Friday, August 20, 2010
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 19, 2010
photo courtesy Mary Cross
I checked out a few more installations from the Artscapes project starting with "The Blood That Runs Through Us…an Ongoing Dialogue" by Mary Coss, June Sekiguchi and Pamela Hom at 950 Pacific Avenue. It is fabulous. It obliquely addresses the theme of lifecycles, leaving much for the viewer to imagine.
Sometimes artists use the term “installation” to describe their work when “display” would be a more appropriate term. An installation should use all of the space available, should be a unified whole and should invite viewers in. "The Blood That Runs Through Us…" does exactly that. The space consists of a huge room with double picture windows and a smaller connected alcove with a smaller window, and the hanging plaster sculptures and paintings and conduit and ductwork winding throughout the space invites the viewer in to crawl under and step over the continuous all-in-one pieces and immerse themselves in the work.
Of course you can’t actually step in. There is the artificial barrier of the storefront windows keeping you out. But you can wander through in your imagination.
The larger space is filled with white plaster sculptures that are variations on the same pregnant woman. In most versions she is grabbing her crotch or thigh. One version is an angel or cherub with gossamer wings. Similar figures are printed on large banners that hang from the ceiling. Winding throughout are dryer ducts and commercial conduit which serve as unifying elements that make the figures into weird half-human birthing robots. The smaller room continues the theme, but the pregnant women are replaced with slimmer figures whose stomachs are opened to reveal inner workings. All of the figures are connected by the conduit at vital spots.
A press release described the work as a “meditation on family relationships in different cultures,” pointing out that Sekiguchi is Nisei, a second generation Japanese-American; Hom’s father immigrated from China; and Coss is fifth generation removed from her countries of heritage.
Farther south on Pacific Avenue at Tollefson Plaza one finds works by James Sinding, Alexander Keyes and Janet Marcavage. When I drove by looking for a parking space the three individual works looked like parts of an unfinished construction.
Along the back of the plaza are three very large and colorful plastic flowers by Marcavage. They’re attractive but more a decorative element than art. If there were enough to line the entire back edge of the plaza they would have greater impact.
Keyes’ sculpture looked like an unfinished construction project when driving by. Up close it looks like a giant blue Tinker Toy creature crawling up the steps. Quite a nice sculpture, actually.
Sinding’s piece also looked unfinished at first, but it’s supposed to be constantly in flux as the public is invited to change it. It is a set of large, colorful letters. You can rearrange them like refrigerator poems. How fun is that!
[Mary Coss, June Sekiguchi and Pamela Hom, 950 Pacific Avenue, through Sept. 27]
[James Sinding, Tollefson Plaza, Pacific Avenue across from Tacoma Art Museum, through Aug. 31]
[Alexander Keyes and Janet Marcavage, Tollefson Plaza, through Sept. 15]