We all know the image of Seattle that most people have from the outside: grey. On Day 2 of Seattle Art Fair, the morning is starting out precisely that way outdoors. There is also plenty of luscious grey indoors at Century Link Event Center. Here are some of my favorites from the booths.
Bridge Productions (Seattle, WA), Booth A28
“Untitled” by Emily Gherard
Artist Emily Gherard works large on paper and canvas, in paint and charcoal, creating liminal forms that seem to be lit from behind, and viewed through either mist or glass. In the large drawing at the Bridge Productions booth, the looming linear forms are so basic that they could be just about anything of that general shape, but just textured and soft enough to keep things interesting. Though it is on two pieces of paper, the image is not a diptych, but rather a single shadow sliced through by a finely scattered beam of light.
Forum Gallery (New York, NY), Booth A21
“Shoal” by Alan Magee
Grey is warm and meditative in the photorealistic painting “Shoal” by Alan Magee. Though the background is an earthy brown, its evenness suggests either artifice or just an imagined surface where the cluster of water-smoothed rocks lie in a diffuse light with zen tranquility. Photorealistic art can overwhelm the senses with its details and trompes l’oiel, but here it renders the subject in the most pristine, placid way. It almost feels objective, but the artist’s hand and eye are still present, guiding the image into this most meditative form.
ACA Galleries (New York, NY), Booth B26
“Figure 7” by Jasper Johns
Known for his audacious and often humorous appropriation of pop and high art images in his own work, octogenarian artist Jasper Johns has occupied a grey area of his own in the art world. The coy face of La Gioconda disappearing into (or peeking out from) squiggly folds of abstract lines and a big numeral seven is grey in its meaning. (One reading: Is one of art’s most famous figurative images being consumed by forces of chaos and abstraction, or asserting that figuration will never disappear?) Many other readings abound, but regardless of what one sees in it, I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it categorically attractive to look at.
There are many more gorgeous grey works at other booths, including many silver gelatin photographs with a tonal range that emphasizes the middle values, keeping the whites mellow and the blacks velvety. Here are some suggestions:
- Gallery Luisotti, Booth C11: “Break,” Archival pigment print, 2016 by CJ Heyliger
- James Harris Gallery, Booth B14: “Cherry Tree Grid 002,” Silver Leaf on Archival Inkjet Print, 2015 by Bing Wright
- Monte Clark Gallery, Booth C26: “Ice Point,” Dye on line, 2016 by Colleen Heslin
- Pace/MacGill Gallery, Booth A7: “Harvest Traffic over Agricultural Pivot near Hermiston, Oregon,” toned gelatin silver print image, 1991 by Emmet Gowin
- Sullivan Goss, Booth B24: “Spring Rain,” Oil on canvas, 1910 by Leon Dabo
- Zurcher Gallery NY/Paris, Booth B11: “Independence (1300 Cunningham 1)” and “Independence (1300 Cunningham 2),” Graphite, charcoal on paper, 2015 by Matt Bollinger
The 2016 Seattle Art Fair runs from August 4 through August 7. Learn more and buy passes on the Seattle Art Fair website, and check out all our coverage of the booths, events and the vision of the fair as a whole.