Filed under: Seattle | Tags: Breeze Block Gallery, Erin Langner, Mary Iverson, Seattle, Shooting Gallery Project Pace
Shipping containers have a strange relationship to the city of Seattle. Their accompanying series of orange and white cranes frame our skyline as highly visible but distantly silent landmarks. With imported products from Asia on the rise and easier movement across the Arctic Ocean due to climate change, the ever-larger stacks of building block-like crates and their colossal vessels that once seemed to be background noise for the city have become poignant emblems of the present. Washington artist Mary Iverson (NAP MFA Annual 2001) was ahead of the game on the relevance of the shipping container, interjecting it into familiar natural landscapes in her paintings and public art for years. Like many of the scenes she depicts, her work is running up and down the west coast this month, with concurrent shows in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco—a testament to its resonance right now. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor
Mary Iverson, John Day River, 2012, acrylic, ink and magazine photo on panel, 9.5 x 7.5 in. Image courtesy of Shooting Gallery.
Filed under: Review, Seattle | Tags: Anna Filder, Erin Langer, Pole Drift, Seattle
It is difficult to decide whether Anna Fidler’s (NAP #61) new show Cherry Bomb references the firecracker definition or the “smokin’ hot lady” definition of the term. The Portland artist’s meticulously constructed acrylic, pencil and cutout paper portraits on view at Seattle’s Prole Drift gallery literally portray women as their subject matter—nostalgic pop musicians including Heart, Joan Jett, and Karen Carpenter. Yet, a sinister tone resides within the figures’ construction, a highly textural technique that combines psychedelic blasts of color with dark, map-like details that abstract Fidler’s imagery beyond simple appropriation. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor
Filed under: Artists on Artists | Tags: Amanda Manitach, Conversation, Isaac Quigley, Margie Livingston, Seattle, SODO
Margie Livingston (NAP #61) has spent the last couple of years pouring, compacting and carving paint. Her experimentation with the limit of paint’s sculptural malleability has culminated in a (still-evolving) process by which she manufactures sheets of marbled, plastic acrylic that are later rolled, folded and cut into a number of forms, often posts or logs. Isaac Quigley indulges the materiality of paint in a different way, often pushing his canvases toward the brink of assemblage or bricolage. His paintings, which take up to a year to complete, are splashed with landslides of color, overlaid with delicate drawing, and embedded with paper, plastic and textiles.
We convened at Livingston’s studio in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle to discuss some of the shared characteristics of their work. Quite the host, Livingston has laid out a spread of Coconut Bliss, homemade peach tarts and tea for us. It’s the first time the two artists have met, and they start talking right away about paper towels and Rauschenberg. - Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor
Filed under: Artists on Artists, Seattle | Tags: Amanda Manitach, Bette Burgoyne, Conversation, Cornish College of the Arts, Jed Dunkerley, Joe Bar, Seattle, Where Things Go
I sit down at a bar at the north end of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood with two artists whose work is the definition of obsessive, both in technique and content. Neither of them identify as OCD or autistic.
The venue is called Joe Bar. Located next to Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts and owned, staffed, and curated by a handful of Cornish grads since 1997, Joe Bar is the most likely of unlikely places you’ll find excellent art tucked away in the city. Unlikely because it serves crepes and beer, has garish green walls, and is super cozy, none of which are particularly helpful settings for displaying artwork. But none of that stops some of Seattle’s most interesting artists from hanging their work there. -Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor
Filed under: Review, Seattle | Tags: Amanda Manitach, Blindfold Gallery, Leanne Grimes, Seattle
Two newcomers to the Seattle scene are worth checking out this month: Blindfold Gallery, now mounting its fourth exhibit since opening in April, and Leanne Grimes, who graduated last year from the University of Washington’s MFA painting program.
Grimes’ paintings often depict landscapes built out of heaps of rich, chunky paint and loud color. But for the paintings in The Journey to Radiant Earth, a show that lightheartedly glosses over the fetishization and elusiveness of memory, she punched the color up even more with day-glo oranges, yellows and pink. They’re the colors of plastic toys and melting popsicles. These paintings depict apocalyptic black night skies spattered with emerald stars, candy-raver mountains and surreal beaches. They range in size from petite to a huge, unstretched canvas pinned across an entire wall of the gallery. - Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor
Filed under: In the Studio, Q&A | Tags: Amanda Manitach, In the Studio, Pole Drift, Q&A, Seattle, susanna bluhm
This month in the back gallery at Prole Drift, Susanna Bluhm is showing her latest installment in an ongoing series of works based on passages from The Bible’s nightmare-and-sex-heavy Song of Solomon. You may remember her lush paintings of islands (not part of the biblical series) reviewed alongside work by Cable Griffith at SOIL Gallery last September. This new work at Prole Drift cites the darker passages of the Song of Solomon and comprises fifteen prints pulled from a single plate that’s been etched with images of an infant’s incubator, breathing tubes, little foxes, twigs, creeping ivy and bottles of milk. The prints themselves are wildly different, having been inked or wiped with varying degrees of thickness, then collaged or painted over.
On a work table in Bluhm’s studio is a small children’s Bible bound in red leather that she says she picked up at a local Goodwill. It’s spread open to a chapter in The Song of Solomon and has been heavily annotated with red ink and underlined in pencil, outlining plans for paintings. - Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor
Filed under: Interview, Seattle | Tags: Amanda Manitach, Buddy Bunting, Pole Drift, Seattle
The centerpiece of Buddy Bunting’s Flat Time Blue at Prole Drift (on view through May 27th) is a panoramic watercolor and flashe painting that stretches twelve feet across the wall. The painting depicts a prison washed out and warmed up with scalding bright yellow sun, its structural starkness rendered sheer and almost weightless. It’s the tenth in a series Bunting has been developing since 2004. In this piece, as well as in the smaller sketches hung in Prole Drift’s back room, Bunting transforms the sterile architecture of correctional facilities and American industrial sprawl into visionary landscapes where the political and social narratives nested within the physicality of buildings meld with a sense of the imaginary. - Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor
Buddy Bunting | Idaho Correctional Center, Kuna, Idaho, 2011-12, watercolor, flashe and pencil on paper, 52 x 145 in.
Image courtesy of Prole Drift.
Filed under: Review, Seattle | Tags: Claire Cowie, Eric Elliott, Erin Langner, James Harris Gallery, Marcelino Gonçalves, Mary Ann Peters, Mirage, Seattle, Will Henry
The concept of the mirage is one of intrigue, as evidenced by pop culture’s frequent attempts to define its mystery. A floating desert oasis memorably deceives Daffy Duck into inhaling a mouthful of sand (“Aqua Duck,” 1963), while Steve Wynn’s Mirage casino enchants Las Vegas visitors with its lush terrarium and waterfall-lined swimming pools. Within the context of such widely known references, the question of how the mirage can function within a painting is an interesting one posed by James Harris Gallery’s group show focused on this theme. –Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor
Filed under: Interview, Seattle | Tags: Ben Waterman, Erin Langner, Greg Kucera, Seattle
Ben Waterman’s paintings invite extended meditation on seemingly banal objects: a red mosquito net, a brown piano, a vacant fireplace. These highly specific objects float in contrast to their surroundings–disorientingly unidentifiable places painted with inarticulate brushstrokes. Given the Seattle artist’s pronounced affinity for travel to new places, these surreal landscapes prompt questions on the complicated role of inspiration within constructed visual images. I caught up with Ben to discuss Midnight Lullaby, his new show at Greg Kucera Gallery, and the real places buried within the layers of his work. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor
Ben Waterman | Piano in a Room with a Greek Amphora, 2011, Oil paint and graphite on canvas, 24 x 40 inches.
Image courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery.
Filed under: Review, Seattle | Tags: Erin Langner, Greg Kucera, Katy Stone, Myriad, Seattle
Katy Stone’s Myriad visually reverberates throughout the otherwise silent rooms of Seattle’s Greg Kucera gallery. The artist’s vibrant forms of painted aluminum are known for walking lines, fluctuating between two and three dimensions, between the linear and the organic, between painting and sculpture. In her most recent body of work, these explorations expand to include additional mediums, as the oversized collage titled Myriad (You Are Here) extends across the floor, forming a 15 x 5 ft. centerpiece for the show. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor