Between First Thursday art walk in Pioneer Square, the first ever Queer art walk on Capitol Hill (organized by Egan Orion for PrideFest) and the opening reception of Duwamish Revealed, there’s some outstanding art in circulation at the moment.
Greg Kucera: Vic Haven’s textual couplings at Greg Kucera are a paragon of paratactic wordplay. Pinned to the wall in a monster grid, the prints (collectively called SUBTITLED) dismember the components of conversations sourced from Haven’s personal encounters and try to turn words into abstraction. New narratives weave themselves. However, in the back galleries, Jane Hammond’s surreal silver gelatin prints and assemblages made of sumi ink and silver leaf steal the show.
James Harris: Akio Takamori’s life-size stoneware sculptures are painted with thinned-out underglaze that leave traces translucent as a watercolor wash. The details are breathtaking: the criss-crossed shoelaces, the ribbing on a pair of socks, the blossom of a blush staining cheeks and knees.
Method Gallery: Michael Finnegan’s Rhythm Sections and the Groove of Color are sculptures made of acrylic on Baltic birch. The slight bowing of the wood panels creates peekaboo slits and bent corners where ambient light gets caught, bouncing between the shimmering acrylic and walls. They seem to glow.
Punch Gallery: Bill Finger makes miniature dioramas in his studio and photographs them. You would never know they weren’t real (despite their being suspiciously, dreamily bucolic) unless you were told. You have to see this sleight of hand in person.
Gallery4Culture: Chris Buening maneuvers effortlessly, it would seem, between almost every medium, but among my favorite of his work are the installations he transports from his studio to the gallery. The gaudy shrines spill over with the detritus of life and work, packed with magpie’s hoard of notes, trinkets, memories. Elsewhere in the exhibit, trappings of the cabin-dwelling macho man have been altered with a splash of decorative transvestism: trophies are crusted in crystal, vases slathered in a rainbow of colors, decoys lacquered in luminescent silver and dressed with gems.
Duwamish Revealed opened last weekend, drawing hundreds to the edge of Seattle’s largely forgotten, very contaminated river, which in recent years has come to the attention of the EPA and will soon undergo massive cleanup. A project spearheaded by artists Nicole Kistler and Sarah Kavage, Duwamish Revealed inserts art and performance at intervals along the river, and will do so throughout the summer. The highlight of last Friday’s event was a soundscape and sculpture by Christian French made of dozens of shipping containers dropped into the landscape like a jumble of monster toys, or jutting up from the earth like skyscrapers.
This month’s Capitol Hill art walk was a bit more colorful than usual, as PrideFest took over the curation of many venues. At Joe Bar, Paul D. McKee‘s take on trophies is a perfectly twisted tribute to a certain species of gay going extinct on the Hill. Mounted on camo, the series of deer are cast from petite, souvenir tchotchkes McKee collected at state park gift stores. A single horn sprouts from the head of each, and disproportionately large false lashes curl up from the lids. Meanwhile, on the sidewalk in front of The Factory, Clyde Petersen’s “Jack Shack” photo booth offered extra-interactive features that made use of soy milk and squirt guns. Upstairs, John Criscitello’s new paintings take inspiration from the puffy jacket-clad, dead-eyes models that populate North Face catalogs—and, increasingly, Seattle. While lamentations for a dying breed on Capitol Hill may be warranted, a night like this proved the neighborhood might yet be a haven for unicorns.