There are literal horizontal layers in these works at Seattle Art Fair 2016, but closer readings reward audiences with deeper meanings.
Cydonia (Dallas, TX), Booth B19
“Ancient Seabeds, New Horizons #3” by Julieta Aguinaco
Fragments of mountains, fields and skies meet subtle suggestions of bridges, buildings and ships. Everything is compressed into a vertical stack in “Ancient Seabeds, New Horizons #3,” like the ancient seabeds to which the title alludes. Fossils from ancient seabeds have been found high atop mountains, reminding us that the barrier between “land” and “sea” is not unchanging. In looking at Julieta Aguianco’s work, one might ask: How long will it take for our own manufactured landscapes and structures to join the sediment underwater?
Traywick Contemporary (Berkeley, CA), Booth C17
“Blue Hour” by Cynthia Ona Innis
Artist Cynthia Ona Innis has a good eye for color and dimension. Despite the rigidity of her stratified mixed-media works, the individual elements flow together into a unified whole. The curious observer can then go in for a closer look and have individual reactions to each stripe: a crack, a burst of static, sunlight and occlusions. In “Blue Hour,” a fragmented glow is sliced through by watery stripes of indigo, but certain splotches bleed across the lines. Some more visible than others. The mystery of the image’s making (and what was cut and lost in the process) enters into consideration. It isn’t just what we see that matters, but what we do not see.
Steve Turner (Los Angeles, CA), Booth B1
“15 05 05 Twitter” by Rafaël Rozendaal
Rafaël Rozendaal’s jacquard weaving could pass for Color Field painting at a distance. (And Frank Stella would probably approve of the palette.) Will everyone recognize the cascading layout of Twitter at first glance (and the browser tabs at top)? Probably not, but the title makes it clear enough (and may elicit a laugh). It’s clever work and well designed, and its monumental size could really define a room, without the busy noise of an actual Twitter feed. Indeed, it is made with the knowledge that, not only is the ephemera of the feed buried in time, but the very layout is certain to become an archaism, seared in the memory of the more avid users. The avatars and 140-character ejaculations are reduced to a varicolored display, where only the familiar shape remains. Despite its cheery surface, “15 05 05 Twitter” is a vanitas for the digital era.
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.