The First Thursday of 2016 is here, and the galleries in Pioneer Square are in full swing after the holidays. There are a lot of group shows this month, which tends to bring out bigger crowds, so kick off the year with a social, cultural outing and see some art.
On First Avenue
Tim Cross and Daphne Minkoff at Linda Hodges Gallery
Two solo shows by mixed media artists ought to play well together at Linda Hodges Gallery this month. Tim Cross‘ huge pigment transfers on silk are a visual feast of muted colors and pleasing shapes, stacked in a way that conveys depth and movement. It’s not an easy trick to pull off, but it has made his work easily recognizable, though no two pieces are alike. Daphne Minkoff‘s collage and oil works reduce banal objects to textured shells, things just on the edge of abstraction, whereby the pleasing, hidden shapes and colors of the everyday come to the fore.
Charismatic Megafauna at Roq La Rue
This group show opened last month, but 1) the holiday hubbub makes it hard to go gallery hopping and 2) not everyone makes it down to Roq La Rue every month, as it is further down 1st Avenue. This show is worth the trip, especially if you are an animal lover like gallerist Kirsten Anderson. This show packs in work from over a dozen artists, including some of the most prestigious of the gallery’s stable, such as Chris Berens, Peter Ferguson, Camille Rose Garcia and Peter Gronquist, to name a few. Joey Bates is known for his detailed paper cut works, and he’s really outdone himself with his lush “Christina ooh vitlejonen.” The oil paintings of Adam Doyle are another highlight, endowing the subjects (howling wolves, a kitsch classic) with a more numinous quality. The exposed interior of the creature is rendered in luminous, calligraphic strokes. Wildlife painting as a genre easily becomes kitsch, and it is nice to see some fresh, technically strong renderings.
Jacqueline Barnett at Gallery IMA
I defer to Gallery IMA‘s explanation of the show, as there is a lot to explain of it:
Two in-depth surveys of the four decades of painting by Seattle artist Jacqueline Barnett are the results of a collaboration between two organizations, Gallery IMA and Museum of Northwest Art, and two guest curators, veteran art dealer Francine Seders and independent art critic and curator Matthew Kangas. Ms. Seders has selected works made between 1977 and 2015 for MONA and Mr. Kangas selected works from the artist’s collection and designed their installation at Gallery IMA covering 1960 to the present. Together, they expose an artist long present on the contemporary art scene but perhaps not as well-known as others. Now 81, Jacqueline Barnett moved to Seattle in 1988 after years in California, Washington, DC and her native New York City. Developing as an artist and art student in all three cities, Barnett’s art reflects the gestural dynamism of postwar New York painting; the strong chromaticism of the Washington Color School; and a submerged female figuration that arose out of the Bay Area feminist movement.
The MONA show opens Saturday, January 9 and continues through March 17, so come get a glimpse of Barnett’s work at Gallery IMA first, especially if you haven’t seen her work before.
Portfolio Exhibition at Davidson Galleries
It was disappointing for some when Davidson Galleries decided in 2014 to focus exclusively on works on paper… but frankly the collection of antique and contemporary prints is so astounding I am really just happy they show any new work at all. (The new work they show is always fantastic, too, for what it’s worth.) Any time they have a portfolio show, go see it. The masterworks on display this time come from Wolfgang Gäfgen, Garo Antreasian, Juan Genoves and others.
The Tashiro Kaplan Block
Matt Sellars at Platform Gallery
Artist Matt Sellars does phenomenal, sensuous, sinuous things with wood. Based on the artist statement for his new show, Energie, one can expect sculptural works that recall (pieces of) functional objects, existing in the blurred edge between art and design:
Through the process of a number of practical decisions, something else happens: the house becomes a home. It becomes imbued with the essence of who we are. I use this as an example, but it applies to other areas of our existence. An art object might bear a striking resemblance to a utilitarian object, but the art object stands to give off a certain energy.
Stratum Group Show at SOIL Gallery
Artist-run collective SOIL will present an all-member group show, cramming in work from over a dozen artists, from sculptors to painters to those who lie somewhere in between (looking at you, Margie Livingston) and other innovators (looking at you, Ellen Ziegler and Jana Brevick). I’m not sure how it’s going to all fit, let alone how it will look, but if it’s messy, it will be gloriously so.
Cable Griffith and Maija Fiebig at G. Gibson Gallery
There’s just one week left after this Thursday to see the two solo shows of new work by Cable Griffith and Maija Fiebig. Griffith has developed a visual vocabulary whose simplified palette and shapes recall 8- and 16-bit games. The results have often been cheery, but this time he goes eerie with small scenes of wilderness at night with strange lights in the sky or recesses of the woods. The series, Sightings, was inspired by accounts of strange phenomena in the region, including his own witnessing of an inexplicable, floating cube as a child. Fiebig’s work stays closer to earth with mixed media depictions of plant life. Both artists have a stripped-down aesthetic that feels especially right for a winter show: Griffith for the darkness of the season, Fiebig for its pale austerity.
Around Main St.
Orange Dust by Troy Gua at Bonfire
This is the last month of a delightful 3-month run of Orange Dust by Troy Gua, who has convincingly transformed BONFIRE Gallery into a small archeological museum. On display: hypothetical artifacts of contemporary America mashed up with ancient Egyptian symbolism. I especially adore the laser-etched emoji cartouches and a small, gilt bust that fuses Nefertiti and Marge Simpson. Guy added a few extra pieces last month and is planning to do the same again, so even if you saw it before, pop in for another view.
Orange Dust is on display through January 28, 2016 at Bonfire Gallery (603 South Main Street).
Lisa Buchanan at Bryan Ohno Gallery
Recent works by veteran painter Lisa Buchanan carry on her style of dividing square canvases into sparsely colored labyrinths. Everything within the predictable edge of the canvas is broken into a tangle of lines, each of which seems uncertain of itself, yet delineates a path of sorts. One can’t really determine interior from exterior, though as one’s eyes rove over the canvas they naturally seek some sort of sense. The impossibility of it is just the point.
Group Shows at Greg Kucera Gallery
There’s a lot of work getting packed into Greg Kucera Gallery. A LOT. The Potato Eaters is a group show guest-curated by artists Dawn Cerny and Dan Webb, and features work by a slew of emerging local artists, including Gretchen Bennett, C. Davida Ingram, Margot Quan Knight and Rob Rhee (whose show Winter Wheat at GLASS BOX in November was outstanding). Cerny and Webb will also contribute (as will Matt Sellars, whose solo show was mentioned above). The gallery will also curate a show called Hello Again from stock by prominent members of its stable, including Whiting Tennis, Sherry Markovitz and Michael Dailey.