Seattle artist Isaac Layman has his first solo museum exhibition going on now at the Frye Art Museum. Layman’s project, Paradise explores utopia created in his own home, through photography. The commonly accepted idea of a utopia is somewhere outside the city, where society has not taken its toll on the land and the community. Layman’s utopia goes inward to his Seattle home; rather than escape out, he escapes in.
While I found most of the show rather boring (his homes front windows have been hung on the gallery walls), and repetitive (how many more ways can you see a dirty wall?), there were two images that stood out. Because they were of actual objects, his methodical approach to f-stop and focus, became clear and interesting.
So, if you find yourself on First Hill, and want to check out some free art go see these very large photographs in person!
Justin and I started out a little later than planned, missing the photo opportunity with Hello Kitty at the Wing Luke Museum. I do plan on going to have my picture taken with before the month is over, so do stay tuned.
The bus conveniently let us off on 3rd Ave, where most of the galleries I wanted to see were located. Our first stop was to the Foster/White Gallery which I mistook for the Grover/Thurston Gallery. It was a big space; watercolors, birds sculpted out of metals and stones, an exhibit called George in which the artist drew a portrait of sculptures he had made of famous George’s. Upstairs had the most interesting work including my favorite piece- the bottom half of a woman in sparkly ballet flats, her rolls spilling over each other.
Next door at the Greg Kucera Gallery we found the giant collage by Katy Stone. She had many smaller collages made out of transparencies. Justin enjoyed her wall sized metal pieces painted with oil. In the back gallery there were more collage pieces! I found this piece particularly inspiring in its simplicity.
Continuing up the block we came to Platform Gallery. I have been to Platform a few times now, and always am impressed with the exhibitions. Molly Landreth’s portraits of queers in America were beautiful, though our favorites were paintings by Cobi Moules. Moules studied at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston; his paintings were so realistic that later as we were remembering our favorites Justin kept referring to them as photographs. We both instantly recognized the playground in one of his paintings as the place we stopped for ice cream on a road trip in California. We confirmed the whereabouts by seeing that Moules in fact lives in the town depicted in the painting.
Painter Steve Locke brought up an interesting point about his work. In his artist statement he explains that his work is not about being gay, it is about being male. The sexuality of the men in his paintings is not important, rather the experience of being a man is what he is exploring.
On to the real Grover/Thurston Gallery to see Fay Jones‘ work. The first pieces we looked at were sardine cans she used as canvases. Each of the 5 painted cans had sold for $2000; we decided we needed to get to work as soon as we got home finishing my tuna so we could make our small fortune. Nearly all of her larger colorful paintings had sold for $18,000. “She must be in demand,” we mused, silently hoping someday my photographs would bring in a similar income.
Having seen enough of 3rd Ave, we headed down to 1st in search of ArtXChange and the Vietnamese exhibit. On our way there we walked through Occidental Park, where a brass band was playing 70s disco music and the craft vendors were selling their wares.
ArtXChange definitely had a different vibe than the galleries on 3rd. It was set up more like a shop than a gallery, with different media displayed together on the same shelves. It was also the only gallery offering food and drink, banh mi sandwiches and a bowl of candy enticed you in further.
Our favorite work was by artist Miya Ando. One of the women working at the gallery explained Ando had been commissioned by New York City to commomrated the 9/11 attacks; she created steel panels which study the gray scale. We also enjoyed her aluminum prints; photographs printed on large pieces of aluminum. I connected with them because they reminded me of Seattle’s gray winter sky, how there are so many shades of gray we experience, that rarely is the weather monotone. I love the sky here more than anywhere else.
Having seen all of our Pioneer Square destinations we headed for Belltown to visit our final gallery, the science meets art exhibit. Unfortunately, Belltown was not celebrating first Thursday and the gallery had closed before we even left my apartment. Luckily, we were only a block away from our friend Daniel’s work, Bisato. We headed in from the cold, and grabbed a seat at the beautiful wooden bar. Daniel was recently promoted to bartender, and this was our first time visiting him. To my delight he had created a cocktail called The Aurora! I had to get it, and am so glad I did; the sparkling cocktail was delicious.
Bisto specializes in Venetian tapas. Justin ordered polenta with ragu, and I got my favorite sardine with oyster mousse. Within a few bites we were finished with the beautifully presently, and tasty food. Daniel was in the mood to make a vieux carre, so we indulged him and ordered two. Strong and sweet, they made the perfect end to our late night snack.
Biding our farewells, we headed back up to our home on Capitol Hill. Along the way we paid a visit to the Pink Elephant in all his neon glory.
Thank you to the Seattle artists, Pioneer Square galleries, and our favorite bartender Daniel DeHaas, for the wonderful evening! We look forward to next month when we will be visiting you again.
Justin and I will be heading to Pioneer Square this evening to celebrate this months art. On the agenda are:
Platform Gallery- One More Kiss Then We’re History
This exhibit on Queer identity features photographs by Molly Landreth, a faculty member at the Photo Center. Her project “Embodiment: Portrait of a Queer Life” was first brought to my attention when she was a TA in my first lighting class. I look forward to seeing pieces in their finished forms!
Greg Kucera Gallery- Myraid
Myraid is a giant collage by artist Katy Stone. It will be inspiring to see a collage taking up the entire gallery space!
Grover/Thurston Gallery – Fay Jones
People, animals and numbers inhabit Fay Jones’s imaginative paintings and collages.
ArtXchange- Everything on Earth: Paintings from Vietnam
Five Vietnamese artists explore themes of war, rural and city life, spirituality and tradition. Since working in a Vietnamese restaurant, my interest in Vietnamese food and culture has been piqued. I have not spent enough time with Vietnamese art, and tonight I will take steps to change that.
Science and art meet in this instillation that changes with the weather.
Wing Luke Museum- opportunity to have your picture taken with Hello Kitty, while shopping for holiday gifts! Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am until 5pm through December 17th.
Stay tuned for reviews and pictures from the event! Hope you Seattleites will be able to make it to some of these exhibits that will be going on all month.
After a disheartening conversation with a fashion photographer, I decided I would forget photography as a profession and enroll in the nearest nursing program. I thought my mother would be thrilled, but when I told her she seemed disappointed. “You will still have to work, you know,” she told me. The thing is, I really do want to take anatomy and physiology. I want to know more about how the human body and the natural world works. I know that my photography can only benefit with more knowledge. I am already exploring themes of diabetes and peoples relationship to desserts. I am hungry for more information! I will keep moving in the direction I am being called, and trust it will be worth the uncertainty.