Pioneer Square Gallery Guide (and Giant Steps!), March 2016

Posted on March 02, 2016, 11:54 am
14 mins


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.

Lady of the North by Drew Michael

Drew Michael, “Lady of the North,” 2015. Image courtesy of Stonington Gallery.

Around Occidental

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).

On display through April 2 at Stonington Gallery (125 S Jackson St)

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 display through April 2 at at Davidson Galleries (313 Occidental Ave S).


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.

On display through April 2 at Linda Hodges Gallery. (316 1st Ave S)

Valerian Fever Dream by Camille Rose Garcia

Camille Rose Garcia, “Valerian Fever Dream,” 2016. Image courtesy of Roq La Rue Gallery.

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.

On display through April 2 at Roq La Rue (532 1st Ave)


South End

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!

On display through March 26 at GLASS BOX Gallery (831 Seattle Blvd S)


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.

On display through March 19 at Bryan Ohno Gallery (521 S Main St.)

Sunrise by Laura Hamje

Laura Hamje, “Sunrise,” 2016. Image courtesy of Bryan Ohno Gallery.


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 HilgerSamuel 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.

On display through April 2 at Shift Gallery (312 S. Washington Street)

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.

On display though April 9 at METHOD Gallery (106 3rd Ave S)


Sono the Sentinel by Fay Jones

Fay Jones, “Sono, the Sentinel” 2015. Image courtesy of James Harris Gallery.

North End

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.

On display through February 13 at James Harris Gallery (604 2nd Ave)

CoCA 35 Live at PS35

Center on Contemporary Art is celebrating 35 years in Seattle with art from almost 100 local and international artists at venues throughout the city. The largest venue is in Pioneer Square and it will have its opening reception during First Thursday Art Walk, from 6-10pm. See the full list of artists and venues (and gallery times) on the website. The shows continue through April 23.


Cappy Thompson and Dick Weiss, "Shaman," 2015. Image courtesy of Traver Gallery.

Cappy Thompson and Dick Weiss, “Shaman,” 2015. Image courtesy of Traver Gallery.


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.

On display through April 2 at Traver Gallery (110 Union St #200)

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.

On display through April 2 at Abmeyer + Wood (1210 2nd Ave)

LA River painting by Victor Hugo Zayas

Victor Hugo Zayas, “L.A. River,” 2011. Image courtesy of Abmeyer + Wood.

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