First Thursday Art Walk Guide: April 2019

Posted on April 04, 2019, 1:35 pm
6 mins


Happy spring, art lovers. Several of the galleries are very on the nose, with floral and vernal shows. There’s Sheri Bakes at Foster/White, Ginny Ruffner at Traver Gallery, and Fred Lisaius at Patricia Rovzar. Flowers: check.

King Street Arts

The big inaugural show at King Street ARTS just opened March 23, and the space is open until 8pm for First Thursday Art Walk. yəhaw̓ is a dense array of multimedia sculpture, traditional indigenous artworks, video, paintings and more by over 200 exhibitors based in the PNW. Many are exhibiting for the first time, while others are established or emerging artists. The thread that connects them is their desire to tell their own stories as indigenous peoples, on their own terms and in their own style.

It’s eclectic and thoughtful and worthy of repeat visits while it is up, through August 3. Because regular gallery hours conflict with 9-to-5 schedules, First Thursday is a perfect time to pop in.

Around Occidental

Wendy Orville, “Cloud Patterns, Willapa Bay No. 2.” Image courtesy of Davidson Galleries and the artist.

Davidson Galleries will be filling its entire side of the building with monotypes by Wendy Orville, a Bainbridge Island-based artist. Orville is one of those artists with an uncanny knack for capturing a sense of the eternal in a changing landscape. Her newest body of work, above & below, is inspired by the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, south of Seattle. Aptly titled, these works are dominated by large bands of sky, which are never left as truly negative space, thanks to puffs of cloud and the fine textures of the monotype medium. Read a recent bio and interview with Orville on Pine Copper Lime.

ProGraphica / KDR Gallery on the other side of the wall from the Orville show will have works by Jim Holl and Michael Howard. I’m especially keen to see more of Howard’s collaged canvases, whose keen, colorful compositions really do a number on my pareidolia.

Michael Howard, “Untitled (#01-18),” 2018. Image courtesy of Prographica / KDR and the artist.

At Stonington Gallery a dual show of new mask sculptures by Drew Michael and paintings by Rick Bartow are another clever pairing. The new masks by Michael are some of the more explicitly figurative work he’s done, looking almost a little inspired by harlequins and Carneval. Michael is an emerging artist, with an interest in a range of influences and forms, and while I still love some of his earliest work, it is refreshing to see him still trying new things, not just what worked the first time. Bartow passed in 2016 at the age of 70, and was similarly always exploring new narratives in his paintings and drawings.

On First Avenue

Neo-expressionist painter Gaylen Hansen turns 98 in September. For over four decades, he has lived on the Palouse in eastern Washington and painted from his experience there. The strange, dusty atmosphere, the threat of ecological havoc from the Hanford Nuclear Site, rodeos and cowboys have all found their way into his work. Now living on Whidbey Island, the enchantment of forest groves is making a more pronounced appearance in his latest show at Linda Hodges Gallery.

Caryn Friedlander, “Trail.” Image courtesy of Art Xchange and the artist.

And down first avenue, at ArtXchange, the works of Caryn Friedlander and Donald Cole take an entirely different approach to natural phenomena. Friedlander works with hand-dyed silk, linen and paper as a surface, stitching and painting on them to create works that evoke mandalas, Japanese wall hangings, and action painting. Donald Cole will present large abstract works that fit more in that latter category, but also truly charming, miniature sumi paintings mounted on matchbooks.

Last Chances

These are the final weeks of artist Michael Milano at The Specialist. Milano stitches complex patterns onto surfaces, develops them as cyanotypes, and finally removes the threads again, leaving only the graphic traces of the embroidery. It’s beautiful, meditative works and you should see them if you missed them this past month.

Also ending this month are the three shows at James Harris Gallery. It’s easy to get absorbed in the massive altered photos of Amir Zaki at the front, but be sure to spend time with the smaller photos of Developable Surface in the middle gallery and the fiber-based works of Threading the Needle at back.

Featured image: Gaylen Hansen, “Man Hiking Through Old Growth.” Image courtesy of Linda Hodges Gallery and the artist.

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