What to See at First Thursday

Detail from Zhi Lin's "Chinaman's Chance"

New year, new art.

Here’s a handy guide to the most exciting openings, shows and events for Pioneer Square’s First Thursday tonight.

Artist and University of Washington professor Zhi Lin is having a moment. Until mid-February, his work can be seen in In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and the Transcontinental Railroads at Tacoma Art Museum; Confronting History | Retrieving Memory, “a continued exploration” of the TAM show opens tonight at Prographica/KDR. With video and delicate paintings and drawings in Chinese ink, Lin traces the strenuous history of Chinese men who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad in the West and the thousands who died.

While you’re there, visit Davidson GalleriesMezzotint Invitational, grouping more than 40 contemporary mezzotint artists. New York-based printmaker Kirsten Flaherty will lead a live demonstration of mezzotint, a non-relief print technique that favors tones, light and shade over lines.

Coley Mixan
Coley Mixan

Coley Mixan
takes a fondness for donuts and bagels to the next level with INTRAGALACTIC SYNKHRA LIBRARY, opening at Specialist tonight. The artist, musician and queer radical feminist creates a librarian sanctuary dedicated to F.I.B.E.R.S., short for “feminists improving boundless, eternal rock ’n’ roll,” an organization “probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve white patriarchal & capitalist constipation/conspiracies.” As Coley’s alter ego explains here: “We want everyone to realize that they are as sacred and holy as a bagel or a donut.”

Aaron Björk shows in 'Trust Fall' at SOIL
Aaron Björk shows in ‘Trust Fall’ at SOIL

This month, artist-run gallery SOIL takes the idea of a group show a step further with Trust Fall, a collaborative and festive group exhibition by the members of artist-run art space Ditch Projects in Springfield, Ore. Although some of the artists such as Jovencio de la Paz have shown in Seattle before, the exhibit presents an ideal occasion for discovering regional talent.

More collaborative efforts can be found at Greg Kucera, where intrepid local art trio SuttonBeresCuller (John Sutton, Ben Beres and Zac Culler) present deceiving glass sculptures in Old, New, Borrowed & Blue.

Over at Gallery 110, Saundra Fleming and Kevin Marshall merge words and visuals in the new show pictureswordspictures. Marshall debuts his promising digital mash-up graphic-novel short story Not Really an Emotion, while Fleming displays molecular word poems about her mother’s Alzheimer’s with macabre humor bubbling under the surface of deceivingly cheerful inanity. The first 10 visitors will receive a free word molecule poem written by Fleming on the spot.

“If people think they know something, they won’t be interested to find out,” says Natasha Marin. The conceptual artist remains deliberately tight-lipped about what Black Imagination—the project she co-curated with poet Imani Sims, performance artist Rachael Ferguson and writer/curator Amber Flame—will be or look like. What is certain: The live exhibition imagines a space beyond the white gaze, and CORE Gallery will be dedicated to Black joy, wellness and creativity.

It’s advisable to always mind your step—or selfie—when walking through a gallery or museum. You might, say, destroy something valuable. I’d issue an extra warning to anyone visiting Loaves and Fishes at Gallery 4Culture: Mind the traps. The deadfalls, plastic bottle- and wooden tilong-traps are artworks, but they function, and they “will smush your hand flat,” warns artist Francisco Guerrero. His prepper-inspired exhibit takes on dystopia and (colonial) violence through surprisingly tender installations with neon-colored accents.

It’s your last chance to see artist Julia Freeman perform as part of her multi-sensory The Will to Synchronize, about human relationships in the information age, at Method. In an all-black backroom of the gallery, Freeman and collaborators will clean and dust the sculptures, and visitors will be able to make clay grips with performers.

After a long career in languages, linguistics, and language software development, Joseph Pentheroudakis turned to drawing some 12 years ago. He’s been drawing digitally and on paper ever since. He’ll show some of his abstract, Joan Miró-inspired digital drawings during his solo show Finger Painting at Shift Gallery.