I was recently at a party where two guests were young professionals who wanted to grow their art collection, but weren’t yet of the means to afford a lot of large works. I hope they are reading this, as during June’s First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square there is a golden opportunity to check out affordable works and meet emerging artists at ’57 Biscayne. And just a block away, you’ll also find two of my favorite shows of the month at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery and James Harris Gallery. If time is short, definitely check out the North End section of the guide first, but hopefully you’ll be able to explore more.
“100 under $100” at ’57 Biscayne
If you haven’t checked out the ’57 Biscayne art studios at the corner of First and Cherry, now is the perfect occasion. The whole building is being renovated to become its own little arts hub, with work spaces upstairs and retail and gallery spaces at street level. The studios are hosting their third (and now annual) event, “100 under $100.” You can peruse 100 pieces of art in all mediums and styles, all of which will be priced under $100 dollars. The festivities run until 10pm (long after the official end of art walk at 8pm), so you can come late, but if you are interested in taking some art home, I say get there on the early side. Can’t make it that night, but still want to check it out? You can contact the studios to make an appointment. Read more about the show on ’57 Biscayne’s official site and the event’s Facebook page.
Mustapha Azeroual at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
I’ve already written a bit about this North American debut show from experimental photographer Mustapha Azeroual, as it opened last month, but this will be your chance to see it during art walk, and it is definitely worth the trip. One thing I couldn’t see in previews was an exquisite lenticular image, which is an altered composite of five photos (of a sunrise and sunset) that shimmers and glows as one moves around it. Like all of Azeroual’s work, it confronts the limitations of the medium (in this case, chromatic limits) and then surprises the viewer as it gets around those limitations and creates something truly unique in the process.
On display through June 25 at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery (608 2nd Ave)
New Measures at James Harris Gallery – Personal Pick
The three Latino artists in James Harris Gallery‘s brilliantly curated show New Measures each have unconventional approaches to medium and material. As the name suggests, the works are connected by a shared attention to line and proportion (and one artist, Pedro Tyler, actually uses measuring taps and rulers to construct his geometric wall sculptures). Mariano Dal Verme‘s line drawings curl into sculptures. Thomas Glassford bends metal and plexiglass into pleasing, sinuous forms within a square boundary. The works are strong on their own, but the way they interact within the space creates a truly splendid presentation that is greater than the measure of its wonderful parts.
Carmen Vetter at Traver Gallery
The kilnformed glass panels in Carmen Vetter‘s show at Traver Gallery, After Before, seem to spring from giant rifts in stone and ancient glyphs, but instead they come from the artist’s intimate visual language and a complex process of addition and subtraction that give the works such a complex texture. From Traver Gallery:
This new work begins with the grid and repeating geometric patterns; a true and mathematical structure that the artist first builds upon and then begin to deconstruct. Throughout the many step process, part of the pattern is destroyed and part of it holds. As Vetter describes it, the completed work conveys “a process of building by erosion.”
The grid remains only as a rectilinear window into something far more natural and sinuous that one can imagine spilling and swirling off beyond the edge. Vetter’s statement suggests she wants to convey specific states through these works, but they are too ambiguous for that, though each piece undeniably has a character of its own.
On display July 2 at Traver Gallery (110 Union St #200)
Around Main St.
Sherry Markovitz at Greg Kucera Gallery
At a glance, Sherry Markovitz‘s sculptures of meticulously beaded papier-mâché look floppy and cute, but then you really give them a look and these disembodied heads of stuffed animals and familiar cartoons are just drenched with melancholy. Oh, they are still funny and cute, but Markovitz’s washed-out palette with streaks of contrasting color here and there make them resemble something well-loved…and yet ultimately abandoned, whose faded memories are not pristine, but scuffed and stitched up. If you ever had a favorite stuffed animal growing up, prepare to feel a twinge when you see her solo show at Greg Kucera Gallery. The same goes for dog lovers, who will enjoy her gouache on cotton paintings. These paintings are overly sentimental, less compelling than the sculptures, but they belong in this show and I can see how they would get adopted into certain homes, especially in a dog-loving town like Seattle.
Alfredo Arreguin at Linda Hodges Gallery – Personal Pick
I always look forward to seeing new work from Alfredo Arreguin. Year by year, the style and subjects have varied little, but the work is always beautiful and he always has a few pieces that include a new design scheme or motif. In his latest show, I see more influence from Japanese scroll paintings than I recall in past works. Sometimes his depictions of local fauna veer close to kitsch, but even a scene of an orca breaching beneath Mt Rainier and a starry sky gets renewed vibrancy and energy through his signature style, which looks more like colorful tile mosaic than painting at times. Elsewhere, the see and land are completely absorbed into a tessellated color field, so instead of the deific landscape painting, you get a play with pure energy, as living forms themselves become just a species of energy. Furthermore, Arreguin’s rich, jewel-toned palette is quite contrary to the more earthy hues you more often see in regional art. Altogether, it makes his latest display another breath of fresh air.
Rafael Soldi Life Stands Still Here at GLASS BOX
A few years ago, the Frye Museum had a very uneven group show featuring 36 small works by as many local artists. Rafael Soldi‘s photograph of the back of a young man’s head and nape is one of the few I actually remember, which is interesting because it so elegantly expresses forgetting, dissipation, a lack of clarity. The image is pale, ready to disappear into the color of the wall the man is facing. This was an early attempt of Soldi to reckon with the a profound sense of loss and abandonment following the sudden and inexplicable disappearance of his partner. In Life Stands Still Here, Soldi presents photography, digital media and sculpture as a more complete meditation on that experience, which was an especially acute form of heartbreak that most visitors will know all too well.
On display through June 30 at GLASS BOX Gallery (831 Seattle Blvd S)