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Kelly Mark !@#$%^&*

Toronto's Kelly Mark belongs to the generation that identifies itself with the word "slack." In 2006 in front of the Henry Gallery (website currently down), she reprised her performance from Toronto's The Power Plant. Carrying blank signs, her group presented an opening night audience with her idea of militancy, chanting: What do we want?Nothing!When do we want it?Never!Her videos, drawings, wallpaper, sculptures and photographs strike a deadpan note, like Buster Keaton but minus his anxiety. I Don't Need A Therapist, 2008 Crosstitch on … [Read more...]

Patrick Holderfield – Seattle snow story

From Patrick Holderfield's cell phone. A narrative is easy to sense but hard to decipher. … [Read more...]

Ellen Lesperance – dare to be dull

Portland's Ellen Lesperance won the Seattle Art Museum's Betty Bowen Award in September, much to to the befuddlement of many in Seattle, who'd never heard of her. She has an exciting website, especially for feminists who appreciate the wider progressive history of their movement. Her site opens with rousing chants from decades-old street actions, currently, We don't want Cruise! Using archival footage, Lesperance photographs sweaters worn by demonstrators and  recreates them, first in yarn, second abstracted in gouache on paper. Five of … [Read more...]

Drawing insects – the fine and the coarse

In the 11 years he has operated his aesthete's paradise/curio and jewelry shop in Ballard, called Souvenir, Curtis Steiner has never featured himself in a solo show, till now, through Dec. 3. The insects in his ink drawings on paper - Insects and Alphabets - step on dainty feet out of 19th Century England, when entomology was a pastime as common as chess, surrounded by the kind of elegant handwriting that helped define the leisure class. Each insect holds court on the page, antenna twitching, surrounded by the calligraphy known as cursive. Last … [Read more...]

Marsha Burns – I grow old

From The Love Song of J. Alfred PrufrockT.S. EliotAnd indeed there will be time To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?" Time to turn back and descend the stair, With a bald spot in the middle of my hair -- [They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"] Image (part of a series titled Shanghai Expo), comes from Marsha Burns' daily photo stream, which she sends to a fortunate few via email. There is no other way of seeing it. You have to know her. There are, of course, other poses to strike on the way to the exit. I saw an elderly man walking … [Read more...]

Ripe and juicy as still life

No matter how wide the panorama or abstract the result, all painting is still life, a frozen arrangement of shape, color, mood and space. Ripe: Juicy Contemporary Still Life at Seattle Pacific Art Center takes a more traditional view, focusing on objects painted in cunning display, or, in the case of Linda Hutchins, sewn. When I think of ripe and juicy, Marilyn Minter comes to mind, and John Currin. I like my ripe in the edge of rotten: leaves in the fall, not early blooms in the spring. For hard core still life, nobody beats the 17th Century … [Read more...]

Dead air at the Henry Gallery

There are moments when the correct answer to the question - What are you thinking? - is nothing. You're listening to your stomach gurgle or staring at your shoes, your hands, your sleeping dog. Public personalities are paid to snap, crackle and pop. Curated by Sara Krajewski, Harry Shearer's The Silent Echo Chamber at the Henry Gallery presents them as they wait for the go light and the text prompt. They sit in their seats with nothing to do and no one to share it with. Surrounded by dead air, they slump and grow slack. I'd love to see … [Read more...]

Good picks for Seattle artist innovator’s award

Last September, Artist Trust announced the finalists for its new Arts Innovator Award, which delivers $25,000 to two Washington State artists each year, the first three years funded by Dale and Leslie Chihuly. Early in October, the Artist Trust panel picked its winners: Leo Saul Berk and Margie Livingston. Jen Graves decried these choices, calling them "devastatingly conservative." I'm tempted to say that by her reasoning, the fascinating people at parties are the ones who wear lamp shades and dance on tables, but I want to take the … [Read more...]

What lingers after an absence

The pleasure of engaging a old task comes from the tally-ho sense that a time-out will produce improvement. Surely a refreshed and renewed writer will find purpose, tone and image to clarify complexities into an amplitude. The chess master in Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union had no such hopes about his game. Returning to test yet another challenger, he said, "All the blunders are there on the board, waiting to be made."Onward to blunders: In New York last month, I imagined time spread out before me like Wallace Shawn's dinner with … [Read more...]

Back in the game

I'm back, better and will post Monday. Thanks for your patience, notes and concern. Antibiotics, take a bow.  Tobias Wong … [Read more...]

A brief halt

I'm in New York till Oct. 10. Posts unlikely till I get back. (Image via) … [Read more...]

Two top Seattle artists open galleries

With the fall of Howard House and other spaces shaky on their pins, the appearance of two promising newcomers is heartening news. Norman Lundin and Robert Yoder will open their own galleries this fall, each devoted to other artists. Lundin is represented in Seattle by Francine Seders Gallery, where his exhibition, Gray Light: Four Years of Painting, continues through Oct. 3. (My review here.)Lundin, Arctic River at Night oil / canvas, 2010 24 x 36"The title of Lundin's new venture is Prographica: Fine Works On Paper.Lundin:I am developing it in … [Read more...]

Martina Sauter – mixing memory and desire

Martina Sauter is all about conjunction. Her photos are a collage of film stills from Godard, Hitchcock and Lynch, random shots taken in her daily life, views from her studio as well as her bleak back yard. What she makes of her composites is not seamless. The edge of a wall has its own thick edge, and the interior is recessive.Schwarzer Rock 2010 Dual panel C-print, 11.75" x 9.25" From diverse moments she makes a mood. If Schwarzer Rock features a sleep-walking Cindy Sherman-type from the black-and-white film stills, Teppich sets the kind of … [Read more...]

Mike Simi – memorial to a drunk dad

Mike Simi's I Drink Alone is a memorial to his dead father. The cup is glazed with his father's ashes.Watch the video here - driving drunk in honor of the dearly departed. Simi grew up in Newberry, Michigan, in a family full of prison guards - father, uncles, brothers. He's an artist in Seattle. … [Read more...]

Money, the impoverished visuals

To earn it, clocks are punched and shirts are pressed. Piotr UklanskiFew jobs are secure. You may do your able best, but you're still going to be fired. Then you'll hole up by yourself and think it's your fault. (Via I'm Revolting ) Even when artists make money, they don't make money. SuttonBeresCuller (Distribution of Wealth, 2009 100 uncirculated one-dollar bills cut to portray the percentages received by the artists and their dealer. 46 x 11 x 6 inches ) Of course there are exceptions, although most of the exceptions are dead. Andy Warhol's … [Read more...]

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