Thursday, November 8, 2007
Great Clayton Cop-out
An overview of local exhibits
published in The Weekly Volcano, Nov 8, 2007
pictured: “You Are So Dumb" drawing by Betty Bastai
It’s time for another one of those columns that I like to think of as The Great Clayton Cop-out. That’s when I offer an overview of exhibitions throughout the region because there’s no one thing I particularly want to review.
Let’s face it, it’s a cop-out because there are shows that would probably be well worth reviewing if I only made the effort to at least see them. Such as the Becky Frehse show at the University Gallery, Pacific Lutheran University. Her work is always interesting as she looks at humanity in other parts of the globe with compassionate understanding. In the past, her mixed-media paintings and drawings have often been inspired by her many trips to China. This time they come from a recent trip to Italy. I really should see this show, but I don’t want to drive all the way to Parkland. Wow, that’s lame. She went all the way to Italy, and I balk at driving to Parkland.
Or the print art show at Kittredge Gallery, University of Puget Sound. This has only a week to go. It closes Thursday, Nov. 15. This is the third annual biennial juried exhibition presented by Seattle Print Arts.
If you missed my column last week, run downtown right now to see Chauney Peck and Whiting Tennis at The Helm gallery. This is an excellent show featuring a pair of Seattle artists who are fast gaining regional attention, and today is the last day. Why, oh why, don’t they run shows longer?
Extended through the month of November at a.o.c. gallery is “Three Painters: One Degree of Separation” featuring your favorite Weekly Volcano visual arts columnist and two outstanding painters from points north and east: Drake Deknatel from Seattle and Mike George from Brooklyn, N.Y. Deknatel, who died a few years back, was a fixture on the Seattle art scene. "He was a painter's painter," says Elizabeth Brown, chief curator at the University of Washington's Henry Art Gallery as quoted by Seattle Post-Intelligencer art critic Regina Hackett. "He did everything he could to engage with his subject as deeply as possible. He paid attention to theoretical developments around painting and constantly asked himself if he were pushing himself in the right way. I so admire his rigor."
Deknatel’s paintings are colorful and rich in texture and gesture in the abstract-expressionist tradition.
Another show that I’m looking forward to (and plan to review next week) is the Betty Bastai and Shilo Dela Cruz exhibition at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Fine Art Center, South Puget Sound Community College. Bastai, who was born in Italy but now lives in Oak Harbor, creates mixed media drawings using watercolor, pastels, charcoal, and graphite on paper. Her stark images are drawn from nature and are often based on shells, bones and rocks she collects on nature walks or, in the case of one set of drawings, are based on such things as X-rays and autopsies. There is often a macabre element in Bastai’s drawings as there is with the Dela Cruz’s mixed media sculptures. This should be a fascinating show.
Speaking of fascinating, what may very well be the most bizarre show ever to hit Western Washington is “Hug: Recent Work by Patricia Piccinini” at the Frye Museum in Seattle. Piccinini makes hyper-realistic sculptures of fantastical life forms that are inspired by recent advances in genetic research and the often disturbing questions such research brings up. Piccinini’s sculptures, photographs, and video installations examine a possible future world in which animals, humans and hybrid creatures interact. Included are creatures that look like a hybrid between a human baby and a hairless mole, which leap on human beings and suck their faces. Weird. Technically, Piccinini’s works are astounding; artistically they are questionable at best. This show is worth a drive up Interstate 5. And the best thing is the Frye is always free. The show runs through Jan. 6, 2008.
[Pacific Lutheran University, through Nov. 16 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday Eighth Avenue South and Wheeler St., 253.535.7150]
[Kittredge Gallery, through Nov. 15, Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday noon-5 p.m., 1500 N. Warner St., 253.879.3701]
[The Helm, Wednesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Nov. 7, 760 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.627.8845, www.thehelmgallery.com]
[a.o.c. gallery, through Nov. 30, Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., open until 8 p.m. third Thursday, 608 S. Fawcett, 253.230.1673 or 253.627.8180, www.artoncenter.com]
[South Puget Sound Community College, through Nov. 30, Tuesday-Saturday noon-5 p.m., 2011 Mottman Rd. SW. Olympia, 360.596.5508]
[Frye Art Museum, through Jan. 6, Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sunday noon-4:40 p.m., 704 Terry Ave., Seattle, 206.622.9250]