Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Tattoos by Gretchen Bennett
The beer was flowing, the food was delicious and people were having a great time. At 7:30, Jeff gave a speech, thanking all the artists who submitted work. He was reluctant to give a prize to just one person since there were so many great entries but Jack Ryan's piece was really good and influenced the tone of the show.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley are currently sequestered in Lawrimore Project for their latest collaborative exhibit, Stability and Other Tenuous Positions. The artists are wrapping up their one week exercise in "performance architecture" where they have been living 24 hours a day on a 5' x 25' structure (Stability) which hangs from the gallery's ceiling. Each movement Alex makes directly affects Ward and vice versa. I can't even begin to imagine how quickly that would drive me nuts. They, however, seem relatively unphased by it all and were nice enough to answer a few questions I sent over to them.
AS: In certain ways it does, but the whole experience went really fast. I am looking forward to seeing other people the most, but we have actually found ways of making ourselves comfortable in here.
WS: To tell you the truth, it is going by too quickly. It took a while to get adjusted but now we're really getting to enjoy being up here. It's a vacation from all our normal responsibilities. Plus we have lots of friends dropping by.
AS: Before we started Flatland, I expected that the building would change visually as a direct result of our occupation. The reality was that the space was too tight for us to even renovate it in order to make it more comfortable. After Flatland and we were evaluating the work, and wanted to make another project that would change visually through its occupation. Also in Flatland the relationships between us was a real important part of the piece that was not visible to our audience and we wanted to make that visible as well. With Stability we have been able to achieve both of these.
Both of these works are performances. The script of each is the same, live your life as normally as possible. Both works, by being architectural caricatures, also set up situations that will change the behavior of those who occupy them. The variables are the architectural space, the duration, and the number of people.
WS: Both pieces are special kinds of architecture in which the shape of the structure strongly effects the life and the behaviors going on inside. They are pretty radical in that way. Flatland had 6 people living inside it, so there was this social dimension to the piece. And it raised issues about the effects of sharing life within severe limitations. Stability addresses questions that came out of Flatland in a very schematic way. People can see the problems right away just by looking at the structure and the fact that it is two people makes it that much clearer.
AS: The piece will remain in the gallery unoccupied as a kind of performance collateral. The work will take on a new dimension then. After we finished Flatland, the director Mary Ceruti, speculated that that is when Flatland would be the best viewing experience for visitors. There would be a greater ability for them to empathize and project themselves into the piece without the distraction of a live person. Visitors would need to fill in the occupation that is no longer present with what they imagine.
WS: Stability will remain in place in the gallery, along with most of our stuff, the stuff we used while living there. All that stuff will allow people to imagine what it is like to live up here; in fact, maybe it will be easier to imagine it, in a more thoughtful way, than when we are right here in your face, forcing you to be polite, not stare too much, and so forth. There is also some video documentation in the gallery showing us on the piece, as well as a number of other works, some of which are closely linked to Stability thematically.
AS: There were not too many surprises about public occupation since we performed Flatland. The biggest surprise was last night when John Sutton and Ben Beres showed up in the middle of the night. Maybe they wanted to see if we were really staying in the structure or just saying we were. Anyway we were in here just doing our thing. [I can totally imagine SBC taking over Stability in some sort of Sealand fashion after your departure!]
WS: We are the first thing you see when you walk in the door. The front gallery is huge and the piece looks a lot more spectacular than I expected.
Finally the gallery cat has decided its okay to come up with us, and that has been an unexpected pleasure too.
AS: A shower or bath.
WS: I think that both of us would agree that a hot shower is the first and most continually missed amenity. All the more because we had such a nice one in Flatland. Sunlight is not an issue though; I am right under a skylight.
AS: I love Salt and Pepper Squid.
WS: We have a fully stocked larder by now. People have been super generous - no Salt and Pepper Squid yet though. But that is probably the only thing no one brought. Come by for a glass of pinot if you are in the hood.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
2 birds on a branch (in blue), 2009, 4' x 3'
I don't know what it is, but there's something something very appealing about two birds on a branch. I think in my own paintings, they have come to symbolize love. The painting above is a commission I just delivered to my sweet friends, Beth & Jen. They're so dear to me and it's hung in the most prominent spot in their home, so we all wanted to make sure it was just right.
Here are the four different options we considered. The first image was lower left. Looking at it now, the birds seem kind of feisty. To counteract that, I came up with the image on the lower right. Super cute. Too cute, in fact. The upper left image was the next one and ended up being our favorite. Although Beth/Jen are so adorable that I kind of wanted them to go with the lower right.
This painting was inspired by a painting they liked that was commissioned by my friend John (for his wife). And that painting was based on another painting of a bird that my friend Jody bought (that's how we met) when I was first showing at Lark.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Ohge Ltd. celebrated its first opening last night with Nicholas Nyland's, "Nowhere, Nowhere, Nowhere." It's located in the same building as Lawrimore Project (Alex used to be LPs manager).
Up the blue, blue stairs and you'll find two tiny rooms. Last night, they were filled with people and Nicholas' amazing art. I love all the color. Paper-mâché, ceramic pieces and paintings crowd the room with energy.
You can read more about Ohge Ltd here and here.
Lawrimore Project also had an opening last night called Stability. In the show, Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley deal with themes of space, volume, and intimacy.
"The centerpiece of the exhibition is Stability., an architectural performance piece that will be occupied by the artists 24 hours a day for the first week of the show. In counterpoint to its name, Stability. is a piece in which balance is a matter of negotiation, and negotiation is the performance."
Alex talking to Marjorie and Larry.
"Like a see-saw, this 25 x 5 foot structure is a shared living space balanced on a central pivot with the two artists living at either end. When occupied the two bodies will need to move in the space in relation to one another to keep the structure straight. Visually separated by a kitchen and bathroom in the center, the occupying bodies will sense each other through displacement of weight. Activities will naturally change (willingly or not) as the house and behaviors shift." via
Jeffry Mitchell interacting with Our Weight Around Us, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
image via myspace
In addition to being a partial inspiration for the voice of Hannibal Lecter*, Katherine Hepburn's Voice is also the name of a great band based here in Seattle! Shannon Perry and D.W. Burnam (and most recently Eli Chuckovich) are releasing their 3rd cd tomorrow.
CD Release Party this Friday at the Sunset Tavern (with Partman Parthorse, The Geese, Mad Happy, Sam Rousso Soundsystem)
image via Daniel Carrillo
I'm partial to the infectuous Casio-inspired rhythms of Size Doesn't Matter and Space Needle. Damn, this will be one fun show -- check it out!
* KH and Anthony Hopkins made a movie together early in his career.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Jack Ryan, Moon Fixture, 2008 (image via Crawl Space)
Crawl Space presents its 3rd Annual Centennial Exhibition curated/juried by Jeffry Mitchell. The show includes art by twelve Northwest artists: Gretchen Bennett, James Braden, Matt Cox, Dorian Dyer, Sol Hashemi, Joshua Lindenmayer, Jeffry Mitchell, Jenevive Nykolak, Chauney Peck, Jack Ryan, Sonya Stockton and Brett Walker.
Jack Ryan, Moon/Color Spectrum, 2008 (image via Crawl Space)
Jeffry juried the show by creating pairings of art that resonated with each other. I think there are some really, really cool themes here! I can't wait for the opening. The show just has really great energy around it. I think Jeffry should have titled the show, "Wise OWL presents Spiritfeather, Part I". In fact, that might have even been suggested over beers.
Dorian Dyer, Joy Embraces, 1994-2006 (image via Crawl Space)
I asked Jeff what he thought curating the show would be like:
"I think every artist fantasizes curating a show. I dreamt that cool artist friends of mine would do all the work and I could just shop. As it turns out, curating this show was nothing like my fantasy, the reality was really challenging, daunting even but I loved the work of it. I had to look at the submissions many times. I included work I never thought i would , and let go of work I loved. This show also demanded that I write, something I avoid because I struggle with it so. It took me a long time to write the bits that I did, but I'm so pleased I made the effort.. The work I put into this show makes me love it. I'm very excited for Seattle to see it. Please come take a look!" Jeffry Mitchell
Jamey Braden, 2008
Horses are Birds if That is Going to Help You Out (Yes it Will)
Here are Jeffry's written thoughts for the show statement. They remind me of "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon " by Tom Spanbauer (another NW great!).
A feather, a skull, the moon and stars, a man (?) and half a lady, crystals and sequins and the grandchildren of Piero Manzoni and Allan Kaprow. There’s something about magic, Hippie magic, and the way the LOVE CHILDREN freed them selves from the cross and sought spiritual expression through ancient forms other than the Christian one that resonates through this show for me. It’s very much my story, and the story I look for. It’s the story that I can’t help but see and although I claim that each pair of works in this show found each other on their own, the instant I see these works I bring stories to each of them, helplessly, naturally.
Sol Hashemi, Twelve Ways to Stack Six Stools, (image via Crawl Space)
CALL AND RESPONSE opens Saturday, March 28 (thru April 26)
Reception 6-9 pm, 504 E. Denny Way #1 (behind a wooden fence)
Jeffry will give a talk at 7:30
Also, Shaun Kardinal did a great job on the new Crawl Space website!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Troy Gua's Hybrids
Monday, March 16, 2009
Tracy Lang (image via Kittredge Gallery)
Kittredge Gallery is both a source of contemporary art (showcasing both regional/national artists) and an educational resource for students at UPS. Would you talk about the mission and what your personal goals for the gallery are?
Sure, our service to the art department and the University community is to stimulate ideas and thinking in the students. I try to present compelling contemporary art in a wide variety of media that extends and complements classwork and try to provide an way for students to participate in the artists’ work. By recognizing and presenting contemporary art and giving the public access to the artists, we contribute to the dialogue of the region.
I want the gallery to be a place that is participatory and alive–to the students, to the faculty, to the artists, and to the greater community. We have workshops with the artists that give students an opportunity to participate in the production of work in the actual gallery space for the exhibitions. The intention of this is to make connections for students between the physical process of the studio, the legacy of other artists, and the presentation of “finished” work.
I often work with artists who have national and regional reputations as well as gallery representation. Jeffry Mitchell and Mary Iverson are good examples, but I want students’ definition of “what is art” to extend outside what you can see on a trip to Pioneer Square. When I looked outside the gallery system I found the enormous relief prints of Tracy Lang and the tin assemblages of Bill Herbeholz that I presented in the fall semester. I bring artists from other parts of the country into the mix too, for variety and a context for what we produce in the Pacific Northwest.
Elise Richman (image via Kittredge Gallery)How long have you been the Manager of the Kittredge Gallery? How did you become involved with it?
I became Kittredge Gallery Manager in October 2007–unusual timing to start at mid-semester. I had been teaching studio and some art history in Visiting teaching appointments around the country for about 7 years–much of it at schools like University of Puget Sound. When I returned to Seattle, I was delighted to find this job on craigslist– very refreshing to find it in such a populist context.
I recognized Kittredge as a known and respected venue for contemporary art in the Pacific Northwest and jumped at the chance to be a part of it. I am honored to be able to continue the legacy of Kittredge.
Professor Toshiharu (Kunpei) Kawachi (image via Kittredge Gallery)
It seems to attract extremely talented folks. Along with yourself, both Greg Bell and Esther Luttikhuizen of the former Esther Claypool Gallery have also managed Kittredge. What do you all have in common?
Thank you Joey. What we all have in common is that Greg, Esther and myself have all practiced as studio artists and approach the work with that understanding. I currently maintain an active studio practice as a painter. For me, composing a year of exhibitions or planning an install is a similar mental process to composing a painting.
That said, I personally do not consider the curatorial process to be a form of artistic self-expression. I have my own studio for that. It is very important to me that the shows be about the art itself and the needs of the campus community. While it is necessary to have a kind of vision to put together a schedule–a good curator has an “eye”– I believe that while the gallery is guided by a curator but should not be “about” that curator. It think some curators make the mistake of believing that the enterprise is about themselves.
Essentially I look for honest work that will speak to what is being done in the curriculum and will inspire students to see possibilities toward which the skills and ideas they are learning might go. I try to address all the disciplines in the course of a year’s schedule.
I ask myself a number of questions when selecting art. Is this artist engaged in an honest and rigorous search? Is there an intellectual basis for the work and the process? Does the work “know” itself? Does it provide stimulus for work that is being made on campus at the time of the show? Are interdisciplinary connections and themes being addressed that are pertinent to other departments on campus? Can this work be seen elsewhere in town? What message about art will students come away with?
Bill Herberholz (image via Kittredge Gallery)
Tacoma seems to have a really great arts community. Where does Kittredge Gallery fit in?
Tacoma is a very supportive and participatory community. I think it really is a place where making things is respected and there is a sense of a little breathing room. Our gem– the Tacoma Art Museum–is critical, but we also have Amy McBride and Naomi Strom-Avila doing a great job on the Tacoma Arts Commission. They produce programs that support and nurture artists and give them visibility such as “Art at Work” month every November. The Tacoma Weekly is a wonderful source of arts coverage. We also have our own City Arts, the Weekly Volcano, and–best of all–the News Tribune STILL has an art critic on staff–Rosemary Ponnekanti!
I think the beauty of Kittredge is that it is flexible in its function and is always evolving and providing fresh things. The Abby Hill exhibition was a chance to present a museum-like context for our special historic woman painter, while other shows have been more about inventing new work. The space is great and just a little bit on the rough side which lends itself to a bit of discovery. The one thing I can say we always do is reliably produce twelve shows a year that bring artists to Tacoma.
I would say that Kittredge sometimes becomes a kind of laboratory for the artist. Because we are not a commercial gallery and also do not have the layers of administration inherent in a museum structure, Kittredge has the agility to offer the artist a certain freedom. Mary Iverson had the opportunity to explore sculpture here and Jeffry Mitchell created an installation of almost entirely new work made right in the gallery. It is very important to recognize that the support of University of Puget Sound is critical to the relevance of the gallery and its contribution. We are fortunate that Puget Sound and the Art Department give the gallery the resources and independence to address issues of contemporary art in addition to presenting student and faculty work.
Today, Michael Johnson, John McCuistion, Janet Marcavage, Elise Richman, Zaixin Hong. Krizta Kotsis and Linda Williams–in addition to Alyce DeMarais, our associate dean–make this possible because they care about the gallery and its potential to affect the lives of the students and the community. They are essential to this enterprise because they value, support and participate in the gallery as an integral part of the program. They see the relevance and importance of contemporary art to the student experience as well as its importance to artists and the public.