Monday, May 3, 2010

City Arts Best of Artwalk Awards (vol 2)


Footing (2009) by Sharon Arnold (image via)

Wow, is it really already time for First Thursday again? It's shaping up to be another great month for art in Pioneer Square. Keep an eye out for my picks on Wednesday on CAB.

Sharon Arnold and Cable Griffith will be our amazing guest judges for the Best of Art Walk Awards, vol. 2. Not only do these folks make great art, they both actively promote the arts in really great ways. Sharon Arnold was recently hired as Youth Programs Manager at Gage Academy of Art. You can read all about it here in CHS. Cable Griffith is the Exhibitions Director at Kirkland Arts Center. You can read all about him here in City Arts.

Hi Sharon! What were your highlights from last month's art walk?

Jennifer Campbell, absolute fave of the month. Also, Chauney Peck, Sean Johnson, OHGE Ltd (I know I'm biased, but seriously it was an awesome show), and Strange Coupling.

What type of art is catching your eye these days?

...work which really challenges the idea of what art means in our everyday lives - Gretchen Bennett perfectly demonstrates this idea of rearranging objects to tilt their meaning - it's a notion of observation and context. I'm seeing what Gretchen sees in the world when I'm looking at her work. I think what makes this kind of work successful is an attitude of whimsy - Jennifer Campbell stole my heart last month with her video. It's a totally different application of this idea, but it's almost a meditation on things that are always within reach but unnoticed. These artists are calling to attention our surroundings. We can't forget the significance of sound - artists like Garek Druss and Yann Novak are heightening sensations we take for granted on a daily basis. We're hearing what they hear when we listen; we're being directed to pay attention to a specific happening or moment in time.

...work which is either architectural, product, or design based, but also highly conceptual - SBC, Caleb Larsen, Julie Alpert and Susan Robb do this really well. Again it's almost a redefinition of objects. There is always an element of the absurd, but it causes a mental shift which in turn changes the way I'm looking at things outside the gallery. How do I see structures, ebay, extension cords and flotation devices? Much differently than before, for sure.

...anything which incorporates the idea or processes of technology or the absolute opposite, an obsessive retreat back to craft and hand-made objects. Again Caleb Larsen's piece A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter was brilliant - it toyed with the way we use technology or how that technology might elude or otherwise thwart us. It was almost a philosophical treatise. On the other side are process based artists like Casey Curran, Mandy Greer, Justin Lytle, and Katy Stone; you can really see their hand in the work and it's overwhelming, abundant, and beautiful. I'm all about their visual wonder and excess.

What all these things have in common is that the artists are keenly aware of our environment and the way we interact with it. They're showing us ourselves, but perhaps in a perspective or mirror we didn't expect. I suppose I could simplify all of this and say the art which catches my eye is anything that shows me a different/new/unexpected/unknown side of myself and the wondrous banality which surrounds me.

West From Petal Mountain (2009) by Cable Griffith

Howdy Cable! Anything in particular you're looking forward to for this upcoming art walk?

I'm looking forward to being surprised!

What did you like best from last month's art walk?

Last month, I really loved Sean Johnson's matchbox car self-portrait, "I Was Nine" and Chauney Peck's solo show at SOIL.

What's catching your eye these days?

Well, lately (or usually?) I've been attracted to artists' work that uses common materials in surprising ways and demonstrates an awareness of a relationship to history. I appreciate when artists can make something that feels so new and fresh, while acknowledging a sense of lineage.

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Last month's event was so packed that there was actually a line to get in. This month's after party will be held at Caffe Vita in the Tashiro Kaplan Building. The party starts at 8:30 and we'll probably close voting around 9:30. We'll pick our top three picks and YOU will pick the winner who gets $500. Here's a profile of our inaugural winner, Margot Quan Knight.

Hope to see you there! More info over at Facebook.

updated 5/3 to include Cable's responses.

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