The last First Thursday Art Walk of 2016 is upon us. As usual, many art galleries are ending their year with group shows, featuring artworks from a spectrum of their represented artists. Audiences who want to see a diverse range of work in a short amount of time will find this ideal. Some of these group exhibitions have a loosely unifying theme, so audiences who prefer shows curated around a concept will not be left out in the cold.
I usually work north to south, but this month, I’m starting from the south end of Pioneer Square with one of my favorite shows of the night. My list makes a loop (of sorts) that puts you back at King Street Station for the biggest party and exhibition opening of the night. You have to be fast, energized and ambitious to do it all in one night. Worry not, though. Many shows are up for over a month and you can plan a return trip later.
The Tea Library part III at ArtXchange Gallery – Personal Pick
When I read that The Tea Library was returning, I took a deep breath and felt my whole body relax. One needn’t be a fanatic for tea, tea accoutrements and tea ceremonies to appreciate this show—but it helps. From Art Xchange:
Sculptor and ceramicist Christopher Shaw (Seattle) creates a transformative, site-specific installation exploring tea as a symbolic medium and artistic practice. With collaboration by visual/performance artist Red Square (New York), the exhibition uses a fluid approach to material and form to reflect the contemporary evolution of tea culture.
I am gaga for Shaw’s functional artworks and Red Square’s modern, rigorous calligraphic works. The danger of starting the night here is that I might not leave. Come for a warm, healing experience during art walk. Stay for the unique gifts that make Art Xchange one of the best places for holiday shopping.
On view through January 21 at ArtXchange Gallery (512 1st Avenue South). See more on the website.
What’s The Story? Group Show Linda Hodges Gallery
The aptly titled group show What’s The Story? at Linda Hodges Gallery nods to the narrative power of works by the four featured artists. Justin Duffus captures enigmatic moments through his blurred oil paintings. Wendelin Wolgemuth‘s fragmented forms extend beyond the edge of the panel, but are also defined by gestural marks that could imply movement or restraint. Ryan Weatherly‘s dense, painterly work practically buries the figure among an orgy of color and strokes. Ka’ila Farrell‘s sketchy, abstracted mixed media drawings and paintings are palimpsests that suggest distress, confusion, but also assertion and creative activity itself. The mind wanders with each work, and the story one might conceive often tells us more about ourselves than the artists.
On view through December 29 at Linda Hodges Gallery (316 First Ave S). See more on the website.
Holiday Group Show at Gallery IMA – Personal Pick
The annual holiday show at Gallery IMA features primarily ceramic sculpture this time. (The gallery has been showing a lot of spectacular ceramics this year.) Expect to see new and exquisite objects from invited artists who are not officially represented by the gallery. Among participating artists are Joey Chiarello (Hawaii) and Gunyoung Kim (South Korea), in addition to local ceramicists like Paul Metivier and Carol Gouthro.
On view through 31 at Gallery IMA (321 S Jackson St). See more on the website.
Art Hansen at Davidson Galleries
Over decades as a printmaker, Art Hansen has refined his style and placed work throughout the world. He won a Pulitzer prize in 1952, which was also the year of his first solo exhibition at Seattle Art Museum. This month, Davidson Galleries presents a retrospective of work from the 70s to the 2000s by Hansen. His urbane images of evergreens and people navigating the rain are apt year round in the Pacific Northwest, but they really capture the mood of winter—while his flowers will make you think of spring! Come and be charmed.
On view at Davidson Galleries (313 Occidental Ave S). See more on the website.
Winter Offering Group Show at Harris/Harvey Gallery
Harris/Harvey Gallery gathers dozens of works by represented artists responding to the landscapes and mindscapes conjured by winter. That includes the crisp monochrome photos of Peter de Lory, graphic portraits by Jeffrey Palladini and Karen Kosoglad, enigmatic representational painting by John McCormick, and plenty of more straightforward winter scenes…just to name a few. The idea of winter and what it means is left open-ended, and that’s a good attitude to take with the solstice (and a new year) upon us.
On view through at Harris/HarveyGallery (1915 1st Ave). See more on the website.
Microcosm Group Show at Abmeyer + Wood Gallery
Scale is the unifying theme in Microcosm, the year-end group show at Abmeyer + Wood. That said, the works being shown also tend toward the uncanny. Catherine Eaton Skinner‘s encaustic works and Meg Holgate‘s oil paintings have more than a touch of the mystical in them. Erika Sanada and Crystal Morey both present sculptures of hybrid creatures. Kymia Nawabi‘s collaged works show figures that seem in a trance or perhaps even between worlds.
On view through January 7 at Abmeyer + Wood (1210 2nd Ave). See more on the website.
Tashiro Kaplan Building Galleries
Christine Babic When She Dies, You Too Will Die at CoCA – Personal Pick
I feel like CoCA explains the background on this one best:
As a member of the Chugach-Sugpiaq Tribe, Christine grew up in the midst of the Exxon Valdez disaster where she bore witness to the rampant destruction of Native Lands and resources. “When She Dies, You Too Will Die,” is a love letter inspired by the devastating and unspoken history of colonization written to every victim of “The American Genocide of the Native” long dead, and a call to arms for those generations of survivors beaten and exhausted. “When She Dies, You Will Die Too”, silently and poignantly screams out that we will not be displaced again, we will not be assimilated, our culture will not be drowned your pools of oil and blood.
In short, this one feels important and urgent.
On view through December 23 at CoCA (114 3rd Ave S). See more on the website.
Katie Miller Vantage at Method Gallery
You often have to approach Katie Miller’s works from multiple sides and angles. Those who were lucky enough to see her work during CoCA’s ArtBridge event last year will remember how she used screens, sculpture and lighting to create an immersive, latticed, architectural installation. The new work, Vantage at Method Gallery is a different approach, but shares key elements. You still have to look through, walk through, swivel around to get the full picture of her coalescing lines and structures, rendered into porous silhouettes—a thoughtful reflection on the urban experience itself.
On view through December 31 at Method Gallery (106 3rd Ave S). See more on the website.
Ken Barnes Biomorphs at Shift Gallery
Sculptor Ken Barnes presents new works using a variety of stone at Shift Gallery this month. The collection, Biomorphs, nods plainly in its title to the organic inspirations that Barnes has given elegant form in rock. It’s just beautiful work.
On view through December 17 at Shift Gallery (312 S Washington St). See more on the website.
Pioneer Square, North End
Northwest Pop Up Group Show at James Harris Gallery
James Harris Gallery presents diverse, playful artworks by Northwest Artists: Claire Cowie, Jenny Heishman, Bob Jones, Fay Jones, Alwyn O’Brien, Peter Olsen, Mary Ann Peters, Akio Takamori and Brad Winchester. After seeing Fay Jones’ large paintings in a recent show, it’s especially charming to see her offer up “frescoes” in tin cans. Many works are modestly scaled and use more “provisional” and unconventional media, such as Winchester’s use of unraveled painter’s linen and Heishman’s paintings on cardboard. All around, it takes a celebratory appoach to object making with both skill and humor.
On view through December 17 at James Harris Gallery (604 2nd Avenue). See more on the website, including info about the closing party.
Jean-Claude Moschetti Parallel Worlds at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
I already highlighted this in greater depth last month, but having seen the show in person and knowing it is only up for a few more days, I must say…ICYMI go see this entrancing new series by Jean-Claude Moschetti. The beautiful, large-format photos are brilliantly staged and have subtle divination marks that invite deeper readings by those who know where to look. (I had to have it explained to me.) Even if you don’t know exactly what you are seeing, you know there is something otherworldly at work here.
Parallel Worlds is on view through December 3 at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery (608 2nd Avenue). See more on the website.
Around Main St.
Sarah McCrae Morton at Foster/White Gallery – Personal Pick
There’s an amazing story behind the soft, surreal oil paintings of Sarah McCrae Morton. From the exhibition catalog:
My great-great-great-great-grandmother, an English settler named Margaret, was westward bound from Virginia in 1779 seeking land for a homestead when her traveling party was ambushed by a group of Shawnee Indians in Ohio. She was taken captive and for five years lived with the family of the chief. She had a son named John while living among the Shawnee, and when she was ransomed back to English society of Virginia, her son went with her. He wasn’t at home there, and as a teenager he fled to the wilderness of the West. As a hunter and fur trader along the Missouri River, he revisited his childhood ways of living on the land, but it was a short-lived dream. He was murdered in the Yellowstone region in his early twenties, likely by a band of people who thought he didn’t belong where he was. All that is known of him is what his mother recorded before her death, hoping that he would live on in the memory of her descendants.
I have tried to imagine the wilderness that felt like home to John, and the desperation or spirit of adventure that lured him to the Northwest. He coursed the Missouri River a few years before Lewis and Clark mapped their route woven along ancient trails and committed to their journals descriptions of the flora and fauna that were already lifeblood and pith for people
The paintings reflect this blur of history, displacement and an uneasy relationship between wilderness and civilization, central to the character of John and also to our more general place and time.
On view through December 24 at Foster/White Gallery (220 3rd Ave S). See more on the website.
Along the Grain Group Show at Treason Gallery
Over a dozen international artists are contributing works to Treason Gallery‘s group show of editioned prints on wood. Participating artists have each contributed an image to be reproduced on plywood through a unique UV printing process. The natural qualities of the wood give each piece in the editions of ten an individual character. Artists include Cheyenne Randall, Casey Weldon, Michael Reeder, Mary Iverson and Joram Roukes.
On view at Treason Gallery (319 3rd Ave S). See more on the website.
’57 Biscayne Open House and Ghosts II
The ’57 Biscayne building is loaded with artist studios, and this Thursday they host an open house to welcome in art walkers. One of my favorite local artists Celeste Cooning has just moved into the building, and seeing her workshop in person is always a delight. In the unoccupied space downstairs, artist Amanda James Parker will display a reprise of her installation Ghosts, which premiered at Brainfreeze (formerly The Lusty Lady) earlier this year. Refreshments will be served.
Holiday Pop-Up Shop Opening at Zinc Contemporary
Zinc Contemporary‘s gallery space in the Tashiro Kaplan Building will host a pop-up shop this month. It features decor and design from its home shop in Edmonds. Zinc has been a welcome addition to the gallery community, and for those who have not taken a trip to Edmonds, this will be a taste of Zinc’s broader mission to bring art and design together in the same space.
Through December 17 at Zinc Contemporary (119 Prefontaine Pl S). See more on the website.
PDL Presents Bureau of Arts and Culture at King Street Station
Last but ABSOLUTELY not least…
The final show produced by Vital 5 at King Street Station is a brilliant trove of 21 ideas, posed to artfully solve infrastructural, cultural and civic problems in Seattle. Some are more achievable than others. Some are just dreamy. I am particularly in love with the idea of a giant vivarium right in downtown to house a Douglas Fir. And why aren’t we already doing a biennale on Harbor Island, featuring international art in shipping containers?
There is a $5 suggested donation at the door for the opening party, which runs from 6pm to 11:30 pm. Those who want to add to their art collection will be able to do so without spending another dime by taking part in the GIVE GALLERY project. Northwest Bloodworks will be on hand to draw blood and present donors with a voucher that allows them to take a work from the GIVE GALLERY. Contributors to the gallery include Ellen Forney and Jeffry Mitchell. Come, give, think big.
Featured Image: Sarah McCrae Morton, “A Wolf Had Not Been Seen in Two Hundred Years.” Image courtesy of Foster/White Gallery.