What would your self portrait look like? How would you pose a friend or family member for a portrait? What props would you include? The artwork in Splitting Image, on view in SAM Gallery through July 9, will have you thinking again about the age-old tradition of portraiture. Hear from one of the artists in this show on how the art world of Seattle impacts their photography, on view now to rent or buy from SAM Gallery.
One thing I appreciate most about making art in Seattle is the supportive and collaborative art community. From Matthew Offenbacher’s The Gift, where he used his Neddy Award to buy art by talented, underrepresented artists (which he then donated to SAM); to inventive curators like Sierra Stinson and Greg Lundgren, who are every bit as creative as the artists they celebrate; to brilliant community shapers like Elisheba Johnson who are putting power in the hands of the people with programs like Public Art Boot Camp—Seattle’s art scene is doing a pretty great job of living up to the text-based mural of another inspirational local artist and art professional, Kristin Ramirez: A City Makes Herself.
On a personal level this is born out within my constructed narrative photograph The Moment (currently on display at SAM Gallery). It depicts a mother and daughter accidentally sharing a fleeting connection. A young girl has stacked books to try and reach the ceiling, while one floor above, her mother bends to pick up a piece of laundry. In this moment their hands line up, as though touching. To make this image I constructed a life-sized 2-story set, which I was able to build inside the now-empty Imperial Lanes on Beacon Hill. When you see this photo in person (and I hope you will) you can find books by local authors and artists hidden throughout the picture (Jessixa Bagley; Annie Marie Mussleman; Jenny Riffle; Sarah Galvin). The mother in the photo, Selina, and I have known each other since summer camp, and we went through the UW Photo program together. Now we both have children of the same age, and it was profoundly touching to make this with her and her daughter. How strange, and wonderful, to be in a cross-sectional two-story set, in an abandoned bowling alley, with my friend from Pacific Rim Camp! Maybe this is happening right now, all across Seattle—people gathering in unusual spaces, working together to make something completely new.