The time to hibernate inside is ending, and this means being more social—and perhaps renewing the space you have been occupying for the last few months. There is a wide array of work showing in the galleries downtown and in Pioneer Square this month, so here are some of the highlights.
Marita Dingus and Mark Bennion at Traver Gallery – Personal Pick
Marita Dingus is another longtime fixture of the arts. (I consider her a local treasure.) Her mixed-media doll sculptures are not very cuddly, but they exude pathos and personality. In one sense, they bring to life the inanimate objects incorporated into them; in another sense, they use these inanimate objects to invest a personality into the blank slate of the doll. Despite how unique each one is, they are all unmistakably of her style. It is always a treat to see a number of them assembled in one space.
Mark Bennion’s work is on the more meditative end of the spectrum. Rather than narrative, his large frescoes evoke a lost history with an ancient, worn texture embedded with jolts of color and occasional geometric forms that look more modern. The gallery chose well showing these two very different artists at the same time.
Works by Marita Dingus and Mark Bennion are on display through March 28 at William Traver Gallery (110 Union Street #200).
Steve Jensen: Voyage at Abmeyer + Wood
Sculptor Steve Jensen has put his mark on the region with public sculptures, but he has also created a large body of work using simplified boat imagery in sculpture, painting, drawing and encaustic. A range of these works is on display at Abmeyer + Wood. From rustic carved canoes to ornate cast bronze to eclectic fusions of resin, glass and found metal, Jensen explores the vessel form in ways that conjure dreams and myth and that even landlubbers will appreciate.
Steve Jensen: Voyage is on display through March 28 at Abmeyer + Wood (1210 2nd Ave).
Tashiro Kaplan Building
Ruth Marie Tomlinson: flat fall at Method Gallery
Despite all the development in Seattle (and a lumber industry that culled large swaths of forest in the preceding centuries), we can still well claim the title of Emerald City. We have a lot of trees, and their benign, vital presence is generally enjoyed by all. The idea of deconstructing a tree for wood supplies is nothing novel, and the idea of bringing a dead tree from elsewhere seems a bit redundant, but that’s just what artist Ruth Marie Tomlinson has done. She has sectioned a tree felled by wind in Two Dot, Montana into 337 parts, catalogued them and laid them flat on the floor of the gallery. It’s less a play with the material than with idea of space: of reducing a three-dimensional, irregular form into something flat and compact. It’s a minor spectacle that invites deeper consideration.
flat fall is on display through April 11 at Method Gallery (106 3rd Avenue South).
Duwamish Residency: Process and Artifacts at 4Culture – Personal Pick
The Duwamish Artist Residency is an established roster of twelve notable, local artists: Ethan Bickel, Chris Crites, Sue Danielson, Linda Davidson, Jessica Dodge, Emily Gherard, Robert Hardgrave, David Kane, Steve MacFarlane, Fiona McGuigan, Gene Gentry McMahon and Juliet Shen. Since 2012, these artists have gathered on the shores of the Duwamish River each August and work en plein air for eight consecutive days. This exhibition features works created during recent residency periods, curated by Sharon Arnold. From the statement on 4Culture’s website: “While some pieces are directly related to days on the river, others represent the consequence of a slow and subtle infiltration of the Duwamish experience into an individual artist’s visual vocabulary and studio practice.”
Process and Artifacts is on display through March 26 at 4Culture (101 Prefontaine Pl S). There will be an Artist Talk on Tuesday, March 24, 6-7:30 PM in the gallery.
Sheri Bakes at Foster / White – Personal Pick
Spring seems to blowing directly into Foster/White’s capacious gallery space with the work of Sheri Bakes, whose latest oil on canvas paintings have a lush, windblown feel. Her use of color is simply top notch, finding a balance between the cheerful and the brooding. For though she uses vivid splotches in some works, there is always a darker element that feels grounding…or perhaps even a little sinister. Between the physical and the ethereal, the earth and the heavens, it’s work that evokes movement, transformation and transition absolutely perfect for the season.
New work by Sheri Bakes is on display through March 28 at Foster/White Gallery (220 3rd Ave S).
Ellwood Risk at Hall|Spassov
For fans of pop and graphic arts, Ellwood Risk is worth a look. His collages of Americana always a include a central silhouette cut from gun targets, and some of these silhouettes are gunslingers themselves. There is a lot out there that incorporates pop culture, violence, consumerism, ephemera, et cetera in messy ways that feel more or less cynical, but these get the formula right. They aren’t groundbreaking in their content—and almost come across as thinking they are more provocative than they actually are—but they are sharp, solid works with broad appeal.
Works by Ellwood Risk are on display through March 31 at Hall|Spassov (319 3rd Ave S).
Marko Kratohvil at Christian Grevstad – Personal Pick
The work at design firm Christian Grevstad is always beautiful and appealing, but as it is not a devoted commercial gallery, the rotation of work is slow and not presented as a show that screams for critical review. That said, I almost always pop in during art walk because I love seeing the work they do show placed in a space that shows just how you can live with a piece of work.
The sculptures by established artist Marko Kratohvil in the gallery space are absolutely world class. Their exceptionally refined, slender shapes have a life of their own, seemingly sprung with metal purity from within a Kandinsky canvas.
See them and some pretty great Guy Anderson paintings at Christian Grevstad (312 Occidental Avenue S).
From Many Wounds: Käthe Kollwitz at Davidson Galleries
Meanwhile, for art that may be harder to live with…
Vanguard Seattle arts writer Claire Reiner is covering this show already, so I won’t linger on it but I will say this: Go. This is a phenomenal collection of work by one of the world’s most gifted printmakers. There is a beautiful show in the front gallery, too, (which comes down March 14) but GO see this visceral, powerful, deeply human show. Seriously.
From Many Wounds: Käthe Kollwitz is on display through March 28 at Davidson Galleries (313 Occidental Ave S).
Carol Gouthro and Jim Kraft at Gallery IMA
Gallery IMA celebrates nine years in Seattle this year, and a renewed focus on ceramic work in the direction of the gallery is coming to light with a show of work by Carol Gouthro and Jim Kraft. The medium might be the same, but they diverge wildly in aesthetics. Gouthro’s botanically inspired forms are colorful and juicy, with pigments applied in fine lines within larger fields of color. Kraft’s objects assemble uncolored rolls and dowels of clay into jars, baskets and barques, emphasizing the natural earth tones and textures.
Works by Carol Gouthro and Jim Kraft are on display through March 28 at Gallery IMA (123 S Jackson St).
Sam Wolfe Connelly, Liz Brizzi and Darla Teagarden at Roq La Rue
This is a stunning group display of three artists, all of which have a dreamy and haunted quality. Sam Wolfe Connelly’s paintings feel soaked in tea and opiates, a voyeuristic view into scenes where something seems to be going terribly wrong—and therefore you can’t look away. Darla Teagarden (making her Seattle debut) uses the photographer as model in intricate sets that face down anxiety, depression and addiction with imagination and whimsy. Liz Brizzi constructs imaginary, industrial, dystopic city views from a collage of painting and photography on wood.
Looming overhead, a new massive wheat paste by street artist No Touching Ground is up and for the next few months. This one is a feast for the eyes and absolutely worth the small jaunt down 1st Avenue.
The show runs through March 28 at Roq La Rue Gallery (532 1st Ave S).
“Dido’s Lament” and The Fallen at AXIS Pioneer Square
It’s a multimedia extravaganza tonight at AXIS, and a hip crowd is sure to attend. It’s the premier of a new music video/art short by Roxanna Walitzki and the opening of an exhibition of work by painter Chris Sheridan and photographer Amanda Paredes.
About the video from the event page:
In an experimental arrangement and art-video, Roxanna Walitzki explores the transitory nature of being, questions what remains when we cease to exist, and reinvents the past by breathing imaginative new life into “When I am Laid in Earth (Dido’s Lament),” from Henry Purcell’s 17th-century opera Dido and Aeneas. Marking the beginning of an innovative new period, she seamlessly blends traditional opera with her unique brand of styling, movement, and audio production. Roxanna uses electronically-manipulated
organic sounds to augment the score: desperately gasping breaths, scraping bones, and samples of luna moths (in various stages of their short and restless lives), punctuate the song’s drama, with simultaneous force and sensitivity.
We’re down for that. And Amanda Paredes photography and Chris Sheridan’s painterly works on canvas are a nice complement. Titled The Fallen, the works are inspired by other poetic and musical sources: Dante’s Inferno, and Henryk Górecki “Miserere, Opus 44.” Expect lots of beautiful women, striking poses, flowing textiles and a balance of dark and light.
It’s not too early to think ahead to next week for Capitol Hill Art Walk on March 12. As usual, the party bus of Collect Seattle is taking art lovers (especially those unfamiliar with the local gallery scene who want a fun entree). Check out the itinerary and buy tickets online.