January 2015 Art Walk Preview Guide and Art Walk Awards

Posted on January 06, 2015, 12:00 am
18 mins


The second Thursday of 2015 is a few days away, and art walks on Capitol Hill and in Pioneer Square will happen simultaneously, as no one could be asked to attempt an art walk on first Thursday, the day after New Year’s Eve. That would have been cruel to everyone involved. Group and solo shows abound, plus City Arts will have its quarterly Art Walk Awards party later in the evening, so plan to make a night of it.

I won’t overwhelm you with a complete list, but these are some highlighted shows opening the new year.

The Tashiro Kaplan Block

TEXTure at Method Gallery – Personal Pick

I shy from phrases like “star-studded” in the art world, but the new show at Method Gallery rather deserves it, as it is a unique pairing of local luminaries of arts and literature—or rather three pairings: Sherman Alexie with Lia Hall and Cedar Mannan, Daemond Arrindell with Maura Donegan, and Jeannine Hall Gailey with Carol Milne.

Last year’s pairing of painters and poets at Blindfold Gallery proved that the visual and literary arts really ought to be married more in Seattle, where there is a strong community for both. TEXTure at Method has set the stage for some brilliant collaborations, with a true dialogue between the media. Visual artists take written work by their collaborators to create objects, to which the poets then respond with ekphrastic writing.

On Thursday, January 29 (at 6 PM), Seattle Public Library will host a panel for the collaborators. The artists will discuss the process, and the poets will read the poetry that inspired the visual art and the poems inspired by the visual art. Mark your calendars, and definitely see the work in person before the panel.

TEXTure is on display through February 21 at METHOD Gallery (106 3rd Ave S).

Neon sculpture inspired by poetry by Sherman Alexie

Neon sculpture by Cedar Mannan and Lia Hall, inspired by poetry by Sherman Alexie. Image courtesy of Noble Neon.

Dylan Neuwirth at Punch Gallery – Personal Pick

After the text-based content of his show at Vermillion and his “Just be your Selfie” installation at Occidental Park, artist Dylan Neuwirth carries forward his inquiry of “post-human” wired culture with the show Absolute Zero. Neuwirth has been trickling cryptic, symbolic images on social media, and the home page of his website right now is a twinkling nightscape and a run-on sentence, very much “on brand” with the confused, commoditized posturing of the social media age that Neuwirth frequently dissects:

You’re into something and so is everyone you know so whatever oh shit don’t be like them just be normal but cool no motherfucking way I’m going back to that small town and be that nobody again I’m totally unique just like you are but different so together and fresh under total self control trending 100% on brand.

You can see a few more of the cryptic images in a section for Absolute Zero, including a design that has really grabbed my attention: a sort of neo-yin-yang made from concentric circles and arcs. I have no idea what to expect, but Neuwirth knows how to build a buzz (the medium is really the message) and I am dying to see what comes of it.

Absolute Zero by Dylan Neuwirth is on display through January 31 at PUNCH Gallery (119 Prefontaine Pl S).

Tyson Skross at Platform Gallery

After a few drinks, I have been known to admit aloud, “At this point, every time I see ‘deconstructed object’ that’s supposed to command my attention, I feel like deconstructing the gallery with a wrecking ball.” In vino veritas.

A lot of this sort of work is intellectually and physically lazy. It fits the stereotype of modern art being a smoke-and-mirrors grab for attention by narcissists and dilettantes. But not all minimal, gritty, abstract or even “deconstructed” work is created equal. I am quite pleased by glimpses of work by Tyson Skross, and I am actually excited to see everything on the walls.

Skross seems to have that honed eye for composition that gives even the most minimal works a complex life of their own. In his watery, grungy mixed-media works on panel coming to Platform Gallery (from NYC, where Skross is based) one sees both Kazimir Malevich and Helen Frankenthaler. At a glance, hos work could get lost among plenty of post-somethingorother artists out there, whose aleatory and arbitrary practices leave one feeling hollow, if not flat out dissed. However, one can see in Skross’ work a careful balance of forms bridged by geometrical considerations and the blurry washes of color that pull it all together, rewarding closer examination.

Works by Tyson Skross are on display through February 14 at Platform Gallery (114 Third Avenue S).

"Black Tail Deer 1" and "2" (l to r) by Travis Pond. Image courtesy of the artist and Bryan Ohno Gallery.

“Black Tail Deer 1” and “2” (l to r) by Travis Pond. Image courtesy of the artist and Bryan Ohno Gallery.

Around Main St.

Travis Pond and Rhythm of Colors at Bryan Ohno Gallery – Personal Pick

We in the Northwest love our wildlife—at least in theory, though we are often no better at preserving habitats than other places as we expand outward by industry and urban sprawl. With our marine and aerospace industries, we also have a gritty, mechanical side, which in its own way pits us against the elements, whether its the pollution of it or simply the fact that sailing off into a storm is going to humble you, one way or another.

Portland-based sculptor Travis Pond takes the mechanical and the wild and merges them in his fused scrap-metal renderings of familiar birds and beasts. The works are dense and imposing, and yet the fluid assembly and exquisite shaping allows one to imagine them rising from a heap of spare parts and stalking off into the wild, wriggling upstream, or even taking flight.

The use of scrap metal is a sort of folk art, while wildlife sculpture is very often kitsch, but Pond’s work seems to elude both categories. It is very much a curious blend of mediums, industry and wilderness. On opening night, Bryan Ohno Gallery will still have works from the previous show hanging on the walls, including Camile Patha and Isabel Kahn (and a gorgeous mixed-media and light sculpture by Justin Lytle), so it will be a very busy and eye-catching event. Those works come down this weekend, so don’t miss your chance to see it all on Thursday. It’s all Pond.

Works by Travis Pond are on display through February 28 at Bryan Ohno Gallery (512 S Main St).

In the Absence of… group show at Greg Kucera Gallery

Gallerist Greg Kucera has invited Sierra Stinson and Klara Glosova to in turn invite artists to explore “a gap”…a most open idea that conjures everything from profound loss to pure potential. Kucera himself has not taken a real vacation in decades, and in allowing himself to travel he has himself created a gap that Stinson and Glosova ought to fill ably. The former is the founder of alternative exhibition space and online venue Vignettes, and Glosova is founder of NEPO House and the NEPO 5k Don’t Run event. They have both curated many shows and festivals, and for this exhibition they have pulled work from nearly a dozen local artists, including Megumi Shauna Arai, Rafael Soldi, Alice Gosti, Reilly Sinanan and Nat Evans.

These artists work in a vast array of media, from painting to choreography to photography. There is no telling what will come of it or how each will address the idea of “a gap,” but it will certainly be a unique cross-section of emerging talent from the region in one place.

In the absence of… is on display through February 14 at Greg Kucera Gallery (212 3rd Ave S.)

Jerôme Poirier at Hall Spassov

Canadian artist Jerôme Poirier is an established artist who over the years has worn many hats: painter, sculptor, teacher and set designer. The many disciplines are evident in his work, which even on the canvas sometimes seems to break into many facets. Its figurative subjects—mostly women—are sometimes dissolve into geometric forms, giving them a decorative appeal that at the same time adds to the character of the faces and bodies that are either disintegrating or coalescing…one can’t be sure.

Works by Jerôme Poirier are on display through January 31 at Hall Spassov Gallery – Seattle (319 3rd Ave S).

warranutchai kajaree mezzotint of a donald duck figurine

“Untitled” mezzotint by Warranutchai Kajaree. Image courtesy of the artist and Davidson Galleries.

Occidental and 1st

Contemporary Prints from Thailand at Davidson Galleries – Personal Pick

The Chiang Mai Art on Paper (C.A.P.) Studio was founded in 2004 and has quickly become an important institution in the spiritual and artistic center in the city…and personally I’m kicking myself for not knowing about it when I visited Chiang Mai in 2005. The works on display at Davidson Galleries this month by C.A.P. artists show enormous diversity. The landscapes of Ammarin Kuntawong and the swirling figures of Lipikorn Markeaw both clearly come from Southeast Asia, but are indeed modern. Meanwhile, the dark mezzotint images of Warranutchai Kajaree and the ethereal woodcuts of Praween Piangchoompoo flatten sculptural forms into starkly modern images. I often cringe at pop cultural references, but there is no denying that Kajaree’s darkly mirrored image of a Donald Duck figurine is loaded with pathos.

Works from Chiang Mai Art on Paper will be on display through February 3 at Davidson Galleries (313 Occidental Ave S).

Fred Holcomb / G. Lewis Clevenger at Linda Hodges Gallery

"Pilings" by Holcomb. Image courtesy of Linda Hodges Gallery.

“Pilings” by Fred Holcomb. Image courtesy of Linda Hodges Gallery.

Linda Hodges Gallery represents some of the finest modern landscape painters in the region—artists who frequently renew the genre with sensitivity and humor. Fred Holcomb’s work is squarely in that realm. His dreamy horizons play with depth and light beautifully. They are the sort of works one could easily fall into. In many of these new works, skillful blurring in the foreground or background instead makes one slide parallel or obliquely to the wall if one looks to the edges rather than the center. In all of the work, there is a sense of infinity, but with these landscapes in motion there is simultaneously a sense of urgency.

The work of G. Lewis Clevenger is an interesting contrast in the same space. Clevenger’s work is layered and graphic, the sort of work you peel back instead of fall into. Where Holcomb is smooth, Clevenger is scratchy. And the latter is more at play with the idea of brightness than light in the flattened, fractured surface of the canvas. It will be interesting to see both together, as they can be appreciated on their own, but the stark differences between the two may inspire a new appreciation peculiar to this show.

Works by Fred Holcomb and G. Lewis Clevenger will be on display through January 31 at Linda Hodges Gallery (316 1st Ave S).

Incantation at Roq La Rue

Roq La Rue is often the last stop of the night for many at art walk. Its gathering of artists and enthusiasts always proves to be a lively end to the evening among the always eye-catching pop surrealist and contemporary works that it shows. (Even if you aren’t a big fan of pop surrealism, you have to admit that they draw the eye.)

This month promises to be a visual feast with the group show Incantation, featuring work from fourteen artists—from the masterful paintings of Peter Ferguson and Chie Yoshii, to the incredibly detailed ink drawings of Sail, to the enchanting textile sculpture of Mandy Greer. Like several other group shows, it is only up through this month, so don’t miss it.

Incantation will be on display through January 31 at Roq La Rue Gallery (532 1st Ave S).

Last but soooo not least, art walk revelers ought to end their night on Capitol Hill for the City Arts Art Walk Awards. RSVP online to join a merry band of artists, collectors and art enthusiasts, who will convene at Sole Repair (1101 E Pike St) to drink and dance and vote for their favorite work from nine artists who were showed at commercial and independent galleries this fall. It’s not meritocratic and it isn’t your usual gallery experience, so I always highly recommend it to people who may be intimidated by the gallery experience. It’s a great place to put your toe in and also meet and mingle.

The nine nominees are: Sean M. Johnson, (recent Neddy Award-winner) Susannah Bluhm, Devon Midori Hale, Ben Hirschkoff, Romson Regarde Bustillo, Katy Stone, Megumi Arai, Tim Cross and Allyce Wood. The party starts at 7 PM and goes until 11 PM, but be sure to show up well before the end to see the works and vote.

Happy art walking!

Update: I have been remiss in not mentioning the monthly Collect Seattle event also covering the art walks. Collect Seattle organizes an intimate group tour of the highlighted galleries among enthusiasts and collectors. This month, the tour hits Greg Kucera Gallery, Roq La Rue and Ghost Gallery (presenting a great array of small works from dozens of artists). The tour starts from vermillion on Capitol Hill and circles back for the Art Walk Awards. Read more on the event page. Happy art cruising!

T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.