Friday, December 29, 2006

Looking ahead

Here are a few visual art events that you should ink into your 2007 calendar

Published in the Volcano Dec. 28 '06

Christmas is over. It's time to relax. Enjoy yourself. Visit a museum or gallery. Is that what I do with my free time? No way. You wouldn't catch me dead in a museum if it wasn't my job. But I'm not you. You appreciate the finer things in life. So as we enter a brand new year, what fine things are in store for you in area museums and galleries? Let's start with a couple of my favorite galleries - Art on Center and Ice Box.

Art on Center is showing new photography by Alice Di Certo. De Certo's photographs are surrealistic abstractions made by the simple act of getting so close with the camera that it is almost impossible to see what you're looking at. Examples of her work pictured on the AOC Web site include a photograph from a series called "Skin & Flesh" that is recognizable as a close-up of fingers (one African and one Caucasian) with creases in the knuckles that look like craggy, dried mud in a desert. A hot-off-the-press release from AOC says she "explores dreams and the unconscious, human behavior and relationships" and "issues of both racial discrimination and racial interaction."

Opening Saturday, Feb. 17, at AOC is a show of new works by Ron Hinson, a personal favorite of mine and one of the best painters in the state.

"In the Shadow of the Dome," new works by Marc Dombrosky, continues at Ice Box through Friday, Jan. 12. Dombrosky finds old, discarded letters, maps and drawings and stitches over them to create delicate line drawings in thread. Coming up next will be Jessica Balsam's greatly enlarged drawings of microorganisms and installations of bacteria-resistant materials.
The gallery at Tacoma Community College is showing the Baroque Revival exhibition (Jan. 8 to March 16), a juried show featuring many of the best known artists in the South Sound area. The Baroque period of the Italian Renaissance was an attempt to restore passion and drama in a reaction against the cold sterility of classical art. At its height, the Baroque period brought the world such magnificent works as Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" in the Sistine Chapel. Obviously we can't expect to see anything like Michelangelo in this show, but it should be interesting to see how contemporary American artists reinterpret this tradition.

The Museum of Glass offers a kind of glass art 101 in an exhibition called "Contrasts: A Glass Primer." The exhibition includes about 50 works by international glass artists grouped in ways to illustrate the many styles and techniques of glass art and the history of glass art. Works date from a 1st century Roman urn to contemporary works by such renowned artists as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Frank Lloyd Wright, Dale Chihuly and Ginny Ruffner.

Coming to Tacoma Art Museum Saturday, Jan. 27, is an exhibition of photographs by Paul Strand, who is famous for his photographs of New Mexico and the Southwest. And coming Saturday, Feb. 3, is a tribute to the great Frida Kahlo in the exhibition "Frida Kahlo: Images of an Icon." Kahlo's exotic, romantic and tumultuous life is laid bare in intimate photographs by friends, lovers and relatives picturing Kahlo from childhood to deathbed in her home, her studio, her garden and her hospital room. As an adjunct to this exhibition, TAM will show works by contemporary Northwest artists who have been inspired by Kahlo. This ancillary show will feature new works by Randy Hayes, Alfredo Arreguin, Jim Riswold and others.

The Kenneth J. Minnaert Fine Arts Center at South Puget Sound Community College will present its second annual regional juried exhibition opening Friday, Jan. 5. The gallery, which opened a year ago, is one of the finest exhibition spaces in the South Sound region. Last year's juried show was a mixed bag with some wonderful works and some in the whatever-were-they-thinking category. Coming in February will be works by fiber artist Faith Hagenhofer.

So, despite my curmudgeonly opening paragraph, it looks like we're in store for some exciting art in the coming months. Happy New Year!

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