Pioneer Square and Downtown Seattle Art Gallery Guide, January 2017

Resolve to see more art in 2017, starting with the new shows in Pioneer Square and downtown.

Posted on January 05, 2017, 3:18 pm
9 mins


First Thursday has arrived, which means the art galleries in Pioneer Square and downtown Seattle will be open late for First Thursday Art Walk. Brave the cold and see some art. In case you don’t want to range all over town, prioritize the Tashiro Kaplan Building, which is home to many galleries with shows worth seeing this month.

Also, if you don’t want to be in and out of galleries, Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Asian Art Museum have free admission to the regular galleries every First Thursday. A friendly reminder: It’s the final week of SAM’s Yves Saint Laurent exhibit, YSL: The Perfection of Style. Pre-sale tickets are sold-out, but more tickets will be available on-site and are half-off for First Thursday Art Walk.

Quite a few shows offer a burst of color to combat the gray of winter. Others are more subdued and conceptual. Here are some highlights from the galleries this month.

Tashiro Kaplan Building Galleries

Here’s a quick rundown of the shows I’m most excited to see (but do check out everything on the block).

Opposing Forces at SOIL Gallery

Opposing Forces displays the fruits of collaboration between artists Emily Gherard and Amanda Knowles over the last year. Layered two-dimensional, multi-media works (drawings, painting, print, collage) are complemented by sculptures that reflect the themes of distortion, repetition, creation and destruction. Read more online. (112 3rd Ave S)

Emily Gherard and Amanda Knowles

Emily Gherard and Amanda Knowles. “Opposing Forces no. 1.”
2016. Image courtesy of SOIL Gallery.

Surrealism Part – Fear of the Other at CoCA Gallery

Artist Laura Rodriguez creates an immersive, multimedia experience at CoCA Gallery. Surrealism Part – Fear of the Other looks at the history of LGBTQ and minority persecution through a Surrealist lens. Rodriguez will be working in collaboration with other artists to present choreographed performance and audience participation is encouraged. The space transform throughout the month, until the shows closes on January 28. Read more online.

RISE at Core Gallery

The gallery’s annual community show is curated by artist Andrea Taylor this year. RISE – Overcoming Tragedy and Trauma reflects on the healing of wounds, emotional and otherwise. 30 percent of sales of artworks in the show will support Art with Heart, a nonprofit that uses art therapy to improve the mental health and well-being of youth facing hardship.

Liz Tran at ZINC Contemporary

Artist Liz Tran brings her colorful, splashy style to a residency with ZINC Contemporary this month. It’s bound to be a vivid visual treat. Read more online. (119 Prefontaine Pl S)

Combatants at Gallery 4Culture

David Jaewon Oh’s portrait series Combatants looks at women in combat sports. The intimate and well-composed photographs do more than capture the physical strength and resilience of the subjects. There is a narrative quality to every shot, taken in the gyms where the women train. One can only imagine the stories behind the images, but one thing is certain: Gender myths do not stand a chance against these combatants. Read more online. (101 Prefontaine Pl S)

David Jaewon Oh

From David Jaewon Oh’s Combatants series. Image courtesy of Gallery 4Culture.

Around Main St.

Juventino Aranda and Michael Knutson at Greg Kucera Gallery

Two solo shows of very different artists open at Greg Kucera Gallery this month. Juventino Aranda‘s cheeky Seattle debut features works in textile, bronze and other media. That includes a timely bronze sculpture of a MAGA hat…minus the MAA (seen above). Meanwhile, Michael Knutson‘s paintings in oil and watercolor are a fresh burst of color. Their structures are symmetrical, but the hues vary across the surface. Each is an advanced class in color theory in itself. See more on the website. (212 3rd Ave S)

John Keatley: Uniform at Treason Gallery

Photographer John Keatley has a slick editorial style. Sometimes, he dabbles in the surreal. (Visitors to Out of Sight last August may have seen some of his Falling Bodies series.) His Uniform series is both surreal and slick. Models pose in the attire and color of green army men. From Treason Gallery:

UNIFORM seeks to open the dialogue on the loss of reverence for those who fight bravely for our country, shedding light on the humanity and individualism of those who have lost their lives in the battles of the past.

I think this statement slightly misses the mark. The photos are too slick and staged to have real pathos. They do, however, effectively show how contrived our idea of the soldier has become, how unreal war is to those who have not seen it. In this, they are an effective critique, and visually compelling. See more on the website. (319 3rd Ave S).

John Keatley

From John Keatley’s Uniform series. Image courtesy of the artist and Treason Gallery.


Kathy Jones at Patricia Rovzar Gallery

The hint of halos and attenuated forms in Kathy Jones‘ latest paintings at Patricia Rovzar Gallery subtly recall Gothic iconography for me, but the painterly strokes she uses and bright colors are totally modern. The indistinguishable environments and faceless figures also evoke a spiritual tone, while titles like “Shell Game” and “Dressed to Go Out” keep things grounded in reality. (Sometimes titles really do provide a valuable insight and perspective! Take THAT, postmodernism.) See more on the website. (1111 1st Ave)

Around Occidental

Toru Sugita, Xiao Dai and Ben Beres at Davidson Galleries

Three very different artists present new etchings and lithography at Davidson Galleries. The elder Toru Sugita focuses on urban landscapes and views of bridges, rendered with great calm. Xiao Dai‘s boisterous works are a craze of animals, giant men and structures that seem to be verging on collapse, reflecting the frenzy of contemporary Chinese commerce, culture and politics. Ben Beres shows a single etching rendered in his obsessive, cacophonous style. Bring a magnifying glass for this one, as it is a swarm of text and cartoonish images created on a large plate over the course of a year.

On view at Davidson Galleries (313 Occidental Ave S). See more on the website.

Ben Beres

Ben Beres. “I Couldn’t Say No.” Image courtesy of Davidson Galleries.

On First

Timea Tihanyi and Nicholas Nyland Linda Hodges Gallery

The majority of works shown by Timea Tihanyi this month at Linda Hodges Gallery are white bone china book sculptures etched with invented titles and assembled in small “libraries.” They are a minimalist counterpoint to the variegated sculptures and paintings of Nicholas Nyland. Nyland’s gestures make cyclones of neon color that swirl and rippled over linen and paper.

On view through December 29 at Linda Hodges Gallery (316 First Ave S). See more on the website.

Last but not least, this is the last month for the KISS FEAR exhibition at Bonfire Gallery. Check out the show if you haven’t already during the final reception at First Thursday Art Walk. Read more about the show online. (603 S Main St)

Featured image: Juventino Aranda, “THIS IS YOUR LIFE NOW,” 2016, Acrylic on cast bronze. Image courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery.

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