Thursday, June 12, 2014

WEST SEATTLE, CAPITOL HILL & SAM: Here There Be Monsters...

I've never attempted to hit both the West Seattle and the Capitol Hill Art Walks in the same night, not for lack of awesome, but because they're on opposite sides of the city, and getting anywhere in rush hour traffic is a challenge. Tonight marks the Capitol Hill Art Walk's 5-year anniversary, but there's also a fun new show at the SAM Gallery downtown, and my best friend is having her first trunk show at Twilight Gallery in West Seattle! Because I have a feeling tonight will be more of an art 'drive' than an art 'walk', my companion this eve is a noble steed, my trusty little red truck Jethro. And tonight... I will do *all* the things!

Tiny Fat Bird @ Twilight Gallery
My first stop is West Seattle. The drive from North Seattle through downtown is always the least amount of fun, so I tackle it first. Thankfully, the traffic gods have smiled upon me, and I arrive at Twilight Gallery just before 6pm. My friend, metalsmith Grace Wood of Tiny Fat Bird, has some beautiful new pieces on display, all created in her home studio with recycled silver and locally sourced stones. Featured are earrings and bangles from her Scribble line, Bauble and Bobble earrings, Swing earrings, and one-of-a-kind stone necklaces. Grace brought her work to West Seattle a little over a month ago, and it fits seamlessly into Twilight's uniquely elegant ambiance.

Gritty Jewelry @ Twilight Gallery
Across the studio is Kim Mary Merritt of Gritty Jewelry, working at her portable studio bench. Kim creates designs with such themes as Weapons, Vices, Superstitions, and Love & War. I fell in love with her miniature butcher knife necklaces the first time I stepped into Twilight, and it's a pleasure to finally meet the artist who makes them. 

"Summer Moon" @ Twilight Gallery
Joseph Brooks @ Twilight Gallery
Trisha Thompson Adams @ Twilight Gallery
Elijah Ereijer @ Twilight Gallery
In addition to the Trunk Show, Twilight is hosting the "Summer Moon" small works exhibit this month. All pieces are summer solstice themed, smaller than 12" x 12" and priced under $250. Artists include Alexandria Sandlin, Amber Anderson, Elijah Ereijer, Joe Vollan, Joseph Brooks, Paperplate Studios, Stasia Burrington, Trisha Thompson Adams, Vikram Madan, and more!

Artist Kate Protage @ SAM Gallery
"Urban Explorers" @ SAM Gallery
I'd love to stay and explore the rest of the West Seattle Art Walk, but time is unfortunately limited. Jethro and I head back to downtown Seattle, narrowly avoiding game day traffic in SoDo (apparently there's a game today), and I arrive at the SAM Gallery in time to catch up with a host of lovely artists. The gallery used to be on 3rd Ave, but they recently moved into the lower level of the actual museum building on 1st, and this is my first visit to their new space. The exhibit this month features Kate Protage and Dan Hawkins as "Urban Explorers" a vivid pairing of Kate's ephemeral light-blurred paintings and Dan's technicolour time-lapse photographs. Both series are perfectly suited to the transition of the Seattle cityscape from twilight to starlight. It's wonderful to see Kate and her work at the SAM, and after warm congratulations, it turns out most of my friends are headed to Capitol Hill as well. We go our separate ways, hopefully to meet up again before the end of the night!

Artist Nick Gucker @ True Love Gallery
Artist Joseph Brooks @ True Love Gallery
Artist Braden Duncan @ True Love Gallery
"Super Kaiju Monster Show" @ True Love Gallery
Jethro makes it up the Hill in excellent form, and our first stop is True Love Art Gallery and the "Super Monster Kaiju Invitational". I stop in to see the piece I made for the show and check out the rest of the work, which turns out to be a colourful and eclectic cross-section of traditional Japanese monsters, characters from B-grade horror flicks, and other fun and fantastical forms. I see fellow Kaiju artists Joey Brooks and Nick Gucker, so it's a photo op, courtesy of the lovely Denise Brown. The show has an excellent turn out, and it's exciting to catch up with other classic monster fans.

Artist Siolo Thompson @ Joe Bar
"Gendered Objects" @ Joe Bar
From True Love, Jethro and I venture to Joe Bar Cafe at the north end of Broadway. Siolo Thompson is showcasing a new series of "Gendered Objects" an exploration of domestic movements, feminine hands, and draped material delicately rendered in pastel oil colours that raise the question of how gender roles and the notion of 'womens work' are shifting in contemporary society. Included in the exhibit is also Siolo's first self-portrait. It likes to hide, so see if you can find it... It's always a pleasure seeing Siolo, and I wish I could stay and sit with her and each of her works a little longer, but the Art Walk ends in half an hour, and there are a few more exhibits I'd still like to see.

"Catastrophe Museum" by Cait Willis @ Ghost Gallery
Jethro and I head down the Hill again to Ghost Gallery and Cait Willis' "Catastrophe Museum," a series of white noise paintings that examine glitches, or the 'human' element in otherwise properly functioning machinery. The whole show is delightfully meta, as the artist is a human creating art derived from digital patterns distorted by humans. What if chaos were a controlled substance? Check out Cait's show, and see for yourself!

Artist Aubry Andersen @ Cloud Gallery
Adream de Valdivia @ Cloud Gallery
Nate Gowdy @ Cloud Gallery
Cloud Gallery
Back up the Hill, and Jethro and I find parking just in time to duck into CLOUD Gallery above Frame Central with about 5 minutes to spare. Happily, I arrive in time to chat with curator Yvette Endrijautzki and Aubry Andersen, one of the featured artists and the director of A/NT Gallery in Belltown. Her textural paintings of nudes hang alongside the vividly intricate portraits of Adream de Valdivia and the black & white photography of Nate Gowdy. All three artists explore themes of gender, sexuality, and the celebration of humanity in its many forms.

Artist Levi Hastings @ Poco Wine + Spirits
"Baggage Claim" @ Poco Wine + Spirits
It's past 9pm, and the Art Walk has officially ended, but on my way back north, I decide to swing into Poco Wine + Spirits, and find that artist Levi Hastings is still in attendance! His show "Baggage Claim" is a light-hearted adventure in watercolour documenting the highs and lows of travel, and each piece is adorned with a luggage tag, just in case the titles become lost in translation.

As much as I'd like to stay for the after party at Vermillion, I'm exhausted. And inspired. And exhausted all over again. I'll be back for the Pride festival in a couple weekends, so if you weren't able to make it to the Art Walk this eve, but you're also in the area for Pride, check out some art while you're here!

Support your local art scene!

~ BCDuncan

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