COVID-19 Update: All SAM Locations Currently Closed »

The Puzzles, T-Shirts, & Online Art of Gregory Blackstock

Seattle artist Gregory Blackstock is known for his encyclopedic works identifying and labeling the world around him. Blackstock uses pencils, markers, and crayons to create his orderly visual lists. He documents and explores items from the natural world such as birds, animals, and plants, as well as items from the manmade world including clothing, cars, and buildings. Each item is clearly labeled and organized, informed by his research from books and work with local librarians. You can see one of Blackstock’s detailed works in The World Landmark Buildings of Greatest Histories & Heights Recorded Puzzle, for sale online now at the SAM Shop. This 500 piece puzzle includes beloved buildings such as the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Taj Mahal, and Big Ben.

Gregory Blackstock’s artwork is also being featured online through Greg Kucera Gallery. In his fifth solo show at the Greg Kucera Gallery, Blackstock identifies and labels a variety of subjects including crows, shoes, fireworks, lilies, and spices in his limited-edition prints from original drawings. Check it out online through June 27. These works were printed by Stephen Rock, of Rock’s Studio, who is also an artist from SAM Gallery. Blackstock’s work was also featured at the 2019 Seattle Art Fair.

Experience the visual balance and variety of forms that characterize Gregory Blackstock’s art through the SAM exclusive puzzle or this cool t-shirt available online from the SAM Store.

– Pamela Jaynes SAM Gallery Coordinator 

Photos: Natali Wiseman

Sea Change at SAM Gallery

Learn a little about one of the newest artists to join the SAM Gallery roster. Anne Marie Nequette‘s work will be on view in SAM Gallery from January –February 1 in the show New Art, New Artists 2020!

Nequette approaches her work from a background in sculpture, installation, and architecture. Her current body of work, Sea Change, focuses on the rapidly increasing displacement of people in coastal cities worldwide that are considered at high risk. She thinks about all of the people who live at the sea’s edge, and how water levels are now expected to rise, and where will those millions of people go? and how? She has long been concerned about “where we humans are headed regarding climate change, from forest fires to coastal flooding, from collapse of agricultural lands and practices to collapse of necessary species, oceans, and safe drinking water, etc. The power of water is something that many people underestimate, and only those who have survived a flood or hurricane have some idea of what that might be like.”

The idea and the initial list of cities for Sea Change came from an article in The Guardian in 2017.[1] It included interactive maps of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Osaka, Rio de Janeiro, Miami, The Hague, and Alexandria that showed the grave danger these cities face, given their high population numbers (Shanghai at 34.8 million in 2015) and/or precious agricultural land (Alexandria and the Nile Delta). She works abstractly, primarily in paint and collage. If she has been to the city depicted, she relies on her experience to create a color and texture palette from paper on which she draws and paints. If she has not been to the city, she reads about the city and travels via Google image, and Google satellite maps looking at the city from above as well as from the street, to get a feel for what it is like. As she works, she imagines a city that has become inundated, though not completely underwater.  Each of these works is titled with the population figures from governmental sources for the metropolitan areas and the works are named for the people, their cities, and the year the population number was last updated, i.e., ‘Shanghai, China, 39.4 million in 2015’.

– Pamela Jaynes SAM Gallery Coordinator 

[1] The three-degree world: the cities that will be drowned by global warming, (Friday, November 3, 2017) Josh Holder, Niko Kommenda and Jonathan Watts (updated May 28, 2018). 
Bangkok, Thailand, 14.6 million in 2010, Anne Marie Nequette, Collage on canvas. Keihanshin (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe), Japan, 19.3 million in 2010, Anne Marie Nequette, Collage on canvas.

Mapping the Pacific Northwest

Check out the October SAM Gallery show, Mapping the Grid before it closes October 31! Nina Tichava is one of four artists featured, all of whose work responds to maps, grids, and geometry. Tichava uses painting and printmaking techniques, to interweave drawing and collage with a variety of media, including paint, charcoal, ink, tape, ballpoint pen, canvas, and metal. She is a process painter, who creates paintings without a set plan or narrative.

In the works from her Mapping Series at SAM Gallery, Nina says “I was able to source nautical maps of the Pacific Northwest sound, and I had two large, vintage maps of Washington State in my studio. I’m a constant and compulsive collector of vintage maps, papers, postcards, wallpaper, photographs, posters . . . it goes on and on. I’m always searching thrift stores, garage sales and vintage shops, especially when traveling. I also hunt for materials on eBay, mainly when I’m looking for something specific.” Many of the maps in her work at SAM Gallery feature Pacific Northwest locations, such as downtown Seattle, Gray’s Harbor, and the Hood River. As an environmentalist and conservationist, Tichava is also working to help protect the locations shown in her maps. Tichava sells works on her website to support environmental charities, such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council. She was raised by hippy parents in rural New Mexico and Northern California and spent most of her adult life on the West Coast, where awareness of things like water conservation, clean air, and environmental impact are part of the culture and prioritized. She believes that “as climate change intensifies, and everyone is thinking about how to handle the complexities, I feel like it’s a small but tangible way I can participate and contribute to a solution.” 

On top of the maps, Tichava applies numerous overlapping layers of stripes, painstakingly painted with a brush and individually applied strips of tape. “Reproduction and repetition being central themes, my paintings are responses to things mass-produced and processed to an ideal. My paintings are, by nature, imprecise and hand-made objects. Perfection is unattainable therefore each piece is unique—it is this inherent quality that continues to engage me in painting.” The Mapping Series was developed in collaboration with SAM Gallery and for many years was exclusive to the gallery. The idea came from a design project Tichava began in South Lake Union, and grew from there, encouraged by Jody Bento and the many collectors who have supported this series for years. See it for yourself!

– Pamela Jaynes, SAM Gallery Coordinator

Image credit: Edward Tichava

SAM Gallery Artist Kellie Talbot Travels for Art

SAM Gallery artist Kellie Talbot travels across the country with her husband, cat, and duck, in a truck pulling her mobile studio, an Airstream trailer they named Mr. Salsa. Kellie Talbot’s America on view at SAM Gallery September 4–29, showcases some of her newest works. Talbot has established a national reputation for her oil paintings of the neon signs scattered across America. In the last two years, her family has driven 36,000 miles, through 29 states, in pursuit of source material for her paintings. She plans her route, knowing where certain signs are located, but is always open to possibilities and unexpected opportunities. Some of her favorite signs and memories come from happening upon them. One unexpected ice storm led them to Vaughn, NM (population 446), where Talbot found one neon sign after another.  She was out in the snow, climbing on her Airstream trailer to get photographs for future paintings. When she’s traveling the country, Talbot says “I photograph almost every sign I come across because when I am in collecting mode I don’t want to pass up any potential. Sometimes it’s more obvious. Some of those obvious ones have an iconic shape or beautiful neon that just demands to be painted.”

Once Talbot returns to her studio in Seattle or New Orleans, she relies on reference photos from her trip, to paint photorealist paintings of the signs that represent the landscape of American artifacts, craftsmanship, and history. Talbot describes how “once I am in my studio I spend a lot of time with my reference material planning out a body of work. I like to have a balance of close-ups mixed with landscapes. I like there to be a push and pull of sorts. Some signs are small but I paint them big while others I can enlarge just portions. Almost every sign has the potential to be painted. I just have to find the aspect of that sign I want to paint.”  Talbot is often drawn to a particular letter or shadows from a sign. Focusing on a smaller portion of the sign allows the viewer to enjoy the shapes, shadows, and colors in a new way. Talbot intentionally includes the rust and decay in the neon signs she paints. These details aren’t negatives to the artist, they are signs of time and experience, both an elegy and a hope.

Meet the artist at the opening reception on Thursday, September 5, 6–7:30 pm at SAM Gallery.

– Pamela Jaynes, SAM Gallery Coordinator

Image: Courtesy of the artist.

SAM Gallery Artist Creates a Healing Environment

For her recent commission for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), SAM Gallery artist Niki Keenan created 11 paintings focused on healing environments. SCCA brings together the leading research teams and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s, and UW Medicine. The treatment rooms in their newly expanded SCCA outpatient clinic in South Lake Union feature Keenan’s work.

Niki Keenan’s paintings are inspired by the natural world, specifically sunrises and sunsets in Seattle. She uses dynamic, bold colors to paint water scenes with bridges and reflections from the vantage point of a boat. Keenan writes, “Each of the paintings in this series depicts a Pacific Northwest bridge, most of them are in Washington State, one is in British Columbia, Canada. I use these bridges as a way to frame the sky, as a way to show off the sun’s rays dancing around the architecture and as an anchor to a specific place. These brilliant sunsets and sunrises are happening all around us and by showing them happening in places we recognize, it makes the experience a shared one. Also, I believe bridges are symbolic of journeys in that they help us get where we want to go.”

In the new treatment rooms at SCCA, Keenan hopes her paintings will help transport viewers and give them something new to focus on, during their treatments. She believes “being transported during times of stress and uncertainty, is such a gift and so vital for healing. Paintings can literally turn a regular wall into a portal and the place you get to go in my paintings is full of hope, happiness, light.”

Keenan began showing her work at the SAM Gallery in 2018 and was quickly discovered by local collectors. SAM Gallery supports local artists and their careers by increasing their exposure and finding audiences for their work. 

– Pamela Jaynes, SAM Gallery Coordinator

Photo: Dave Keenan. Images: Niki Keenan.

Muse/News: A little Prince, four women, and Beyoncé’s Homecoming

SAM News

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis talks with artist Troy Gua—a SAM Gallery favorite!—about his devotion to depicting Prince (you have GOT to see the closet of tiny Prince outfits). Gua’s work is now on view in Prince from Minneapolis at MoPOP and Le Petit Prince at SAM’s TASTE Café

There’s four more selections in SAM’s British Comedy Classics film series, with a gem being screened every Thursday. The Stranger continues to include the series in their round-up of “Movies Worth Watching in Seattle.” 

Local News

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig on Mari Nagaoka’s solo show at The Factory, Honey, which features large-scale portraits of queer people within the artist’s community—rendered in ballpoint pen.

Terry Furchgott solo show, Intimate Interiors: Women at Home, is now on view at Harris Harvey Gallery; Real Change’s Lisa Edge talks with the artist about her work depicting women comfortable in their domestic solitude.

The Seattle Times’ Crystal Paul talks with Seattle legend Valerie Curtis-Newton on her direction of the upcoming Seattle Rep play, Nina Simone: Four Women, which imagines a meeting of the four women from Simone’s song.

“I found that in making plays, I get to make community and it can be different kinds of community. But that’s the thing ultimately, to get people to talk about important and difficult issues, by entertaining them and then provoking them.”

Inter/National News

Homecoming, the documentary directed and everything-ed by Beyoncé, hit Netflix this week; the New York Times’ Aisha Harris says the artist “puts herself directly in conversation with voices from black American history.”

The Guggenheim’s groundbreaking Hilma af Klint exhibition closes next Tuesday. Artnet’s Ben Davis reports that the show’s over 600,000 visitors has made it the museum’s most-attended exhibition of all time.

Notre-Dame Cathedral caught fire this week; here’s Steven Erlanger on the historical site’s many meanings. And donations skyrocketed for three Black churches destroyed by arson after a signal boost from Yashar Ali.

“It’s universal, Western, religious, literary and cultural, and that’s what makes it different from any other object. It’s the whole spectrum from the trivial to the transcendent, the sacred to the profane.”

And Finally

Consider the Keanu.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view of “SAM Gallery Presents: Troy Gua’s Le Petit Prince At TASTE,” photo: Natali Wiseman.

SAM Gallery: 45 Years!

Did you know that SAM Gallery has been around for 45 years?! In 1973 the Seattle Art Museum’s Rental/Sales Gallery was started by a visionary group of docents led by Jackie Macrae. They operated out of a space in the Seattle Center, selling the work of local artists in order to raise money for SAM’s volunteer programs. When the gallery turned out to be successful, a part-time employee was hired in 1989. That person was Barbara Shaiman, a local ceramics artist who also ran Shaiman Contemporary Craft. Shaiman worked for the Seattle Art Museum for 24 years and continues to attend openings, as well as show her own work. In 2000, Jody Bento began to work for Shaiman at SAM and today, Bento continues to oversee the gallery. In the 45 years that SAM Gallery has rented and sold Northwest contemporary art, it has mounted hundreds of shows including thousands of Northwest artists. Check out the current roster of SAM Gallery artists.
To celebrate this milestone, we’re sharing some photos from over the years. Join in the success of the gallery and spend time with some of SAM Gallery’s Northwest artists at the opening for the 45th Anniversary Show on First Thursday, November 1.
Images: Photo: Natali Wiseman. Jody Bento, left, Barbara Shaiman, right, pictured with paintings by Deborah Bell. Photos: Ben Benschneider. Attendees at SAM Gallery opening, 2017. Jody Bento, Associate Director SAM Gallery, pictured in the gallery’s Seattle Tower location. Photo: Jen Au.

 

Muse/News: Storme’s cover, Mickalene’s inspirations, and Artemisia’s revenge

SAM News

Hot off the press! On the cover of the current edition of Real Change: Will Wilson’s tintype portrait of artist Storme Webber. Don’t miss Lisa Edge’s review of Double Exposure inside the paper.

“Displaying Curtis’ work alongside contemporary Native artists is part of a growing shift among art institutions, which are becoming more critical of themselves and inviting visitors to do the same. They are becoming more conscious of who is telling the narrative.”

And the exhibition and SAM are both referenced in this New York Times story by Ted Loos on changes at the Art Gallery of Ontario spearheaded by their curator of Indigenous art—and how they reflect changes happening at museums across the U.S. and Canada.

Also: Seattle Business Magazine interviewed SAM director and CEO Kim Rorschach for this feature story on how to collect art; SAM Gallery is also included as a resource for art buyers.

“Most galleries are happy to let you pay over time. And you may need to try out something at home before committing. Says Rorschach: ‘It’s just about having an honest and forthright conversation.’”

Local News

Brendan Kiley of the Seattle Times reports on the future of Pivot Art + Culture, which once presented works from Paul Allen’s private art collection; it will soon house a “putt-putt pub.”

City Arts has a great round-up of visual arts picks, including quilts of Gee’s Bend at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art and photography by and inspiring to Mickalene Thomas at the Henry Art Gallery.

John Stang of The Globalist on The Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a Latino/a Culture, set to open early 2019 in south Seattle. It will be the “first major museum devoted to Latino history in Washington State.”

“’Latinos have made incredible contributions, not only to the economy, but to the citizens of Washington state,’ said Erasmo Gamboa, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Washington and one of the leaders of the museum project.”

Inter/National News

Those production values tho! Watch this “My Favorite Artwork” video by the New York Times Magazine in which artist Glenn Ligon discusses a self-portrait by Adrian Piper.

Artnet’s Sarah Cascone reports that the Association of Art Museum Directors has launched a paid internship program at museums across the U.S. in an effort to diversify museum staffs.

The Telegraph announces that the National Gallery has acquired a self-portrait by Renaissance artist Artemisia Gentileschi; it is only the 21st painting by a female artist in the gallery’s permanent collection of 2,300 works.

“One of a handful of women who was able to shatter the confines of her time, she overcame extreme personal difficulties to succeed in the art of painting. This picture will help us transform how we collect, exhibit and tell the story of women artists throughout history.”

And Finally

Seattle Met on the local champions of French fry artistry. (Ed. note: The ones at Presse are best.)

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Nina Dubinsky.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Jennifer Zwick

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.