arrangement, printed with images of stags and does.
Evan Blackwell, Foster/White Gallery, Seattle
Positioned at the back of the venue, beside the event’s bar, Blackwell’s Life Cycle installation captured the attention of many viewers. Blackwell transformed a pair of US Military meteorological balloons into enormous, dark green seaweed bulbs that seemed to radiate with life and energy as they were animated gently by air pumps on a timer system. “The shifting accumulation and release of this energy is a monument to the cycles of growth and deterioration.”