It’s Armory Week in NYC, and art lovers will be racing from booth to booth to gallery to booth in an attempt to see as much as they can. This Thursday in Pioneer Square, we’ll be capturing some of that frenetic energy, as there is far more than one can reasonably see in one night, with group shows galore and the opening of a major exhibition at King Street Station, Giant Steps.
Giant Steps at King Street Station
The opening celebration for Giant Steps is the culmination of months and months of planning and building by Greg Lundgren and associates. Lundgren was the lead in putting on Out of Sight last, concurrent with Seattle Art Fair. Out of Sight focused on regional artist, but for Giant Steps Lundgren put out an international call (even for people who do not identify as artists) to imagine what they might make as public art on the moon with a realistic payload and one astronaut to build it. Dozens of entries will be on display in the top floor of King Street Station, areas of which have been transformed to evoke the lunar surface.
From the Giant Steps crew:
This competition awards a $10,000.00 cash prize to one winning submission selected by an esteemed panel of aerospace and arts professionals. Join us Thursday night for the opening party, the announcement of the winning entry and participate in our “people’s choice” award. There will be performance, live music and a cash bar, and attendees are encouraged to dress for the occasion—this is a space themed party! Tickets are limited. The opening party is 21+ with proper ID.
The party starts at 6pm and admission is $25. Buy tickets online.
We recommend seeing some galleries first and then heading over to the party. As always, the galleries are free and open to the public.
Drew Michael and Rick Bartow at Stonington Gallery – Personal pick
One of my new personal favorites: Alaska-based artist Drew Michael infuses traditional carving and woodworking techniques (true to his Yup’ik and Inupiaq heritage) and creates forms that look syncretic, drawing on Abrahamic religious iconography and animism. The work combines both sturdy and delicate forms to makes something deeply humane and technically stunning. It will be a pleasure to see his work alongside the paintings and drawings of Rick Bartow, an established artist whose oeuvre has similarly drawn from many influences to show a prismatic view of life (animal, vegetable and things in between).
Marc Chagall The Bible at Davidson Galleries
The acclaimed artist and highly prolific artist Marc Chagall began illustrating the Bible in 1931 and it became a lifelong pursuit until he died at the age of 97. Davidson Galleries is presenting 24 color lithographs from Chagall’s biblical body of work, including well known scenes and figures, such as “Cain and Abel,” “Esther” and multiple scenes from “Eden.” It’s a rare treat.
On First Avenue
Sylwia Tur and Peter Gross at Linda Hodges Gallery
The angular porcelain groupings of Sylwia Tur will pair well with the colorful abstract work of Peter Gross. Tur’s delicate sculptures have clean, tangible shapes that fans of modern design will adore. Their open forms sometimes read like future fragments of contemporary objects. Gross’ paintings are robust, layered, filled with juicy colors, but even at a glance they aren’t saccharine. They have some anomalous element that keeps one’s interest—a dark shape, a phallic object, a ghostly figure.
Camille Rose Garcia at Roq La Rue Gallery
One of the paintings at Camille Rose Garcia‘s solo show Animus Chrysalis Mortis at Roq La Rue Gallery is titled “Valerian Day Dream.” That captures the altered feel of much of Garcia’s work. It’s dreamy, voluptuous, a little poisonous. Female bodies, snakes, flowers and other organic forms snare and melt into one another, rendered in stark black lines over a yellowed background or glowing in caves and darkened groves, dripping with neon ooze. Come and be intoxicated.
Neal Fryett at GLASS BOX Gallery
Artist Neal Fryett makes his solo debut at GLASS BOX Gallery with the exhibition Image Strike, which will include a multimedia installation, video and wall sculptures. From what we’ve seen, the installation will be highly textured work, with canvases perforated and disrupted by materials. Fryett’s work has been consistently interesting (from his MFA show a few years back to his durational performance at Yellow Fish last year), but aesthetically I haven’t found a consistent thread. That isn’t a criticism. It’s just me admitting that I don’t know exactly what to expect—and that’s part of the fun!
Around Main St.
SHIZEN Group Show at Bryan Ohno Gallery – Personal Pick
Celebrate the return of spring at Bryan Ohno Gallery with work from nearly a dozen artists: metal sculpture from Travis Pond; oil painting by Laura Hamje and Patricia Hagen; and a monumental glass sculpture of a tree branch titled “Crystal Skin” by Martin Blank. Nearly a dozen artists have contributed work, in their own way responding to the idea of nature (apropros of the title, meaning “natural” in Japanese), whether its the untouched landscape, the flora and fauna inhabiting it or the imagined border between wilderness and civilization.
The Tashiro Kaplan Block
Roam Group Show at Shift Gallery
Curator Liz Patterson brings together a thoughtful group show that fits in a small space, but intellectually sprawls across the map. Roam features work by Susan Robb, Matt Hilger, Samuel Payne and Christoph Gielen, four artists with mature perspectives on travel and wanderlust. Robb and Hilger are Seattle-based (a hiker and a flaneur, respectively). Payne and Gielen are based in NYC and both chart the continental United States through painting, video and photography. Come and let the mind wander.
In a similar vein…
Tom Gormally at METHOD Gallery
Artist Tom Gormally uses his idiosyncratic, kinetic sculptures to make us think about travel and locomotion in a different light in his solo exhibition ? OR BUST at METHOD Gallery. A wagon with painted books for wheels, blinking lights and whirring motors going nowhere fast—it gives a folksy, humorous spin to travel narratives and (to my mind) the myth of progress. Gormally is quite the engaging speaker and just as funny as his work implies. Mark your calendars for his artist talk on Wednesday, March 9 from 6-8pm if you want to hear it straight from him.
Tunnel of Silence Group Show at James Harris Gallery – Personal Pick
Meditative works by eight artists will fill the high white walls of James Harris Gallery, which as a space (with its narrow hall joining separate chambers) is rather made for pensive shows like this. From the gallery:
The title is a reference to a quote by poet Adrienne Rich, who stated in her 1997 lecture Arts of the Possible, “The impulse to create begins—often terribly and fearfully—in a tunnel of silence.” With a more hopeful tone, Rich went on to say, “Silence … can be fertilizing, it can bathe the imagination, it can, as in great open spaces… be the nimbus of a way of life, a condition of vision.”
Human forms in the works on display are in stoic repose or contemplation, often in spite of some distraction…or something more sinister. The suspended sculptures of Richard Rezac and lively landscapes of Aaron Morse might in another context imply energy, but by association they take on a different tone. It’s a brilliant show in its presentation alone, as more than most it reveals the contingency of feelings in the works and the viewers who are there to contemplate them.
CoCA 35 Live at PS35
Cappy Thompson and Dick Weiss at Traver Gallery
Ceramicists Cappy Thompson and Dick Weiss work collaboratively to create vessels and sculptures painted with colorful tableaux inspired by modern graffiti, ancient myths of the world and arts and crafts movements. The forms and finishes are rustic but elegant, the colors bright yet earthy. Pottery lovers shouldn’t miss it.
Victor Hugo Zayas at Abmeyer + Wood – Personal Pick
LA-based painter Victor Hugo Zayas has received widespread acclaim for his large, painterly depictions of LA River and environs. Trees rising from along its banks take on a monstrous, vital force. And in his latest Grid Series, one gets views of otherworldly landscapes…or are they just close-ups of straw and detritus afloat on the water’s surface? No matter how familiar the scene might be in other circumstances, Zayas draws the otherworldly out of it.