Thursday, April 5, 2012

PIONEER SQUARE: Flatcolor & the Underground at the OK Hotel

It's 1st Thursday in Pioneer Square again, and I'm off to see John Osgood and Chris Sheridan at the OK Hotel. Both are premiering new work ~ John a new series of acrylic/aerosol paintings, and Chris a new series of longboards bearing prints of some of his signature oil work.

John Osgood is a painter and muralist and has shown work all over the Seattle area. He enjoys juxtaposing bright colours with a variety of emotions, often reflected simultaneously in a single face. His subjects are vibrant and strange, but somehow familiar, and I can't help but relate to expressions that I recognise in myself and people I encounter every day. Both John and his wife Michele are chilling at the OK Hotel this eve, and I have a chance to chat with them for a bit about John's painting process and the encore 2nd Friday opening of the "Look Up Here" show at Bherd Studios, the gallery space that they co-run and operate in Greenwood.

John Osgood @ OK Hotel
Chris Sheridan's work combines elements of mythology, spirituality, symbolism, mysticism and magic. The pieces displayed at the OK Hotel this eve are from his series "Shadows, Persona, and Trickery," an exploration of how religion has influenced culture, the ways in which humans attribute meaning to symbols, and the search for the soul.

It's interesting to see both John and Chris' work in the same venue. Both artists have a fascination with the human form, nuances of expression, and the individual's place in culture and society. The perspectives are wildly different, but the combination of their bold colour palettes have created an incredibly dynamic and cohesive show.

Chris Sheridan @ OK Hotel
Chris Sheridan @ OK Hotel

Below the OK Hotel is warren of art spaces called the OK Hotel Arts Collective (a.k.a. The Underground). I stumble upon it entirely by accident after walking through a doorway that leads to an office out into a hallway and down a blind stairwell into a murky basement with a low ceiling and walls covered in art.

I am drawn to a series of large, colourful oil paintings down the first hallway on the left. I meet the artist, Jeanette Jones,who describes her paintings as multiple images broken apart and reassembled into a non-rectangular grid. The overall effect is a collage created entirely with paint. One of my favourites is "Marie Therese," a piece commemorating the mistress and sometimes model of Pablo Picasso who later hanged herself.

The Underground
Jeanette Jones @ The Underground

Just around the corner from Jeanette is artist Atelier Boy, with "The Skellies." This ink on paper series features skeletons in various settings intended to create different moods. Shown below are "Sundown Skelly", "Sexy Skelly", and "Matrix Skelly".
Atelier Boy @ The Underground

After leaving the OK Hotel, I'm off to Flatcolor Gallery on 1st Ave. It's a little bit of a walk, but worth it to see the final show in their current location. The featured artist is Stacey Rozich, a Seattle-based illustrator and graphic designer. Her latest body of work "The Last Wave" is inspired by traditional folktales, symbolism, dreams, and nostalgia. It's a fantastically vibrant show, and it's a bit of a bummer that after three years in Pioneer Square, Flatcolor will be looking for a new space. Visit their website for new information and details.

Stacey Rozich @ Flatcolor
My last stop of the evening is the ArtXchange, a contemporary intercultural gallery that features art from around the world. This month's show, "Where We Meet: Encountering Nature" includes artists Yuko Ishii, Wang Jiang, Gillchun Koh, and Jane Alden Stevens, from the US, China, South Korea, and Japan, respectively. The work explores humanity's changing relationship with nature.

Gillchun Koh @ Art Xchange
Yuko Ishii @ Art Xchange

Support your local art scene! Cheers!

~ BCDuncan

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