Posted on February 06, 2019, 7:00 am
7 mins

New year. New month. New shows. The First Thursday Art Walk officially begins at 5pm, February 7. Some galleries in Pioneer Square don’t open until 6pm, so there is no rush. This month, we recommend starting downtown and heading south.

The Downtown Galleries

Detail of cameo engraved glass by April Surgent. Image courtesy of Traver Gallery.

There is A LOT to take in at the new group show at Traver Gallery, Meditation/Mediation. It features work by 27 artists in various media, including laser engraved mixed media panels by Tom DeGroot, pâte de verre sculptures by Anna Mlasowsky, and cameo engraved seascapes by April Surgent.

A block away, check out the new ceramic works by Calvin Ma at Abmeyer+Wood. Ma is a young artist, but he’s already a master of his medium with an immediately recognizable style. It is figurative, to the extent that they are anthropomorphic. However, they are each such an odd chimera of creatures, dolls, and buildings, they are perhaps best called Ma-nsters. (Well, Ma may not think that they are best called that, but I’m sticking with it for now.)

Married, but maintaining separate practices, artists Fay Jones and Robert C Jones need no introduction to long-time Seattle art aficionados. Whether you are seeing them for the first or the dozenth time, the dual show In Tandem at James Harris Gallery is worth a look.

Tashiro Kaplan Building

Right there at the north end of Pioneer Square, be sure to explore the hive of activity in the TK Building this month. Start with the solo exhibition of new mixed-media works by Jite Agbro at Gallery 4Culture. On your way around the triangular block, step into ZINC Contemporary for a solo show of playful, graphic works by Barbara Robertson. And oh, look! Another round of Anna Mlasowsky…this time a full solo show of video and glass works at CoCA Seattle. I only got introduced to her work last year at Bellevue Arts Museum‘s biennial, Glasstastic, where she won the John & Joyce Pierce Award of Excellence. I’m hooked.

Trey Abdella, “Yahtzee,” acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist and Ultra Light Beams.

I anticipate that the most packed venue of the night will be Mount Analogue (not just in the TK building, but all of Pioneer Square). The exhibition space has a new resident each month, and this month artist Anthony White curates a show, Ultra Light Beams, and brings his While Supplies Last project to the space. WSL is always a delight, because you’ll see young folks absolutely crazy about scooping up unique small works at affordable prices. That happens Friday, February 22, from 5-9 PM. (I’ll be there to grab a last minute addition to the collection for an Oscar party, because why not?)

And as for Ultra Light Beams, well…it’s gonna be a color bath, which we desperately need now that winter has hit in full force. A dozen national artists have contributed work, many of whom appear to be using digital media at first glance…but in fact are using traditional painting techniques to mimic those effects. Expect dayglo palettes, cheeky minimalism, and surreal blends of hyperrealism and abstraction.

For a taste, check out a few of the artists on Instagram: Super Future Kid, Rachel Tarravechia, Kat Richards, and Brian Sanchez (who just totally wowed us with his Treason Gallery debut this month).

On Main Street

Anthony White has been a busy boy. He just had his own big solo debut at Greg Kucera Gallery this month. It’s worth seeing his work and that of Joe Rudko there before those two shows close on February 16. From there, head up the hill to Bryan Ohno Gallery for a show by Irene Kubota.

Irene Kubota, “Spotlight,” ink and crayon on paper. Image courtesy of Bryan Ohno Gallery.

The last time the gallery showed works by Kubota, they were larger-than-life canvases that brought people into surreal, playful yet melancholy settings. Born the same year that her family was interned during World War II, Kubota has led a long, rich life, but rather than clear narrative, in her art we get glimpses of her inner-life, rendered in naive fashion. The new show, My Corner of the World, features works much smaller in scale and ambition, but no less evocative.

Back downhill, Treason Gallery‘s new exhibit, Shelf Medication by artist Denial, is much more literal. For those who love sardonic, pop-cultural punchlines rendered with super slick style, this is one to see.

Around Occidental

These are the final days of the dual show at Prographica / KDR Gallery, Caroline Kapp: Big Story and Evelyn Woods: Perambulations, closing February 9. Kapp’s richly rendered oil paintings focus on tangled, natural subjects in ways that are playful and anxiety-inducing at turns. Woods’ abstract photography is much more minimal, but has a similar effect. It’s an interesting pairing of works that converse strangely well in the same space.

Lastly, for another refreshing pop of color, we recommend Elizabeth Gahan‘s show at Linda Hodges Gallery. Gahan’s works mash up striking PNW scenery and angular architecture, rendered in precise lines and then treated with burst of unnatural color. It pairs well with an hour by a full spectrum light.


Featured Image: Work by Anna Mlasowsky. Image via CoCA.

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