Top Picks for Capitol Hill Art Walk in Seattle, June 2016

Posted on June 07, 2016, 4:51 pm
9 mins


Capitol Hill Art Walk is shaping up to be a great time this month, with several shows by some of my absolute favorite local artists. Yes, the Graphic Masters exhibition at Seattle Art Museum opens the same night, but 1) the big, crowded party will prevent you from really taking in the small, detailed work in that show, and 2) one of the shows on Capitol Hill is one-night-only. Here’s a course for the evening that hits my top six picks.

Drawing by Erin Pollock. Image courtesy of Joe Bar.

Drawing by Erin Pollock. Image courtesy of Joe Bar.

Start At Joe Bar for Erin Pollock’s The Good Fight

Artist Erin Pollock first wowed us when she and collaborator Steph Kese (together known as KeseyPollock) presented an independent, blockbuster show in 2013. The duo took time off from their grueling sculptural practice to hone their other disciplines, with Pollock enrolling at Seattle’s Gage Academy to specifically improve her figurative drawing and painting. Her solo show at Joe Bar, The Good Fight, blurs the lines between dance and battle, conflict and intimacy, agony and ecstasy. The tense tableaux of bodies clinging violently to each other are rendered in blue pencil, which gives them a strange serenity that contrasts with the content. The result is skillful, universally recognizable and evocative.

Map it: 810 E Roy St, Seattle, WA, 98122

Cairo’s Final Art Walk, featuring Baso Fibonacci, Bristol Hayward-Hughes and Úna Blue

Capitol Hill’s enigmatic and wildly creative boutique Cairo has been a hidden gem (perhaps a little too hidden), and after 8 years it is shutting down. It shall be missed by many in the arts community less as a retail space, more as a platform for both visual and performing artists. It’s fitting that its final show includes works from artists that bridge disciplines. Painter Baso Fibonacci‘s practice ranges from street to studio. Bristol Hayward-Hughes works in printmaking, photography and video. Úna Blue is a photographer and videographer who has worked with local musicians (including one of my favorites, youryoungbody, whose performance in Cairo’s back room is probably my fondest memory of the space)

Map it: 507 E Mercer St, Seattle, WA 98122

Ghost Gallery’s Expansion Initiative Gets Rolling

Fortunately, not everyone is on the outs. A few blocks away, just off of Olive, Ghost Gallery is in the midst of a campaign to expand its reach and support for local artists. The space is slightly hidden, tucked behind a mossy courtyard between an apartment building and a convenience mart, but as the name suggests, it is a haunt for fashionable shoppers who find its curated selection of affordable (and miniature) art, hand crafted jewelry, unique stationery and local wine to be irresistible. Owner and founder Laurie Kearney is expanding their selection of goods in-house while streamlining its organization. The same goes for the gallery-cum-boutique’s online presence as she looks to add a submission-based new media platform, artist interviews and more content.

If you are already a fan, now is a good time to swing in and see what Kearney has planned. If you haven’t checked Ghost Gallery out yet, make a point to stop by on Thursday. The current show is a light-hearted display of custom shirts by Leigh Riibe, Lynda Sherman, Kerstin Graudins, Andrea Marcos and others, co-curated by Grant Rehnberg in celebration of Pride Month. Read more about the expansion project on the Facebook page.

Map it: 504 E Denny Way, Seattle, WA 98122

The Pickle Jar with Silver Elephants (2007) by Jeffry Mitchell

The Pickle Jar with Silver Elephants (2007) by Jeffry Mitchell

Jeffry Mitchell and Alfred Harris Serve Milk, Milk, Lemonade at Calypte

It’s a good week for Jeffry Mitchell. It was just announced that a selection of his work will be featured in a special display at Seattle Art Fair in August. From the looks of it, that will include a screen that debuted at Calypte Gallery last year. Calypte is a residential gallery open only during Capitol Hill Art Walk, and it has provided artists the chance to show works that are experimental (or maybe just a little outside their norm) and audiences a chance to view them in an intimate setting with the artist present. In this case, two artists will be present: Mitchell and long-time friend and collaborator Alfred Harris.

Harris has also been doing well lately; he just had a sell-out show at ZINC in Edmonds, and the gallery is having him back for an encore showing, June 16-18. (Learn more.) Together at Calypte, Harris and Mitchell will be showing playful, collaborative new works in ceramic and on paper. Read more about the show and how to find Calypte Gallery in our post, Milk, Milk, Lemonade.

Map it: 1107 E Denny, Apt A2, Seattle, WA 98122

Grant Rehnberg’s The Family Connection at V2

The former Value Village on 11th Ave has been reopened as a temporary arts space known as V2 (riffing on both its past identity and its new, temporary tenant Velocity Dance Center. In addition to dance performances and workshops, the space will also host a few art installations before the building and its adjacent parking lot are redeveloped. I’m happy to say that Grant Rehnberg’s The Family Connection is among the first. I first saw it two years ago at FRED Wildlife Refuge where it was up for just two nights, and was moved. It’s a fitting subject for Pride Month: Rehnberg made it as a dedication to his grandfather, a Baptist pastor and WWII vet, who came out of the closet to his grandson just months before passing away. From the artist:

The Family Connection is an experiential installation including the artist’s scale reproduction of his grandfather’s childhood home, and a shrine consisting of an assemblage of personal and familial artifacts. Inside the home, participants will view a short film documenting the artist’s ritualistic and performative destruction of a familial relic.

The Family Connection will be on display for the July 14 Capitol Hill Art Walk as well, which will feature readings by poet Sarah Galvin and music by Jordan O’Jordan and Mal DeFleur.

Map it: 1525 11th Ave, Seattle, Wa 98122

Ellen Ziegler’s Vermilion at Vermillion’s 8th Anniversary

When Ellen Ziegler debuted her last solo show of works on paper at LxWxH in Georgetown, a lot of people showed up at Vermillion on Capitol Hill. Her show was called Vermilion, after the dominant pigment in her intricate drawings, made from powdered cinnabar. It only seems natural that her latest show of drawings and paintings (her third featuring this vibrant color) would be Vermillion for real this time. especially when the venue is celebrating its 8th anniversary. Thanks to owner Diana Adams, Vermillion has provided a venue for an incredibly diverse range of musicians, visual artists, poets and lecturers…possibly more than any other space on the Hill in the last decade. So come not just to see the fabulous new works by Ziegler (and to learn a little something about vermilion) but to celebrate Vermillion with a signature cocktail for the occasion.

Map it: 1508 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122


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