Friday, March 30, 2012

Goodbye, Christopher Hoff

I'm still a stranger to death and when it comes, it catches me off guard. Tonight as I walked home I just started bawling when I reached the crest of Capitol Hill. I've been pretty down lately but it's almost impossible to get to me to actually sob. And then it hit me (because the brain is pretty amazing)...this was the exact spot where I had my first encounter with Christopher Hoff. I immediately looked up and the first thing I noticed was a small white orb in the sky. Of course this is Venus (or Jupiter?) but seeing it up there between the towers just made me cry harder. All day, the news of Christopher floated out there, nebulous and unfixed. But as soon as I could locate him in the twilight, it made it real.

Towers by Christopher Hoff
I remember the first time I saw him. It was a beautiful (Spring?) evening and I was walking home from work and passed by this young man making a painting at 17th and Madison. He was deep in concentration (I know because I walked by several times, trying to catch his eye). He was working plein air on an amazing painting of these towers at the top of the Capitol Hill. It was the first time I recall seeing someone being so public about their artistic practice. Just having had my first show myself (so this would be 2006?), I wanted to talk to him, to make a connection. I was also completely naive and thought, "Look at this savant, desperately making a painting in public. He must need rent money or why else would he paint in front of an audience?" Flush at the time, I walked back and forth, so tempted to disturb him and offer him $500 cash for the painting he was working on. (I had never purchased art but Christ! - can you imagine offering Christopher $500 for a painting?! What an idiot I was! Thank gawd civility prevailed and I left him alone.) But his painting haunted me.

Chris in action (photo by Renee Krulich)
That's what Christopher did. To hundreds of us who would see him painting throughout the city. It was always so magical when I'd turn a corner and see him there, maybe with an umbrella over his canvas, maybe just painting there in the sun, oblivious to onlookers. Or actually, even when he was hyper-focused on the canvas, it still felt like he knew you were there. And would happily say hello, if only this amazing piece he was working on wasn't grabbing 90% of his attention. But the 10% I got, it always made me happy. And it was always enough.

WTC Project 3 by Christopher Hoff
This morning, I woke up and saw the news. That moment when you realize something has happened but it doesn't make sense. Christopher was here yesterday, how can he not be here today? I expect that's how it felt to be in New York in 2011, at least that's what friends have said. Christopher was deeply affected by 9/11. I'm not sure if he was there (gawd, I never asked him...why wouldn't I have asked him?) or what his connection was, but it obviously moved him and he went back there to document the rebuilding.

Totem 3: Owl by Christpher Hoff
His series of 11 paintings will be, according to his website, "...exhibited to the public at non-commercial spaces in Seattle, New York, and other cities across the country after 2014. Working in collaboration with several key organizations at the site including: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, and Silverstein Properties, the WTC Project explores links between the building process and the creative process, adding a new and hopeful chapter to the broader story of this tragic site."

Christopher Hoff by Daniel Carrillo
The world lost a good one in Christopher. He lived such a beautiful life that it will be hard to mourn him, but don't blame us if we try.
My daily practice as an urban plein-air painter is the means by which I uncover meaning in the world around me. For the past fifteen years my work has explored the poetic stillness of the mundane through the lens of observational painting. Working on location, sometimes for more than a year at a single site, my brush both documents and revises with each passing day. Paying witness to this change, translating the cyclical ebb and flow of nature, culture, and commerce into paint compels me to go back outside each day. My intention is not to create something removed from experience, but rather to weave the shared experiences of hundreds of these moments back into one resonant and handmade surface.
There will be a memorial to the beautiful spirit of Christopher Hoff this Monday (April 2nd) at 10:30 am at the shelters at Gasworks Park.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crystal Barbre / Rabbit Hole

in progress mural by Crystal Barbre
Seattle artist Crystal Barbre has just completed an amazing mural for the Belltown bar, Rabbit Hole. It's big and weird and full of her characteristic human bodies with animal heads. I don't always get to link to Crystal's stuff because sometime it runs a bit racy, but I sure do think her paintings are great. 

mural by Crystal Barbre for Rabbit Hole
As this ages, I hope this become a beloved piece of Seattle's history, just like the beautiful nude in the men's restroom at Vito's. Skee ball, Pabst and a mural full of rabbits sounds like a good evening to me!

by Crystal Barbre
Here's a painting from her Rainier Girl series. You can currently Crystal's work at Roq La Rue in the show Red Current.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Traver Gallery

YELLOW BOY, 2010, by Jamie Walker
image via Traver Gallery
As part of NCECA, Traver Gallery has 2 great shows up. Seattle is showing work by UW's 3D4M faculty Doug Jeck, Arnie Laird McNeel, Akio Takamori, Jamie Walker and Mark Zirpel. You can see more images here.

Warli Tree and Skull, 2011, by Jeffry Mitchell, Cappy Thompson, Dick Weiss
Traver Gallery in Tacoma is exhibiting a series of collaborative ceramic plates by Jeffry Mitchell, Cappy Thompson, and Dick Weiss. This show is pretty packed with these dense and haunting plates. You can see them all here

Cat People, 2011, by Jeffry Mitchell, Cappy Thompson, Dick Weiss

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Favorite Things / Buffett & Gauguin

Tonight's My Favorite Thing Tour was great...such a nice group. We spent the tour discussing the connections between Jimmy Buffett and Gauguin and their very different quests for paradise.

When I first saw the Gauguin exhibit, a soundtrack of Jimmy Buffett began to play in my head. At first, it seemed highly inappropriate but the more I thought about it, the less strange it seemed. Born a hundred years apart (technically 98), they share many superficial similarities but the most important is that both were/are driven by a desire to find paradise, free of the constraints of Western mores. 

For this tour, I handed out some suggested pairings of Buffett songs to go with some of Gauguin's paintings based on complimentary lyricality. I don't think even a handful of people on the tour knew who Jimmy Buffett, which added an extra layer of ridiculousness to my premise. 
Guaguin's Coastal Landscape from Martinique
Buffett's One Particular Harbor

Gauguin's Arii Matamoe (The Royal End)
Buffett's King of Somewhere Hot

Gaugin's Female Nude with Sunflowers (Femme Caraïbe)
Buffett's Cheeseburger in Paradise

Gauguin's Women of Tahiti (Femmes de Tahiti)
Buffett's Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Friday night!

I wish I could be at 3 places at once because I want to do all of these things on Friday.  

"Water Wood" by Betty Burgoyne at Roq La Rue Gallery

Roq La Rue is having a guest-curated show by Sharon Arnold. And while Sharon's not specifically calling it out, I'm going to go ahead and say that I think it's thrilling to have a Seattle survey of 37 female artists in a woman-owned gallery. I haven't seen any pictures, but the show should be extremely dense (and wonderful)! It's a fast one though, so make sure to see it before it's gone on April 7th. At Roq La Rue from 6-9pm. 

Sea-Cat 2 at Hedreen Gallery
Hedreen Gallery will be hosting a closing party for Sea-Cat 2. It looks like tons of stuff from both issues 1 & 2 are still available. Like Dawn Cerny's "We hate you (flag)" or Gretchen's Bennett's update on the wooden Jesus necklace, Maple Ruskin. There will be a slide show, a dramatic reading about people who buy art (!), a Q & A, tea and cookies, music and more! This will be a very sweet/fun closing party. At Hedreen Gallery from 7-9pm.

My Favorite Things at SAM
It doesn't matter how careful I read things, I typically end up misunderstanding. I was so excited to be leading a My Favorite Things Tour at Seattle Art Museum about my favorite beards (that Robert Arneson!). When I re-read the email, of course it obviously states that the tours are to be related to the Gaugin exhibition. Duh! So come see my Favorite Beards of SAM let me guide you through some highlights of the Gaugin exhibit. It's a very popular exhibit so you have to reserve tickets ahead of time for the 6:20 slot. "Free with museum admission. Be sure to purchase admission for the 6:20 pm entry to Gauguin and Polynesia to attend this tour. Tour meets at the entrance to Gauguin and Polynesia." At Seattle Art Museum from 6:30-7pm. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 Neddy Nominees

Trojan Horse, 2010, by Jeremy Mangan, oil and acrylic on canvas
96" x 104" (diptych), image via artist

I just wrapped up my interview with Jeremy Mangan for the next issue of DRIFT when it occurred to me that I still haven't blogged about the Neddy nominees. In the Painting category, the four nominees are Jeremy Mangan, Stacey Rozich, Gala Bent, and Cynthia Camlin

"Gator Play your Records for Me", 2012, by Stacey Rozich
image via artist

And in the Open Medium category, the four nominees are James Coupe, Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo (Lead Pencil Studio), Eirik Johnson, and Susie J. Lee. All finalists were selected by a panel of individuals without a Cornish affiliation. This year's panelists were  Ken D. Allan, Stokley Towles, and Barbara Matilsky.

Contemplation in Exile, 2012, by Gala Bent, 24" x 23"
image via artist

The Neddy recipient in each category will receive a $25,000 unrestricted cash award. This year's final selector is Ian Berry, Associate Director and Malloy Curator at the Tang Museum. Congratulations/good luck to everyone!

Cascadia 13, 2010, by Cynthia Camlin, 22" x 28" framed
watercolor on paper, image via artist

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Support your local artist!

Britches, 2010 by Julie Alexander (image via artist)
oil on canvas, 48" x 48"
Julie Alexander will be doing a residency at Jentel next month. Between now and March 31st, she's trying to sell as many $20 raffle tickets as she can (up to 53). And if you win the raffle, you get to pick which one of her gorgeous works you would like. I think it's a great way help offset residency costs. Julie just had a beautiful show at Gallery I | M | A. 

prints by Susan Melrath (image via artist)
Susan Melrath is expanding her audience in a great way. If you like her art page on Facebook, or sign up for her newsletter, or subscribe to her blog, you will be entered to win one of two sets of beautiful prints (each print is 20" x 20"). Susan will be picking 2 names at random on March 22nd, so make sure to sign up before then. 

by Brian Lane, 8"x10" print, $40
Brian Lane is off to a printing conference and is trying to raise some additional funds. He's selling lots of awesome prints for cheap ($20-$40). Disillusioned with politics? You might just have to get this print of an elephant and donkey masquerading as sharks! Contract to purchase or to get more information.

Cuba note cards by Juan Alonso-Rodriguez
I think Facebook in Seattle might have set a new record for weather reporting yesterday. Between the snow, sun, and rain, things were pretty crazy. I found myself wishing I was in a sunnier climate all day long. These cheerful note cards of pictures of Cuba by Juan Alonso-Rodriguez can't help but you in a sunny mood. You can order then online or swing by his studio and pick up a set for only $10!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sharon's writing again!

via Sharon Arnold
Great news for Seattle! Sharon Arnold promises to be writing more frequently. More arts coverage in Seattle has to be one of our region's biggest complaints. First up, her thoughts on Lauren Klenow's last curated show at Steele Gallery called Brick and Mortar.
It's exhausting to draw. You never know how hard you have to work until you're working. Professors go on at length about how drawing is a philosophical battle with yourself; that what you see is not really what you’re making (you’ll never win that war but you’ll have some epic battles). But it is a real thing, this negotiation between perceived reality; what you see, what you think you see, what you don’t see, and how you must represent it either faithfully or fictionally. - Sharon Arnold

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Some openings tonight!

SAM Gallery will having its annual Introductions show, featuring 8 news artists such as Susanna Bluhm, Kathy Liao, Elise Richman, and more! Will be a great show! Tonight from 5-8pm. 

bu Alessandra Hisako Gordon
Eight Folks Cooperative (in Noodleworks) will be hosting All Together Again: An Installation by Alessandra Hisako Gordon. 6pm - midnight. Call (206) 953-1229 to gain entry.
"The show is based on a compilation of fictional writings that I have done over the past year about the meaning of home and all of its mutations. The installation, at its core, is a study of inhabitance and what subtleties grow between people when daily life is shared."
Studio mate Devon Hale will also be showing work.

Richard Busch at Ghost Gallery
Ghost Gallery will be showing candid rock and roll snapshots from the 60s and the 70s by Richard Busch. 5-8pm.

"[Man Stuff #1] Hammer," by Luke Haynes at Vermillion
Luke Haynes is back from NYC and has a show of new and favorite work up at Vermillion celebrating his 100th quilt. 
"The hundredth quilt was a huge marker for me in my career. I use it as the line in the sand at which point I gained mastery of my craft. The point of the show is a celebration of the art and object of quilts as well as of me making it in the world. I will curate the show from my works through out the years and fresh off the machine.
Tonight from 6-8pm. 

Seattle University's Fine Art Department will be showcasing work from their upperclassmen in the Advanced Studio Art Exhibition. Reception tonight from 5-8pm in the Vachon Gallery. 

Opening Friday Night!

by Starhead Boy
And if you don't have plans tomorrow night (3/9), don't miss this amazing owl show curated by Ryan Henry Ward. Who's Hoo? is going to an incredibly dense show of owls from across Seattle and the globe. It kills me that I couldn't get my shit together to get something in there. Hoot hoot!
It's all about owls! An amazing collection of artists from seattle and across the globe come together for an owl themed art show. Come find out who's owl belongs to what amazing artist. Get ready for an amazing variety of mediums , from sculptures, to paintings, to art by real active street artists. Bring your check book because there will be some irresistable art for your home collection.
6-10pm at Urban Light Studios.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rapid Fire Art History / Cornish

I sure wish I was in town for this presentation tomorrow (Wed, 3/7). As part of their Sustenance series, Cornish College of the Arts will be presenting a lunch time discussion that breaks down the past few thousand years of art in a matter of minutes. Moderated by Sharon Arnold, the Rapid Fire Art History: What We Know vs. What We Make panel consists of Jim Demetre, Amanda Manitach, Stephen Sewell, and Rodrigo Valenzuela. 
In this fast-paced presentation, four guests will wrap up several thousand years of history in 3-5 minute segments. Ranging from the Ancient Greeks to today, this rapid-fire survey will demonstrate a potentially unfair and heavily interpreted version of art history from a personal perspective; possibly with an element of fiction. Join us in discovering a more unconventional take on art history, and participate in a discussion about how art history affects art practice- is it relevant, is it nonsense, what does too much knowledge of art history lead to, should/can we avoid it, and more!
While you're there, you should pop downstairs to the Main Gallery and check out Jon Gierlich's exhibition.

Cornish College of the Arts, 7th floor board room
Wednesday, March 7, 12:15 - 1:15
Free and open to the public.

Pots and other things / Cupcake Royale

photo by Amanda Manitach
There was a lonely little shelf (well, not so little, it's 6' long) at Cupcake Royale that was just screaming out for a tiny NCECA exhibit this month. Jeffry Mitchell and I had talked about asking Pony if we could do a mini-show there but we never got around to it. 

photo by Amanda Manitach
One night, post-happy hour, I came home and thought about that lonely little shelf and sent out an email to Amanda Manitach, Gretchen Bennett, Jeffry Mitchell, Jeffrey McGrath, Klara Glosova, Matthew Offenbacher, Nicholas Nyland, Saya Moriyasu, Susanna Bluhm, and Tony Sonnenberg.

photo by Amanda Manitach
Some are known for their ceramics, some of us are dabblers, and at least one of us hadn't ever made work in ceramic before. It's a real sweet show that will be up all month so if you're around the hill, please check it out. Thanks to Jody Hall for loaning us the shelf and thanks to all the artists for saying yes.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In the studio

I've been out of town for a few days on what I'm calling a Blanket Residency. I've been trying to get a few more blankets made and figured I'd share a bit of the process. I'm not really a fan of over-exposing the art-making process because I think it's better when you leave a little mystery but so many folks have asked about the blankets.

It's happened a few times when folks have asked me to explain the title to a piece-and after I do so, they'll say disappointedly, "Oh...I thought it was about _____." Some folks are really bummed to find out that not every one of the blanket drawings has been based on an actual blanket. Some are mine, some are borrowed, some are clothes, some are just scraps of fabric and some are patterns I saw on the internet or dreamt up. Most of them have a personal connection, story, or memory.

These are the actual blanket mounds with their associated drawings. I'm a firm believer that a piece of art is much greater than the sum of its parts (ie, some paint and a canvas). I think that what's happening in your daily life gets embedded into the art. That's why Van Gogh's flowers never look happy to me. Sometimes, the blankets will go over specific objects (ghosts, owls, other pieces of art). These latest ones have been draped over a kitschy replica of James Fraser's melancholic work, End of the Trail, which undermines their happy temperament. A lot (most?) of my art could be summed up as happy on the outside, sad underneath. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

1st Thursday, March 2012

time lapse video by T Scauzillo Golden

There are so many good shows tonight! I'm kicking myself that I won't be around to see them. You'll see a ton of ceramic related shows since NCECA will be here at the end of the month. Timea Tihanyi and Ben Hirshkoff have co-curated a super fun SOIL show called Open for Construction. Members have turned the gallery into an office called SOIL CORP where visitors ("workers") are invited to sit at desks for long periods of time making their own creations (that will stay in the gallery) and collectively transform the space into a strange clay wonderland. I can't wait to sit down for a couple of hours.

by Gretchen Bennett, 2012 (image via artist)
Gretchen Bennett will be showing a beautiful new body of work called The Street Poster Remastered (Bardo States) at Prole Drift. I could look at Gretchen's art all day long. (In fact, some days that's exactly what I do - set up all her pieces in my apartment and just sit and look at them.)

Lovers, 2011, by Ben Waterman, oil and acrylic on paper
(image courtesy of Greg Kucera)
I've really been looking forward to Ben Waterman's first solo show at Greg Kucera called, Midnight Lullaby - Paintings. This piece looks especially tender.

IN MY BROTHER'S NAME, 2011, by Tim Roda, b&w photograph
(image courtesy of Greg Kucera)
Also at Greg's, a new series of small photographs by Tim Roda. I'm so used to his large ones so I'll be real curious to see how things change when the scale shifts. 

Gala Bent (l) and Saya Moriyasu (r) at G. Gibson Gallery
G. Gibson Gallery will be having 2 great new shows with work by Gala Bent and Saya Moriyasu. I love Gala's work and these look great. Saya's work has been wonderfully strange lately and this show really highlights that. I hope someone I know buys this owl teapot!

Other great shows I'm bummed to miss!

I know there are lots of other great shows I'm missing but I'll be away from the computer for most of the day. Sorry if I missed your show!