Monday, November 30, 2009

Songs of Optimism by Virginia Broersma

Songs of Optimism

"I've been working on a series of double portraits this year in which the goal is to present opportunities for stories. A single portrait seems to be about the person, but a double portrait has more to do with the interaction between the two people. This is the latest piece in the series and it is titled "Songs of Optimism." Each piece in this series stimulates different reactions in the viewers; with this one, people have seen strength, pain, hope, ecstasy... everyone has a different assumption of what the subjects are feeling, experiencing and thinking about. It is this aspect of this series that intrigues me - the possibility for many stories to come from one image; for many meanings to come from one piece of art." - Virginia Broersma

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Holy Goats by Brad Woodfin

Two of the many goats in the show (images via)

Dear friend Brad Woodfin just hosted a reception up in Vancouver for his current show, The Holy Goats. And he's not kidding - there are around 20 goats (plus many of his other beloved animal paintings) and they're all so beautiful. Plenty of wine and plenty of red dots. Congratulations Brad!

Brad looking adorable at the opening.

If find yourself with some white wall space and are looking for your own goat, check out Jacana Contemporary Art to see what's available.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Potluck @ The Gift Shop

Tabitha's turkey

There was plenty of yummy food at The Henry tonight. As part of the second incarnation of The Gift Shop, Jason, Sol and Claire hosted a leftover Thanksgiving dinner feast. Folks showed up with lots of pie, stuffing, turkey, chicken drummettes and anything else that didn't get gobbled up yesterday.

Saya picked up a Dan Webb gnome candle

If you haven't stopped The Gift Shop, you are totally missing out. There have already been tons of fantastic gifts coming and going through those doors. You might end up with an apple OR you might end up with a Claire Cowie sculpture. Swing on by with a sack of gifts to trade and you might just get all your holiday shopping done in one-stop. The Gift Shop Presents: Presents will be open through Sunday, December 13.

I Want More! by Eric Olson

Brace Up (diptych) + detail, acrylic on aluminum
48 x 37 inches each, image via gallery

You've only got a couple more days to check out Eric Olson's latest exhibition I Want More!. Expanding on his popular dot paintings which play with the idea "...that we keep adding and adding, not wanting to let things go, as life continues to get busier and more complicated. All because we want more."

Eric's latest work has been mixing things up a bit by playing with angles and empty spaces.

Gallery I | M | A is open today, tomorrow and Sunday. Click here for hours and address.

A great week for celebrations!

me and my sister

About a dozen of us met up at Smith on Tuesday to celebrate my sister's 40th birthday! Kim drove all the way over from Spokane just so she could hang out with her brother for her birthday. Thanks to everyone for making it such a fun night!

Turkey Bowl 2009

Over the past few years, the traditions of Thanksgiving have become some of my favorite. A gang of us gather at a park for the annual Turkey Bowl. The one or two boys that show up usually "cheer" (ie drink jello shots and beers) on the sideline while the ladies get down to some serious football business. This year we had to call the game once Cha-cha tore her ACL. OUCH! I propose a new tradition for next year - no getting hurt!

Now that's a turkey!

After that, folks head back over to J & K's to continue the festivities. The oven scheduling might have been off by a couple of hours this year, but that just gave us more time to hang out. And yes, we always go around the table and each person says what they're thankful for. And yes, there are always tears of gratitude. This year - more than ever - folks were especially thankful for the basics: food on the table, a warm place to spend the holiday, and a group of friends to call family.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Round Holiday Party

Holy cow - we're only a few days away from December! Where did this year go? Well, you can't slow it down so you might as join the fun.

On Tuesday (Dec 1), The Triple Door is hosting The Round's Holiday Party. There's singing (Damien Jurado, Mark Pickerel, Kate Tucker, Matt Bishop of Hey Marseilles, Robert Deeble, Abbey Improv Band and more), live painting (Siolo Thompson, Jackie Moulton and Jesse Brown), and slam poetry (Buddy Wakefield and Elaina Ellis). Everyone says this is a blast and I can't wait! Even better, this current Round is also a fundraiser for the Fremont Abbey's arts programs.

I became a big fan of Kate Tucker after her performance at last month's New Guard dinner. Lucky us because in addition to her Tuesday show, she has another one lined up next Thursday (Dec 3) at the Tractor Tavern. This is going to be a really special show - it's the first one with her new 7 piece band. She'll be playing songs off her new album White Horses. You can pre-order the special edition album here and get a free gift.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

City Arts is now online

Photo by Caleb Plowman

It's no secret I have a crush on City Arts Magazine, but I've always wished that there was a way to read the articles virtually. Sound the trumpets because City Arts is now online - and even has a blog. It's packed full of amazing content including an archive of past issues.

Check it out today - I recommend starting here with a great article by Suazanne Beal about an unlikely collector.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


house mock-up inspired by fresh cherries signage

Local artist Klara Glosova has started a new art project called home_page.project. The basic concept is that Klara will be turning her home into a gallery with group art shows and other cultural events as a way of creating community.

On Saturday, Nov 28, Klara is hosting the kick-off party. If you'd like be a part of it, rsvp to klara [at] and she'll send you the details.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Little Woods at Cairo Gallery

The fine folks at Cairo are putting together quite an evening that promises to explore relationships between food and art and shelter.

"Influenced by the work of virtuoso magicians and polymaths such as John Soane, Charles Wilson Peale, David Wilson, and Ricky Jay, artists Emma Schwartzman and Michael Getz approached the creation of LITTLE WOODS as an experiential interpretation of the dynamically interdependent relationships of:
the built world vs. the natural world
nurtured vs. manufactured
knowledge vs. magical thinking
transparent vs. opaque
human experience vs. human imagination
mystery vs. revelation
LITTLE WOODS exists in a vaulted forest hovering over drifts of foraged lichen, nests, leaves and woodland ephemera, all found in our Northwest habitat. Within in the sheltered forests are foods that would expect to find if you were frolicking through the trees and ferries and nymphs provided for you a bountiful spread, shifting your senses from what your mind and body desires to what your environment can provide for you

Food and shelter are the foundation of life ongoing and the nexus of conflicting political and economic forces battling over the future of our planet and civilization. Atomized, shut out from understanding or influence of the genuine costs, origins or benefits of most of what we put in and on and around our bodies, we have ceded personal autonomy over our corporal selves to forces indifferent to our individual and social interests. Yet life holds its allure, food and intimacy animate our spirits still.

LITTLE WOODS attempts to wrestle with the desirable and the possible in our navigation of the systems and relationships that sustain us ~ food, shelter, community, fun."

Monday, Nov 30 from 7-11pm
507 E Mercer Street
RSVP here

Gone too soon, Milton!

"In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." - Kahlil Gibran

NUBE Green

Super sweetheart Ruth True is offically opening up NUBE Green today. Located in the corner of the Oddfellows Building, NUBE (pronounced newbie) Green is a boutique designed for green & sustainable products.

Seattle Metropolitan has a great article about Ruth and the store here. Congratulations!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Guard Interview

New Guard 2 (image by Viv)

There's been a lot of interest around these The New Guard dinners. Celebrated food blogger Seattle Bon Vivant came to the last one and wanted to know more about the concept. She's put together a great interview that gives you a little more background on the project.

If you don't already know Seattle Bon Vivant (and odds are you do - she won the 2008 Seattle Magazine Reader's Choice award for Local Food Blog), she's keeping us all up to date on the best things via Twitter. She's got a real warmth and love that shines through, even in an electronic format.

Folks have been asking about November's New Guard. For many reasons (including the already gluttonous Turkey Day - how can we compete?), we've decided to take a bye and focus on making December's dinner unforgettable. And I think we might have a crazy good line-up to set the stage for one helluva dark and moody Christmas dinner. If you want to know more, please sign up for the invite list and we'll keep you posted once details get finalized. Currently scheduled for December 22. Hope to see you then!

Sarah's lovely photos.

Also, speaking of interviews, looks like City Arts archive is up. If you want to read their nice feature about me and the artist interviews on this blog, you can check it out here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Atlas of Gifted Ideas / call for participation

image via

The Atlas of Gifted Ideas

An atlas is usually a collection of maps, charts and tables, most commonly of the earth’s geography, but there are also atlases of the solar system, moons and planets and things further out. In the end, an atlas is a collection of visual material and text on any subject of interest. We are longing for an atlas of gifted ideas.

Atlas is the brother of Prometheus. Prometheus plays with fire and Atlas has to hold up the skies; he creates space and separates the divine from everyday experience; his duty is not to mix up things and to keep the overview. We would encourage you to play with both of them: to burn your fingers and to walk out towards the divine.

We invite you to participate in a collaborative, artist-powered project called “The Gift Shop” at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington. We are in charge of the space for three weeks, beginning December 18th. During this time ‘The Atlas of Gifted Ideas’ will unfold, with your gifted ideas illuminating the ceiling and walls. With a spirit of generosity and an openness to the contingency of chance we will bring together ideas in the form of drawings and poems: mingle them and give them away like new fortunes.

Please send us your drawing, image or poem to pass on, to position, to communicate, to travel and join ‘The Atlas of Gifted Ideas'.

For drawings and images: send a .jpg file in a resolution which would allow a black and white print 8 ½ x 11”.

For poems, send a simple word document.

The Atlas of gifted ideas will be a world in black and white.

All images/poems must be received by December 11th at the latest. Please send them to

The opening date of this constellation is December 18 at 7pm in the Gift Shop at the Henry Art Gallery. We would be happy to see you there.

Shaw Osha
Heide Hinrichs

fir shelf with repair by Matthew Cox

fir shelf with repair, 2009, wood and ceramic
18 x 22 1/2 x 18 3/4 inches

"I began making cans a year or so ago. I started turning cans from wood, then began casting them in clay. It wasn't clear to me why I was making cans or where they were going, but the form was so appealingly simple and practical. It is a very familiar form and I thought that was a interesting quality. The wood cans inevitably dry and crack and the clay cans shrink leaving them flawed from their original inception, but you still know it's a can. In the same way you know the large red, white and blue circle over Highway 99 is for Pepsi, even without "Pepsi" written on it. You believe because your brain tells you to trust your eyes.

It wasn't until I started building shelves and cabinets for them that they began to make sense to me. The shelves and cabinets ended up working in the same way a group of pedestals I made last year did. The shelf in this piece is constructed from Douglas Fir, sanded and finished with Tung Oil. However, one shelf bracket is made with plywood as though a repair was done when the original bracket was damaged or lost. It mimics the bracket in shape and color so the difference is subtle. Cans are such a recognizable form that they aren't mentioned in the titles, as if to say: 'They're just cans.' Everyone knows what a can is, how they're used and where to find them. The trick here would be to try to let go of those associations." - Matthew Cox

Friday, November 20, 2009

Brian Murphy / Unzipped

Brian obliging me by holding up the article.

HELL YES! Dear friend/doppelganger/artist extraordinaire Brian Murphy has an awesome article in this month's issue of Unzipped. Here's us having a celebratory drink at Grey Gallery & Lounge. Oh yeah, the article was written by the incomparable Dave White. Congrats Brian!

Sutton Beres Culler artist talk tomorrow

Model For The Mini-Mart City Park (detail), 2008

The fellas of Sutton Beres Culler will be talking about their current show at Lawrimore Project tomorrow at noon. Artist talks can go a lot of different ways but these guys are really great (and very entertaining) speakers. Can't wait!

In anticipation of an upcoming review in Sunday's Seattle Times, LP will be open this Sunday (Nov 22) from 11-5:30pm. Check out Jen Graves' review, too.

Le Classique No. 117 by Brad Woodfin

Le Classique No. 117, 8" x 10"
oil on antique book (in shadow box)

"This painting was done on a book I found in a box on the street I live on. I had the book for months before I painted it. I am probably the last person on earth that would be called a bookworm, but I loved this book when I found it. I mentioned "Les Classiques Pour Tous" to my friend Jerome (who is also referenced partially in the title of another painting in the show , "
A Shiny Shiny Mourning"). Jerome knew where to get more of these books in Bordeaux. There is nothing all that magical about this story, but there is about Jerome, and to me, how important the time we spent together was." - Brad Woodfin

A Shiny Shiny Mourning, 8" x 10", oil on panel

So Long / Brent Watanabe

Collage of So Long by Brent Watanabe (image via)

While bummed I won't be able to make it to Brent Watanabe's talk (7pm) at Jack Straw tonight, I love that Seattle has so much going on lately that we actually have to choose. I'm a big fan of Brent's work (like so many others). Stack:Heap:Loop blew me away so I can't wait to see this new installation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gala Bent / The Stranger

Gala Bent is this week's The Stranger cover. I don't have much to add except, HECK YES!! Couldn't happen to a nicer person!

Margie Livingston and Akio Takamori

There are two shows opening up tomorrow (Thursday, Nov 19) that I've really been looking forward to. Both Akio and Margie have been making beautiful work for a while now (25/10+ years respectively) and yet they continually make it feel fresh.

The Queen (2009) by Akio Takamori
Image via JHG

Akio Takamori is showing new work at James Harris Gallery. During a residency, Akio came across photographs by Rigmor Mydtskov which became the source material for his latest ceramic figurines.

The Writer (2009) by Akio Takamori
Image via JHG

Akio's stoneware pieces are full of gorgeous drips and stains that can frequently be overshadowed by his sinuous forms. In this new exhibition, Akio has taken large color photographs that really highlight the surface of his beautiful objects. This is great idea that really shows off his highly developed painting ability. Can't wait to see these in person.

TURN OVER (2009) by Margie Livingston
Photo by Richard Nicol

Riff--New Paintings is Margie Livingston's 4th show at Greg Kucera Gallery. Margie continues to build on her structure paintings, but the new work feels richer and more painterly.

GREEN TO BLUE TO PINK (2009) by Margie Livingston
Photo by Richard Nicol

And what began as a happy accident (as much great art does), has now been developed into a really interesting new body of 3-D work. Since Margie's source material has always been a grid of sticks and twigs, it just makes sense that at some point she would branch away from strictly 2-D work. What's unexpected is just how radical of a departure these new pieces are.

RED OVER YELLOW (2009) by Margie Livingston
Photo by Richard Nicol

Margie's new work would be have been a fantastic addition to Seattle Art Museum's show, Target Practice. In fact, some of her beautiful marbled pieces build a nice bridge between her previous work and Lynda Benglis' poured paintings. I love Margie's updated versions of balls of string, but this time created with poured ribbons of dried acrylic paint.

HORSE DEMO (2004) by Whiting Tennis

Also opening up at Greg Kucera Gallery is Whiting Tennis' show Weekender: A Short Presentation of Recent Work. I know that folks in Seattle love Whiting's work, but he still seems so under appreciated to me. His work is so distinct and does a fantastic job of representing the idea of NW art. I just think he could use a lot more celebrating. So if you want to stand up and holler for Whiting, you'll have an opportunity this Friday (Nov 20) when he and his band play Cafe Venus & Mars Bar.

The Gift Shop with Claire, Sol and Jason

Oh drats! If I wasn't already precommitted to a dinner, I'd be here for sure!



Sol, Jason, and Claire are bringing gifts back to the Gift Shop! They’re stocking the Gift Shop with presents they have made together and individually, along with contributions from their friends. During the three weeks of the exhibition anyone is invited to make a gift, bring it in, and exchange it for one they find. In the spirit of “white elephant” and “secret santa” games, this encourages speculation, anticipation, excitement (or disappointment?)—challenging each of us to confront our desires and expectations. What are you willing to give? What do you expect and hope for in return? This project examines the celebratory aspect of making art and giving, the element of surprise in getting presents and in collaborating, and the potential for new relationships and dialogue within our community.

The exchange of gifts will begin during the opening party this Friday the 20th from 5 - 8 pm. Anyone who wants to participate can wrap a gift, place it in the gallery, and choose one to take home. The gift exchange will continue during the Henry’s regular gallery hours, Friday November 20th through Sunday December 13th.

The Gift Shop at the Henry Art Gallery
Closed: Mons, Tues, Weds, & Nov. 26th
Thu - Fri: 11 am - 9 pm
Sat - Sun: 11 am - 4 pm

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Artist Salon 3 - Printmaking

Sol Hashemi and Jason Hirata were the artists for Salon #3. They did a great job of creating a high energy, high fun workshop in a very unconventional manner.

Start with a nice, clean wall. Make as many holes as you can with anything you can get your hands on - including fruitcake. Make prints and a big, old mess.

As you can see, the prints turned out lovely and folks had some really great ideas. To make interesting prints, many holes were needed. And it was actually really cathartic to stab, kick, hammer, and nail the wall.

You can see the full flickr set here. Big thanks to Jason, Sol and everyone else who braved the rain last night to attend.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Say hello to Sharon Arnold

Undergrowth, 2009

Your art is very time-oriented. Whether drawing hundreds of marks on paper, sewing thousands of stitches, or creating a sea of tiny cuts, your works end up being a record of time.

It is! I feel I'm trying to capture a moment, in a sense - the same way any painter or photographer might, although I understand this is a different way of marking time than more traditional record keeping. I view them as maps sometimes, or coded/decoded language. Each stitch is a moment, a recording, a marker of where I am in that moment. You can see the lines waver in the drawings, or the pattern is more erratic in some places and more uniform in others - those uniform bits are probably the good days - and just as in yoga you know where you are through your breath, this feels much the same.

Footing, 2009

Your work almost seems like a form of meditation.

I feel it can be. When it's flowing, it definitely is. I want very much to find a space where I'm wholly in the present. Everything outside myself is so fast, chaotic, and overloaded with information, colours, graphics, and data. It becomes nonsense at a certain point, like white noise. I feel like I'm translating this noise in a way, and spitting that translation out through the work. It becomes a language. This is my reading of things. This is me slowing down, taking measure of myself and things around me. We all do this, all the time. Our measurements are a personal cartography or journal. This is too - breathe in/out, leave a mark, move forward, repeat.

Footing (detail), 2009

After moving to Seattle from NYC, you curated a group show that brought a lot of different folks together. How important is the idea of community to you?

Community is extremely important - in fact it's critical to survival. None of us can stand alone in anything we do. I came back from New York having had a strong sense of artistic community there, but a feeling it was easy to get lost. My greatest fear in returning to Seattle was that it would be an environment where people were secluded and roped off from one another. I've been proven wrong in the most amazing way possible - here, people tend to be reclusive, that's a fact. But I've returned to a friendly, supportive, vibrant, youthful, exciting art scene that has so much potential to grow and become something great, and I want every single person who involves themselves with art in any way to come to some understanding of that potential. I think it's imperative that now more than ever, we start shaking things up in Seattle, and ally ourselves with Portland and Vancouver to become even stronger and community based. In the end, that community is what will bring outside recognition to artists within Seattle.

20 b/p/m, 2008

You've had a high profile curatorial project (SEAF) and run a great blog, were you ever worried they might overshadow the art?

I worried about that in the beginning, but I think in the end it's the art people will be looking at/for. And I would hope so, too! As much as I love curating and writing, and look forward to doing a lot more of both, the art itself is always first. It's where I find my truest voice, my clarity. I think we can speak volumes with very little, and I wouldn't say I've mastered the art of brevity in any area but it seems I can speak more clearly through my work than anywhere else. The process of making art is a matter of finding truth. Everything else is demonstrating a point of view or perspective, or arranging objects in relation to one another. These things can benefit one another very well when you find a balance between them.

20 b/p/m (detail), 2008

I love your quote, "...form occurs through the self-leveling patterning of many imperfections." Can you expand on that thought?

I think when you get close to anything you see all these scars, flaws, and imperfections. Things look very rough up close, under scrutiny. Sometimes they're ugly, extra-terrestrial, and completely unrecognisable. It isn't until you pull back and look at everything, adjusting your focus that you gain a sense of what we call beauty, symmetry, or completion. This is a place where we find calm, comfort, and recognition. All these stitches and boxes are rough, jagged, and almost cruel to the paper but when you pull back and look at everything it's a field of textures and patterns, like waves. Whether it's purely aesthetic, spiritual, or psychological; or all of it, I think the grounding sense is the same when you have an endless view of repeated objects. It's calming. It can go forever. I suppose that's comforting to me in a world where few things ever do.

Flow, 2006

What's next for you?

What isn't next? I'm excited to be in conversation with a couple of people on various collaborations, and I would love to curate again. And who doesn't want to show their work more, ha! I know I do, so I'm already back to work in the studio.

One of my previous endeavors, an art subscription project I've renamed LxWxH is in the works to be renewed. This is something I'm hoping will gather artists and writers together with people who wouldn't ordinarily consider themselves collectors. With a subscription project, they can place one order at a time when they see art they like, or sign up for a year and take a grab bag of sorts. It's a win/win situation - artists sell their work on a small scale and people get to buy art on a small scale. It's about making the art world accessible to everyone. Believe me, I want art on all kinds of walls outside the galleries! And I'm hoping I can also involve writers or musicians, at some point.

Outside of these plans, I'm opening up wide to every possibility, shenanigan, and hopefully unconventional ways of participating in art, and getting other people to do the same. I want to cause trouble, yell, and create a ruckus. I want to make art and get other people making art. Mostly, I want to find the ways in which these things combined make us all happier people. Imagine that, a city full of happy fired up artists. Wouldn't that be amazing?


Sharon is currently showing at Vermillion through November 29, 2009.

To read more about Sharon, visit her artblog, Dimensions Variable.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Be yourself

I re-watched The Legend of Leigh Bowery this weekend. After I watch this movie, I always feel so inspired. He made his art by being himself and never compromising on his vision.

Painted by Lucian Freud, photographed by Fergus Greer, idolized by Boy George, and a major influence on Vivienne Westwood, Lady Bunny, Antony Hegarty and many more.

Mark Ronson: Why was Leigh Bowery so fascinating to people?

Boy George: For me the most interesting thing about him was the way he used his body as a style statement. He was a big guy, but, because he was tall and had long legs, he looked in proportion—even sexy—-despite being overweight by conventional standards. I remember seeing him one night at a gay club called the Fruit Machine, which was always full of gym-toned muscle queens, and Leigh was naked except for a pair of big glitter knee-length boots and this puff-ball headdress that clearly impaired his vision. His manhood was shoved between his legs, and he had glued this revolting fake vagina thing over his crown jewels and was spinning around the dance floor and doing the splits. At the height of his club fame he was deliberately distorting his body to look pregnant or give himself breasts by trussing up his belly with tape. He also created outfits that made him look deformed, which was very brave. I believe this was the main thing that gave Leigh his edge. His designs were often breath-taking, but it was the way he used his body that was so utterly new and refreshing. I can’t think of anyone who had done it before or to the extent that Leigh did. He was actually quoted as saying, “Flesh is my most favorite fabric.” I’ve seen many a freak make a scene and go, but Leigh was a special kind of exhibitionist because he was dedicated and saw it as an art form. He was certainly embraced by the art scene.

"Tell them I've gone pig farming in Bolivia." (alleged) final words of Leigh Bowery

images via

Friday, November 13, 2009

Things to do on Saturday!

Black and Tan by Ken Kelly

Ken Kelly is giving a talk tomorrow at 1pm at Howard House. Swing by to hear him talk about his new show. Bring a question or two.

Hung by Claire Cowie

If you've been super busy this month and still haven't made it to Gage Academy to see Claire Cowie's show Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, you have one more day! The gallery hours say M-F, but Claire said that it will be open tomorrow from 9:30 - 4:30. Don't miss it!

There will be plenty of art to see all day tomorrow near Georgetown. The Sunny Arms Artists' Cooperative and the 4810 Building will be hosting an open house from 11am to 7pm tomorrow. Come check out art by Adriana Grant, Trevor Johnson and many more.

Midday Veil new releases & tour

Queen of the Void | Subterranean Ritual

Experimental music-makers Midday Veil are releasing two new albums today. Queen of the Void continues their journey into the land of psychedelia. Subterranean Ritual is a more improvisational experience. Both albums have beautiful screen-printed covers that alone make them worth purchasing. Each record is limited to 300 copies. Pick them up at Dissonant Plane, Wall of Sound or at their shows.

In addition to their new albums, they're kicking off a 7 date West Coast tour. You can see them tonight at The Black Lodge. Full concert list here.