First Thursday Art Walk Gallery Guide: August 2019

Posted on August 01, 2019, 12:39 pm
4 mins


It’s Sea Fair. It’s Art Fair. But still—above all—it’s First Thursday. And that means it’s also Art Walk. This weekend is a nonstop blitz of art in Seattle, but it makes sense to combine a gallery trip with your Art Fair excursion, so make a plan and don’t get overwhelmed.

Robert Pruitt at Koplin Del Rio Gallery

As of last month, Prographica/KDR may be done, but Koplin Del Rio Gallery lives on. Hooray. And under this new banner, a fantastic show of new works by NYC-based artist Robert Pruitt is released. Pruitt’s portraiture uses a canny mix of stains, pencil, crayon, ink and gold leaf to achieve luscious colors and finishes. The figures in his works range from regal to candid, but always smoldering with warmth and energy.

Ben Moreau, untitled mezzotint and watercolor on paper. Image courtesy of Davidson Galleries.

Contemporary Northwest Print Invitational at Davidson Galleries

I always recommend starting with prints when first-time collectors are afraid to wade into the art market. And Davidson Galleries has several shows each year which I consider to be one of the best occasions to start looking for that first (or next) purchase. This is one of them: the Contemporary Northwest Print Invitational in collaboration with Seattle Print Arts brings in hundreds of works. You’ll find masterful mezzotints, more unconventional printing techniques, and fun, limited run screenprints in an eclectic array of styles. Browse a little preview of the works online.

Shoko Zama, “B & B: Connecting the Dots is One Definition.” Image courtesy of the artist and BONFIRE Gallery.


For a rather unusual group show incorporating performance, painting and ekphrastic poetry, check out MAGIC BOX: Defining Words in a Digital Age at BONFIRE Gallery. The core of the show is artist Shoko Zama, who generated over 130 mixed-media paintings over two years for this project. From that archive, she and poet David Thornbrugh chose 15 to be the basis for a series of linked, free-verse ekphrastic poems. At the front of the exhibition, Zama has constructed woven paper sculptures with lines embedded from the poems.

Those sculptural displays will provide the staging for two Butoh dancers to perform at the show’s opening, and a few other upcoming dates. See the website for more dates and details.

Ann Leda Shapiro, “Anger.” Image courtesy of the artist and CoCA.

Girlfriends of the Guerilla Girls at CoCA Seattle

The show at Center on Contemporary Art is explicitly a counterpoint to the Art Fair itself. Girlfriends of the Guerrilla Girls pays homage and carries the legacy of the anonymous art collective Guerilla Girls, provocateurs who began staging raucous shows and interventions to the dominance of straight-white-male narratives in the art world. To up the anti-commercial ante, the show features only well-known Pacific Northwest artists without gallery representation. To name a few: Deborah Faye Lawrence, Hanako O’Leary, C. Davida Ingram, Dawn Cerny, and Ann Leda Shapiro.

That last one is of special note in this case. In 1973, Ann Leda Shapiro had a solo exhibit at the Whitney in 1973, but the museum refused to hang her rather alchemical-looking work “Anger.” The Whitney had its chance; CoCA will be displaying “Anger” as part of its show. Read more online.

Featured Image courtesy of Robert Pruitt and Koplin Del Rio Gallery

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