Friday, September 4, 2015

A Fun New Pop-up Show at B2

New show has a Little of Everything

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 3, 2015

“Love Forty,” acrylic on cotton rag by Hiawatha D. Courtesy B2 Gallery

The difference between what B2 Gallery is calling it’s “Pop-Up” shows and its regular shows is 1) the Pop-Ups don’t run as long and 2) the art is more reasonably priced. As for the quality of the art, there is little or no difference.

The Pop-Up running through Sept. 26 features art by Hiawatha D, Leah Fitts, Francesca Fuller, Joe Gallagher, Hossein Peigahi, Becky Knold, and jeweler Delores Weir. It’s a fun show.

Peigahi’s colorful and stylized landscapes dominate the large front room. They are playful and simple with few details, and look a lot like they could be children’s book illustrations. One of his nicest pieces is “Twin Barns of Nisqually.” The barns are ghostlike in pales tones of yellow, blue and green that are almost white. They seem to be shimmering in the heat. They sit on a field of hot orange grass. 

Also by Peigahi is a little 12” x 12” untitled landscape that is pseudo-pointillist but not as precise as the pointillism made famous by  Georges Seurat. Above this painting is “Garden,” an oil and monotype of about the same size with flowers depicted in large strokes as if the pointillist dots from the painting below have blossomed into fast strokes like a section ripped from a Van Gogh. His “Summer Day” has marvelously hot: orange, blue, pink and green colors. Near it is the hottest and best of his paintings, a Giclée print called “Fall” picturing a single line of trees with orange leaves on rolling hills that are almost the same color as the leaves. This is a stunning little painting.

Hiwatha D’s acrylic-on-cotton-rag paintings of jazz musicians look more like illustrations than serious paintings, but they grow on you in a wonderful way. These musicians (as well as the people in all his other paintings) are almost genderless, and they don’t have faces, hands or feet. They are decorative and nicely composed. His other paintings are scenes that have the feel of the jazz age. Among these is a matched pair, “Bastile” and “Love Forty” — a man in one painting and a woman in the other, seated in a bar with wine glass and bottle on the table and their chins rested on see-through hands. The contours of these figures are nicely curvilinear, which is stylistically enhanced by the see-through aspect of the hands. His other paintings depict groups of people in urban settings. 
Fuller is showing a set of paintings of flowers with metal sheets screwed to the surface, combining delicate flower petals in transparent washes with minimalist abstract forms created by the metal sheets. The combination is original, startling, and quite attractive.

Fitts’ work is mostly abstract. She has nine paintings of expressive circles and lines and other highly gestural marks on fields of shallow , amorphous spaces and one outstanding landscape of a line of trees with almost identical clumps of orange leaves and sky and ground that look like the background on her abstracts but more nuanced. (I understand that my description of this painting might read like my earlier description of Peigahi’s “Fall,” but the only thing they have in common is that they are two of the best paintings in the show.

Gallagher’s paintings of humorously surrealist bodies, faces, fish, octopi and mermaids are colorful and childlike, although I can see that to many viewers they may look ominous. 

Knold is showing a group of paintings from her recent show at B2. They are all nice paintings, but not among her best. The richness of texture and the contrasts of thick-thin, opaque-transparent that is a trademark of much of Knold’s paintings are not so much in evidence here. Weir’s jewelry nicely combines tribal and contemporary looks with images such as faces and complex beadwork.

Summer Pop Up at B2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, till 9 p.m. Third Thursdays, through Sept. 26, 711 St. Helens Avenue, Tacoma, 253.238.5065.

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