Friday, October 26, 2018

The Jungle and Tsunami Coming

Laura Boilini and Michael Kaniecki at Minka
By Alec Clayton
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 25, 2018

Top: "Tsunami Coming"by Michael Kaniecki, bottom: "The Jungle" by Lauren Voilini, photos by Alec Clayton
Featured artists at Minka are Lauren Boilini and Michael Kaniecki. Boilini is a Seattle-based painter and public artist who has been awarded commissions across the US and artist residencies all over the world. Her epic installation "The Jungle" explores themes of overcrowding, aggression and ecological breakdown.      
Tacoma artist Michael Kaniecki bends, cuts and paints on almost endless sheets of paper with India ink. His new installation at Minka, "Tsunami Coming," is a 51-foot sheet of paper that has been folded into a giant slinky hung over the door and snaking from wall to wall. At the lowest point of each of five curves the paper is pinched into a point and fans out in sharp radiating lines that are hidden among the black and white shapes painted on the surface.
On another wall are a group of smaller ink paintings on folded paper by Kaniecki. These works are decorative; the large one is impressive in its monumentality and its complexity of form within a simple snake-like shape.
Boilini’s "The Jungle" is also monumental in scale and concept. The installation consists of five large paintings on paper depicting fighting birds and monkeys in a jungle setting. Each painting is approximately 84 inches in height and 34 inches wide. According to an artist’s statement, they “explore themes of male aggression, overcrowding, ecological devastation, nature stripped down to its essence.” These paintings are expressive and aggressive. The jungle background is more stylized than natural, with blobs and streaks and splatters of paint, mostly tones of blue on a tan ground, standing in for trees and sky and earth. In one of the paintings, rhymical yellow lines flow across everything like vines hanging from trees. The animals are painted in wild bursts of contrasting colors. The birds, which flank three paintings of fighting monkeys, are barely recognizable as birds but are slashes of feathers and claws in deep ultramarine and Prussian blue with orange and brown feathers. The paint application is rough, in keeping with the violent imagery. In one of the bird paintings, the background is a splatter of flung paint like blood splatters but blue.
In addition to these paintings and a store crowded with unique arts and crafts, there is more art in the upstairs Art Above Gallery, including collections of Oaxaca carved and painted wood animals and masks and a large Day of the Dead alter. The animals are from the collections of Brian Ebersole and Dr. Antonio Sanchez. They are whimsical, funny, and highly imaginative.
There will be a reception for Lauren Boilini November 15, 5-8pm, during the Third Thursday Art Walk.

Tsunami Coming and The Jungle, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Sunday and by appointment, through Nov. 30 (Day of the Dead Alter comes down Nov. 1, “The Jungle” is scheduled to remain on display through Dec. 31), Minka, 821 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.961.5220

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