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.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Christopher Kroehler

Having lived here all of my adult life, Seattle has played a huge role in shaping me and helping me find my voice as an artist.

I first moved to Seattle so I could study painting at the University of Washington. I lived in a downtown loft space on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Virginia sharing the building with musicians, sculptors, filmmakers, writers, photographers, and painters. I took classes from influential professors like Jacob Lawrence, Michael Spafford, and Curt Labitzke who helped guide me as a young artist.

Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours sketching in cafes around the U-district and in restaurants and bars throughout the city. I was drawn to the vibrant neighborhoods of Fremont and Capital Hill which fed my creativity and I found calm walking the beaches along the sound and nearby parks.

My paintings are a reflection of the people and places I have grown to know and love. I implement images from a variety of sources including sketches and photos I have taken around town over the years. I paint on vintage windows salvaged from local buildings being transformed. As I repair glazing or touch up the wood frames, I think about the history and stories behind the window and what was seen through the glass. I like the depth that this adds to each of my paintings.

Next time you’re downtown, stop by SAM and enjoy some time with my cast of characters on display at TASTE through August 6.

– Christopher Kroehler, SAM Gallery Artist

Image: They Were There for Deb, Christopher Kroehler, 30 x 30 in., oil on plexiglas.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Elizabeth Lopez & Dana Roberts

Seattle and the surrounding area means many things to many people. Even among the artists whose work is on display in Inside Game at SAM Gallery, there are varied reactions to relocating here or living on the outskirts of this still slightly wild city. From the subdued silence of Seattle compared to Texas, to the striking shades of green crowding the San Juan Islands, the locale has a distinct impact on the inspirations and introspection of local artists. See for yourself with a visit to SAM Gallery to see work from the artists in Inside Game, on view through May 6.

Elizabeth Lopez

I remember when I first visited Seattle five years ago deciding if we wanted to live here, we arrived early to a restaurant, sitting with my back to the empty patio. After our two-hour lunch, I turned around to a patio packed with people, but it was still so quiet I was shocked. No hootin’ and hollerin’ like back in Texas. And that has been my experience here. Everyone keeps to themselves. Daily life on public transit everyone is silent. No nods hello from acquaintances on the street. This in turn magnifies the tons of daydreaming I do since I’m not talking. So the work I’ve made while in Seattle is very introspective. The result is from concentrated ideas that have been in my head like salt water taffy moving over and over, changing a little, but tracing an obsessive path in my brain. I always wait with anticipation to see how people will respond to my work, because these are my images based on ideas based on daydreams with vague appearances from things in my life. The artist community here has been super welcoming, so this is my attempt to connect with my other fellow Seattleites.

Dana Roberts

I live and paint in a rural outpost of Seattle—San Juan Island—where I have dwelt upon the same piece of land for over 35 years. Our house is in a clearing in the woods. Vegetation overflows around us: fir trees, cedars, alders, maples, willows, thickets of salmonberry and elderberry, wetland grasses, nettles.  Summer brings endless shades of green. In winter, we are presented with all sorts of bare branches crisscrossing, fallen limbs and trees, trees broken off and still standing. It is a cacophony of messy nature. There are no vistas: all is seen from a close-up viewpoint, all the edges, the complexity along those edges. Nothing stands out as a focal point. One never quite knows where to look. So, one just keeps looking, here, there, here again, eyes always in motion. The eye gathers all those disparate bits of vision, flickering, changing, moving, and somehow assembles them into a semblance of unity. These particular paintings of mine in Inside Game are exactly that way.

Images: Lambent Rabble, Elizabeth Lopez,  48 x 36 in., mixed media on canvas. Owl Light, Dana Roberts, 48.5 x 52 in., oil on linen.

 

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Laura Van Horne

Seattle is that rare location where it isn’t trite to make conversation about the weather. Right now it’s that time of year where elsewhere in the world the sun is beginning to shine again, but in Seattle the sky is still a solid grey. SAM Gallery artist, Laura Van Horne doesn’t mind the muted monochrome of Seattle in the spring. Instead, she feels it is the perfect backdrop for the colorful paintings she currently has on display at TASTE Café. Learn more about the artist and see her paintings on view through May 6. If a pop of color is what you need in your life right now, consider renting or buying art from SAM Gallery.

Laura Van Horne (@lauravanhorneart)

I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and moved to Seattle, WA in 1994. During my schooling I spent several winters in North Dakota, Boston and New York, so was thrilled to move to mild-weathered Seattle. I am not bothered by the rainy season here in the Pacific Northwest, as it gives me a perfect excuse to spend the day inside, painting at my studio. I feel my work is greatly influenced by my surroundings. Living in Seattle is breathtakingly beautiful. I love to go for walks and photograph everything around me, and am especially drawn to the trees, which frequently show up collaged into my encaustic paintings. My body of work is often abstract and landscape inspired with lots of layering.

The Geode Series, which is on display now at TASTE Café in the SAM is packed full of color which is in contrast to the gray palate of Seattle. Gray is the perfect backdrop for these pops of color.  These abstract paintings have evolved from years of experimentation with an elixir of inks, pigments, paints, and resin used on a variety of substrates. The result appears organic and scientific with geodes, human cells, irises and orbs coming to mind.

Images: Kiwi Cocktail, 2018, Laura Van Horne, encaustic, ink, metal on board. Courtesy of the artist.

 

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Ryan Molenkamp

Seattle is often cited as a great place to live because of the ease of access to the outdoors. With mountains encroaching on the city’s skyline from every direction and terrains ranging from rain forest to desert in the state of Washington, it’s easy to understand why we’ve got a reputation as a city of landscape painters and nature poets. In Outside Influences, on view in SAM Gallery through April 4, Dan Hawkins, Ryan Molenkamp, Kate Protage, and Chris Sheridan depict both the cityscape as well as our moss and stone backyard—taking their inspiration from everything outside themselves and filtering it through their particular medium to create unique and striking scenes of Seattle and its surroundings. This artwork begs for reflection on the artist life in Seattle and Molenkamp provides.

Ryan Molenkamp

When I moved to Seattle in 2001 to pursue an art career it didn’t make a lot of sense . . . frankly moving anywhere to pursue an art career didn’t make a lot of sense, but I had the bug, the itch, and I found Seattle to be a welcoming place to grow. The city was full of artists and galleries and a lot of DIY spaces to show art, but it always felt like it had a chip on its’ shoulder. Very little attention was ever given to what was happening here, unless it was in music. But the scene was tight. I remember in particular during the recession years strong unity among artists in this town. If no one was going to buy art at least we could all go out and support each other over 2-buck-chuck and a Rainier. Those days have given way to a more expensive Seattle, one that has priced out a lot of artists and venues. At the same time the new Seattle is full of opportunity for artists to actually make a living at this business. The success of the Seattle Art Fair, as well as the continued success of galleries like SAM Gallery and Linda Hodges Gallery (plug—I show with Linda, too) shows that this city is ready to be more than a forgotten corner of the art world. I’m excited to have a small voice in the conversation that gives me the privilege to pursue a career in the city I love.

Image: Cascade 7, 2018, Ryan Molenkamp, acrylic on panel, 40 x 34 in.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Jason Gouliard, Patty Haller, and Anna Macrae

What does it mean to be local in a city that is rapidly growing? This month hear from two of SAM Gallery’s newest artists whose work is on view in New Art, New Artists through February 5. One of these artists transplanted to Seattle four years ago and the other comes from a family that has lived here for four generations. Hear how Seattle influences the creative output of these artists and then come see work by some of SAM Gallery’s newest regional artists in all their complexity, interest, and beauty, regardless of where they are from.

Jason Gouliard

Having moved from Austin, Texas to the Pacific Northwest four years ago to pursue a career in the tech industry, I wouldn’t say that my work is specifically inspired by Seattle—Though I do try to create work that is as complex and layered as the city I now call home. My paintings explore the intersection between abstraction and meaning. Abstract assemblages with recognizable reference points. I think of them as earnest attempts at condensing rich, complex subject matter down to drips of paint through juxtaposing traditional abstract expressionist painting methods with cartography, proofreader’s marks, and amateur roadside museum techniques of display, classification, and critique.

 

Patty Haller

I’m a fourth generation Seattleite, most comfortable in a mossy wet forest in the fog, on a darkening late-November afternoon, even. My paintings explore complexity in the forest, analyzing the layers of plant growth we see all around us in the Pacific Northwest. I have a studio at Magnuson Park where I’m surrounded by soccer families, dog walkers, and artists. Every day I see people doing healthy things together, and I truly appreciate how Seattle values this. Showing at SAM Gallery only amplifies my pride of place. It’s a hub for art lovers. I’m meeting new people and enjoying Seattle’s active social media community. I love that our SAM Gallery show coincided with Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect, whose work is an enduring influence on me. I remember seeing an image of Helga Testorf in a book in my Nathan Hale High School art class. Helga’s braids! I couldn’t get enough. Last week I looked so closely at Wyeth’s brushwork I nearly broke the barrier that would set off an alarm. I should be more careful, but I just love the art that much. Resources like SAM help me to dream of the paintings I’ll make next.

Anna Macrae

We emigrated to Seattle from England in 2001. My new environment certainly changed my art making—from small realist watercolor paintings, to large bold abstract renderings. I feel that shift was largely due to scale, for a start the walls are so much bigger here, and I can move a 48 x 60″ canvas in my car! Seattle embodies an abundance of extremes and contradictions that generates a rich influence and narrative for art making. From a very young age I had always made, played, and explored. I feel this has continued to be present in my art practice. I have always allowed myself the freedom of discovery through “mistakes”. For me, there are no wrong choices when making art, I trust in my intuition and value those unexpected awkward marks that can only present themselves when you truly surrender to the process.
Images: Act V, Romeo & Juliet Abstract, Jason Gouliard, paint and mixed media on paper under plexiglass, 12 x 24 in. Fort Casey Big Data, Patty Haller oil on panel, 36 x 24 in.  Follow your lead, 2017, Anna Macrae, oil and mixed medium, 48 x 48 in.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Leslie Stoner, Liz Tran, Sheryl Westergreen, Stephen Rock

Seattle is one of those rare places where it isn’t considered droll to talk about the weather. The SAM Gallery artists in Color Excursion, on view December 8 through January 7, offer an escape from grey days into exuberant artwork. Below, three of the artists in this show share the ways that living in Seattle and the surrounding area impact the way they see the world. For such a moody and dramatic locale, you may be surprised by their vibrant, lively work. If you’re looking to recharge your senses, come to SAM Gallery for the Color Excursion Opening Reception on Thursday December 7, talk to the artists about their work, and find out how you can rent or buy artwork from SAM Gallery.

Leslie Stoner

This year I moved from Green Lake to Whidbey Island. Previously my work originated from a contemplative state of creation. I found inspiration through travel and memory and emotions but now living on Whidbey, I’m in it. On the island your surroundings are constantly in flux. The winds whip in and carry things away, the storms batter the shoreline leaving treasures on the beach. The nights are deep and dark and full of creatures. Everything feels alive and in a state of change. The beauty and the drama of my surroundings constantly barrage my eyes and fill my brain with endless creative ideas and the solitude of the island allows these ideas to come to fruition in my studio.

When invited to make a body of work for Color Excursion, I was elated. I’m addicted to color. I mix my own colors using wax and powdered pigments and when working with this medium it becomes something else, something more tactile. It’s hard to explain, it’s like I’m making a soup but I’m loading it with saturated color until it’s thick, and I want to eat it. That’s what initially drew me to encaustic painting and I think it’s what draws people to want to touch an encaustic painting.

Liz Tran

The use of color in my work is an unapologetic form of escapism from the long stretches of grey weather that continually blankets my Pacific Northwest home. Each year my palette of luminous, unnatural hues provides a defiant objection to winter’s approach. Pulsing fluorescent paints massage the naked eye with ultraviolet light, creating an energized glow impervious to dull environments. Maroon does not belong to me. Tubes of brown remain unopened. There is safety in muteness. My paintings speak to extroversion, experimentation, and play. Through color, I aim to activate.

Sheryl Westergreen

Color Excursion immediately brought to mind the idea of travel, taking an excursion lavish with color. My work in this show was inspired by a trip to South America one year ago. Although the paintings for this show do not reflect Seattle, much of my work is inspired by my daily routines and surroundings. For example, the Across the Lake, Cloud Dreams, Inside a Cloud, and Inside a Leaf series are all the result of my daily walks in my Seattle neighborhood.

I let my experiences germinate and then abstract them on the canvas, translating a memory of a place or an experience. I work in layers of color and compose the image while working. My paintings are oil on canvas or board. Working with oil means that each layer needs to have a bit of time to dry before the next layer can be applied. I find that when I return to the piece it changes and evolves in surprising ways.

Stephen Rock

This new work at SAM Gallery is from a series of unique digital mixed media prints called the Gardeners Journal. The nature of the Northwest has always been a part of my life having grown up in eastern Washington. With this body of work, it becomes a touchstone away from the tech-focused culture of our evolving city. My digital print studio keeps me in front of a computer monitor much of the time. As a retreat from the stream of  social media I find refuge out my window, a slight turn of the head away from the monitor. I have found the organic shapes and colors of my garden to be a creative counterpoint to the drone of data. By exploring abstracted shapes and forms found in nature, this new work provides endless metaphors and narratives and visually blend the creative tools of traditional art making with new digital possibilities to find a balanced voice in the moods and aesthetics of the region.

Images: Detail of Leslie Stoner’s studio, photo: Alison Blomgren. Afterglow Two, Liz Tran, 30 x 24 in., mixed media on panel. Easter Island, Chile, Sheryl Westergreen, 36 x 36 in., oil on canvas. Like a garden splashed across the landscape, Stephen Rock, 36 x 36 in., pigmented print, watercolor, gouache.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Enid Smith Becker & Barbara Shaiman

The days are officially getting darker and the work on view the current SAM Gallery show is embracing it. Hanging in the ground floor SAM Gallery is Darks and Lights, featuring Enid Smith Becker, Deborah Bell, Nick Brown, Nichole DeMent, and Barbara Shaiman. The artists in this show contrast darks and lights as autumn turns to winter. Nature’s cycles, retreating to our roots, and finding home are all explored by our premier Northwest artists. Hear from two of the featured artists on what living and working in Seattle means to them and see the show yourself before it closes on November 19. SAM Gallery represents many local artists whose work you can rent or buy. This is one of the numerous ways that Seattle Art Museum supports the arts—by supporting artists.

Enid Smith Becker

My work explores our relationship with the land, time, and space. Despite the different ways each of us approach a place, the land and its beauty is always there. As I paint, I begin with the natural space and into that I layer the rectilinear forms that represent human impact on nature and the different ways that each of us sees the world. One of the things that draws people to Seattle is its natural beauty. As a Northwest native I spend a lot of time outdoors. The paintings in the show Darks and Lights are inspired by places in Washington that we visit on the weekend.

In my work, I am inspired the colors and textures of the natural world. I work in acrylic, but I also build real texture through the inclusion of art paper, junk mail, plant matter, loose-weave cloth, and thread. The constructive nature of combining paint and collage appeals to me. The layering of paint, natural and man-made materials becomes a kind of a metaphorical rebuilding of the land.

 

Barbara Shaiman<

As a ceramic artist whose work references our natural environment and the affect of human activity on it, living in the Northwest plays a pivotal role in my imagery and ideas. Memories of the rock forms, arches, and cave entrances found in La Push and other areas of the Northwest coastline greatly influence my work.

Our relatively easy access to the ocean and mountains is a major part of  my love of Seattle, but I also value the intellectual and artistic stimulation of the city. Environmental justice issues are important to me, as are climate change and sustainability. While being at the coast inspires my awe and my imagery, an evening talking with friends in the city reminds me that we have a lot of work to do to conserve the beauty of our area and enable our neighbors and future generations to enjoy it as well.

While referencing issues such as climate change and  the intersection of natural and human-made environments, I prefer the work to be enigmatic, not to try to supply answers but to encourage us to think about our relationship to the environment with a somewhat altered vision.

Image: Planes, Enid Smith Becker, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 in. Transition Arch, Barbara Shaiman, glazed stoneware, 15.5 x 16 X 5 in. Photo: Hernan Celis

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Harold Hollingsworth

Hear from Harold Hollingsworth, the artist whose work is hanging at TASTE Café in SAM on adulthood and art life in ever-changing Seattle. See how the textures of travel, the shapes of imagination, and the colors of Seattle’s urban ephemera all combine into the abstract and graphic work of this talented SAM Gallery artist. On view through February 4, all the artworks on view in TASTE are available for purchase and SAM members have the option to rent to buy!

The question as to being an artist in Seattle is a ever fluid one in my case. I’ve been here most of my adult life so it’s part of me and I feel a part of her. The city, like myself, is in a constant state of change, trying out new things, celebrating when it can, and admitting mistakes the best it can, openly. I use the city as a partner in collaboration, seeing graphics I can borrow, from a wall with paint or flyers, or a sign coming apart ever so beautifully. I travel away from her from time to time, seeking new inspiration from other places or cities, but I always return and see her again in a new and dynamic way. I’ve had studios in the center of the city and to the south and now the north of her. These places contribute to my work in small and ongoing ways. I keep my eyes open when I move around the city whether on a bike, on foot, or in a car. My camera is always ready for an assist, a sample of something I can use in a new painting—there’s always something available to those who stay attentive.

Harold Hollingsworth, SAM Gallery artist

Photo: Courtesy of Harold Hollingsworth.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Iskra Johnson, Kate Protage, and Kellie Talbot

Have you read the recent Fall Arts Report, State of the Arts feature in the Seattle Times? The current show hanging at SAM Gallery features three artists whose artwork grapples with Seattle’s layers of history and industry. On view through October 15, Industrial Strength is a visual meditation on the objects, jobs, and people that shape the city. We’ve invited our SAM Gallery artists to get personal and offer their own state of the arts and how it impacts (or doesn’t) their creative output. Hear from Iskra Johnson, Kate Protage, and Kellie Talbot on how Seattle has helped, hindered, and influenced them and their artwork. Each of these artists utilizes the cityscape in their paintings and is fascinated by the unique underbelly of Seattle—from the texture of a wheat-paste wall, to the blur of rain reflections, to long-gone landmarks—Johnson, Protage, and Talbot are paying attention to their surroundings and sharing their thoughts on them with you below.

Iskra Johnson

Shadow Wall, Iskra Johnson

The Calligraphic Street, Iskra Johnson

I am a Seattle native and an unapologetic descendent of the Northwest Mystics. I like the sense of being on the edge of the continent and the brooding state of contemplation the natural environment inspires. The frontier also defines the ethics of my social interactions. I see conversation as a practice of risk-taking improvisation, and my personal motto has always been talk to strangers, how else are you going to make new friends? If I had an MFA I could call this “social practice” and get a grant for walking down the street, but unfortunately it’s just my way of being. I was born with a New York personality in a city of impenetrable Nordic reserve.

My work documenting construction sites might really just be about talking to somebody: these men in orange vests with stickers on their hats are the only people on the street not looking at their phones. Although my prints may look like pure contemplations of inanimate beauty, beneath the architectural structure is a confrontation with urban alienation and a path to transform it. All of my work involves photography in the field, and a bit of personal risk. My favorite social practice moment happened a few weeks ago when I was photographing a fire hydrant. A man shouted at me from across the street, are you that girl who takes pictures of fire hydrants? I saw you here last year. He then told me he has never seen fire hydrants the same way. That made my day.

Kate Protage

Bridge Blues, Kate Protage

Familiar Journey, Kate Protage

I left the corporate marketing world to become a full-time painter about 15 years ago. I live a smaller life now, but it’s a good life, and I’m doing what I love.

I couldn’t do it without Jody and the team at the SAM Gallery. They are so good at what they do that I struggle to keep up! I just focus on creating new work, and they handle everything else with ease and grace. Now if I could only figure out how to create faster! Budget, convenience, inspiration . . . all of these factors play into an artist’s ability to create. A home studio offers convenience, but a studio that’s part of a larger artist community can be a great source of inspiration. It turns out that for me, the best solution is a little of both. My husband Chris (also an artist) and I have work spaces at home, but we also share a small space at Equinox Studios in Georgetown, where we’ve found an incredible support system and a strong sense of community. One of my favorite things about Seattle is that a wide array of artistic trends are considered acceptable and cool. I’m surrounded by talent that reveals itself in a variety of shapes and forms and I feel encouraged to develop my own voice. Hearing that a painting of mine is the first piece of original artwork that someone has purchased is an amazing feeling. It is such a privilege and honor to be the catalyst for creating a new collector.

Making art is not just fun: I work longer hours now than I ever did as a marketer, and it’s hard work. As Seattle has become entrenched as a technology and e-commerce hub, our population has grown by leaps and bounds. I know some the challenges that this brings: as a perpetual renter, I’ve had to move further and further from the “popular” parts of town because they’re no longer affordable or accessible. But that population bump also brings more opportunities to connect and succeed as an artist. We live in a city where the possibilities are wide open.

Kellie Talbot

Boy Bar, Kellie Talbot

Market Liquor, Kellie Talbot

In the 28 years that I’ve lived in Seattle I’ve witnessed dramatic changes to the city. Being a professional artist will always have its challenges. Gone are the days of cheap rent but now we see art walks in every neighborhood—there’s even a touring art bus—so I feel the community has come a long way in supporting local artists. Because of my subject matter, I miss the blue-collar economy of the past—airplanes, fishing, ship building. I miss the general surliness of old Seattle. But this new economy has done more than raise housing costs. It has enabled working artists to sell locally and be a part of a vibrant art scene. The days of the Northwest School seem very romantic but I’m sure that is hindsight. I know they struggled with rent and the cost of living too. There will always be the challenge of balancing earning a living and being able to afford living in the city.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Troy Gua

The life of the artist is often romanticized and misunderstood. Here at SAM we support artists on an international and local level through hanging their artwork in our exhibitions and installations, creating programs led by teaching artists, and showcasing artists in SAM Gallery where visitors can purchase art to begin their own collection. Learn about the experience of being a contemporary artist in Seattle by hearing from our SAM Gallery artists. First up is Troy Gua whose work is currently on view at TASTE Café in SAM through November 9, 2017. You can also see Troy’s work at the Washington State Convention Center via SAM Gallery through January 15, 2018, as well as at Out of Sight through August 2017 and Feast Art Center in Tacoma through September 16, 2017. Learn more about how living in Seattle impacts this pop-culture inspired, multi-media artist.

Of course, I can only speak for myself when I say that the state of being a working artist in Seattle has never been better. There are those who are struggling and would strongly disagree, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have found a path that works for me and that has developed into a sustainable income and way of life (fingers crossed), and it really all started, and continues, with my partnership with SAM Gallery. They’ve introduced my work to so many collectors—seasoned as well as first-timers just starting their collections with my work, to real estate developers and entrepreneurs looking to activate their spaces with art, all adding layers of engagement and connection that I could only fantasize about without them.

When I first signed on to work with Barbara Shaiman and SAM Gallery in 2009, it was huge for me. They sold a lot of paintings and got a lot of eyeballs in front of my work, but it wasn’t until the gallery was moved (at last!) into the museum building that things really took off. Jody Bento took the reins and honored me with the first show in the beautiful new space, which also happened to be the gallery’s first ever solo show, and it was beyond my wildest dreams. That was December 2013, and since then, the city has exploded in growth.

Now, there are two sides to everything, and urban growth and population explosions have their downsides, to be sure, but I’m looking at it from the standpoint of being given the opportunity to provide more folks with personal and cultural enrichment through art, and boy am I grateful for that opportunity. But I’m also sympathetic and not blind to the fact that the population boom is causing many artists to be priced out of the city, forced to move and they are taking their artistic energy with them, friends included. That’s a lose-lose situation and it sucks.

Having more people in your city doesn’t automatically translate into having more people in your gallery, though, and I know what a privilege it is to be affiliated with a space that is as accessible as an art gallery can possibly be, at the center of the city’s cultural hub, with staff that are engaging and nurturing, helpful and attentive, with not a whiff of pretension. I think the secret (which is no secret at all) is inclusivity. As Keith Haring said, ‘Art is for everyone’, and for those looking for it in Seattle, it’s everywhere.

There’s so much constantly going on that, even for those with the energy and wherewithal to try, it’s hard to keep up with. From the monthly gallery art walk nights in Pioneer Square, Georgetown, Capitol Hill, and just about every other neighborhood in the city, to the special (and oftentimes mind blowing) exhibitions at spaces like MadArt and Pivot in South Lake Union, from the city’s public art programming to DIY art spaces and the bounty of coffee shops, cafés, and restaurants that show local art, it really is everywhere—an abundance of favorable circumstances for folks to express themselves and experience creativity in our beautiful but changing city. Lucky us!

– Troy Gua, SAM Gallery artist

Images: Islands, Troy Gua, digital print and resin, 30 x 48 in. Tahoma (After Hokusai), Troy Gua, digital print and resin, 30 x 48 in. Heartland, from the Immaculate Disaster Series, Troy Gua, 24 x 36 in., digital print and resin.

Object of the Week: Martin Luther King

Inspired by American craft and folk art traditions, Ross Palmer Beecher honors her roots in Americana with her choices of materials and content. Throughout the oeuvre of this Seattle-based artist (who happens to be represented by the SAM Gallery), you’ll find license plates, signage, costume jewelry, and all kinds of nondescript junk. She artfully arranges these materials into meaningful mixed media works that are labors of love, feats of craftsmanship, and political commentaries. Palmer Beecher’s work remarks in interesting ways on whom and what is worth commemorating. In past works, she has memorialized historical figures such as John F. Kennedy, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

But Martin Luther King, Jr. is the reason why many of us will be on holiday Monday, and the way he dedicated his life to advocating for people of color; his refusal to settle for anything less than people treating one another with dignity and fairness; his strength and resilience in the face of violent assaults, both state-sanctioned and illicit; his determined commitment to turn back hate with love in non-violent protests; and his message of hope are all reasons why he was worth Palmer Beecher’s commemoration, and why we should remember him.

Palmer Beecher produced SAM’s portrait, Martin Luther King, from wire-stitched and hammered metal, paint, wood, costume jewelry, chandelier remnants, and a commemorative postage stamp. The stamp, one that celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, peeks out from in between the face’s flashy gold lips.

The resulting image of Martin Luther King exists in a creative space that melds the decorative and the industrial. There is a roughness to the piece’s manufacture that manifests the artist’s handiwork in painting, pounding, arranging, soldering, and wiring the components together. At the same time, the piece reveals a delicate and sensitive vision. The artist has taken care to vary the colors and textures of her materials, and her power to see how these found objects might fit together to form something significant is remarkable.

Palmer Beecher is an artist who believes that art should say stuff. She’s thoughtful, an activist, and that shows up in her work. Her visionary ability to use found objects in surprising ways—arranging rubbish to give form to something admirable—points to the idea of potential. Things, no matter what they are, might be arranged meaningfully, usefully, in a way that teaches or inspires. People, no matter what they look like, or where they come from, might be the forces to teach and inspire, and to help others find meaning.

—Jeffrey Carlson, SAM Collections Coordinator

Image: Martin Luther King, 2003, Ross Palmer Beecher (American, born 1957), mixed media, 21 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. Seattle Art Museum, Mark Tobey Estate Fund, 2003.62, © Ross Palmer Beecher.

Printmaking in the Digital Age

What does the word “printmaking” mean in our digital age?

SAM Gallery’s June show, Contemporary Printmakers, supplies answers as varied as the artwork on view.

From the digital images of Stephen Rock and Troy Gua, to the mélange of techniques used by Kate Sweeney and Iskra Johnson, these artists use printmaking for many reasons. On the practical side, Gua says collector demand led him from painting to digital mediums. Meanwhile, Kate Sweeney’s desire is to push a two-dimensional surface into revealing three-dimensional space.

Luck or Chance: Many universes are possible, simultaneous and interpenetrated by Kate Sweeney

Printmaking, simplified, is when an artist works on one surface and then applies or transfers that work to a different surface. You’re probably familiar with how a wood block, an acrylic stamp, or a metal plate can be pressed onto a sheet of paper—this is printmaking. The idea of the repeatable image, or part of an image, has held appeal as a way to reprise elements of an artwork for artists and art collectors for millennia. Think of Andy Warhol and how his repeated gestures are fundamental to understanding the work as well as the artist’s intent.

View Corridor by Iskra Johnson

Today’s printmakers come to the medium for similar reasons but their toolkit includes computers, cameras, traditional print presses, handmade “pressure” prints, photocopies, and just about anything else that can be scratched and used to make marks on a surface. Whether it is the psychedelia of color explosions in Gua, Sweeney, and Rock’s work; or the whisper of minimalism in Rachel Illingworth’s pieces, the printmaking process helps artists tell their story in a multitude of ways.

When Flowers Speak to Clouds by Stephen Rock / From the Terrace (A Study of Edges) No. 6 by Rachel Illingsworth

Johnson says it best: “the process forces a certain surrender of control . . . with work that appears to have ‘arrived’ rather than having been ‘made’.” Her current body of work revolves around the theme of impermanence. Sweeney is contemplating gravity waves, dark matter, and all things quantum-theory related. And although 20th-century artist Agnes Martin didn’t work extensively with prints, it’s easy to see that she is a favorite of Illingworth’s. Gua wants to pay homage to the beautiful imagery and composition of Japanese woodblock prints, but also Northwestern-ize his work by using familiar landmarks.

Artist Curt Labitzke, a University of Washington Art Department Professor who runs the print studio there says his work in this show isn’t a print, but rather a painting. However, he used techniques to bring scratched elements through the back of the paper surface. So is it a print, based on the definition above? SAM Gallery invites you to see this show and decide for yourself.

The show runs June 9–July 7 and features the work of Northwest artists Troy Gua, Rachel Illingworth, Iskra Johnson, Curt Labitzke, Stephen Rock, and Kate Sweeney.

SAM Gallery is located in the lower level of Seattle Art Museum’s downtown location and open the same hours as the museum. All of the artwork is for sale and members can try before they buy, with a low-cost art-rental program.

Images: Somerset (Cathedral), Troy Gua, resin coated metallic chromogenic print on panel, 30 x 48 in. Luck or Chance: Many universes are possible, simultaneous and interpenetrated, Kate Sweeney, acrylic on paper collage with digital print, monoprint, braille print and transfer print, 46 x 49 in. View Corridor, Iskra Johnson, archival pigment print, 33 x 61 in. When Flowers Speak to Clouds, Stephen Rock, pigmented print with watercolor, mounted on board, 36 x 24 in. From the Terrace (A Study of Edges) No. 6, Rachel Illingworth, monotype with Pochoir, 40 x 31 in.

Spring into SAM Gallery for Flourishes

Now on view at SAM Gallery—Seattle Art Museum’s art sales and rental gallery—through April 21 is Flourishes, an exhibition featuring three Northwest artists whose work involves embellishments, ornaments, waves, fonts, and graffiti. We talked with each of the artists to learn how SAM Gallery increases their exposure and finds audiences for their work.

 

"Play of Light" by Nichole DeMent

Nichole DeMent
Exhibiting at SAM Gallery since 2011

What has been your experience of exhibiting at SAM Gallery so far?
I am extremely pleased to have my work as a part of SAM Gallery on an ongoing basis. Not only do I benefit through frequent rentals and sales, but I’m elated that part of my commission goes back to support such an important arts organization as the Seattle Art Museum. The entire staff at SAM Gallery is always welcoming and very professional. They are a joy to work with and I feel extremely comfortable sending friends, clients, and collectors to them.

How has showing your work at SAM Gallery impacted your career as an artist?
The other gallery on San Juan Island that represents my work first saw my work at SAM Gallery, and the staff were generous enough to share my info with her.

 

"Queen Bee" by Harold Hollingsworth

Harold Hollingsworth
Exhibiting at SAM Gallery since 2014

What has been your experience of exhibiting at SAM Gallery so far?
It’s been truly wonderful and encouraging, the enthusiasm for the work I make has made a big difference in my approach and experimentation. I’m very happy here.

How has showing your work at SAM Gallery impacted your career as an artist?
I had been wanting to show for some time, and thanks to the staff and interest by SAM Gallery, I’m able to showcase work that I have been showing out of Seattle, in places like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Portland, Cincinnati, and Berlin.

 

"Pacific Northwest in Orange 1" by Nina Tichava

Nina Tichava
Exhibiting at SAM Gallery since 2010

How did exhibiting your work at SAM Gallery come about?
I had relocated to Seattle from Santa Fe and was looking for gallery representation—so many people that I met in Seattle referred me to SAM Gallery as having “the best artists in the Pacific Northwest.” I’ve been showing exclusively with SAM Gallery as my PNW representation since 2012.

How has showing your work at SAM Gallery impacted your career as an artist?
Through SAM Gallery my work has been introduced to new collectors (especially young collectors, which is often a “missing” demographic for many commercial galleries) and museum patrons—a much larger community of people who are looking at and experiencing art. Additionally, SAM Gallery has connected and introduced me to countless established and emerging artists in the Pacific Northwest—I often leave a SAM Gallery visit totally inspired to paint and excited to be in a strong, supportive (and growing!) arts community like Seattle.

Interested in buying or renting work from SAM Gallery? Find out more information and browse our inventory, or stop by!

Images: Photo courtesy of Nina Tichava. Play of Light, Nichole DeMent. Queen Bee, Harold Hollingsworth. Pacific Northwest in Orange 1, Nina Tichava.

Rafael Soldi at SAM Gallery

 

 

Rafael Soldi’s photography has a certain sentimentality to it. His work is personal, often portraying himself or those closest to him in seemingly private moments.  He uses photography as tool for coping, understanding and moving through life. In his series, “Sentiment” on view at SAM Gallery in our Summer Introductions exhibition, Rafael has captured a complicated break up with images that chronicle the pain, fear and healing process he’s navigated over the last two years.

 

“Embrace” archival inkjet print

Rafael shoots medium format color film which he then scans to make digital archival pigment prints. Using only natural and available light, his portraits make you feel as though you’re witnessing not something that was composed or fussed over, but a beautiful moment that just happened to be captured.

 

"Bajo Tu Manto" archival pigment print

“Bajo Tu Manto” archival pigment print

Originally from Peru, and then New York City, Rafael now works for the Photographic Center Northwest as their Marketing Director. He notes Matisse, Modigliani and Toulouse-Lautrec as painters that he seeks inspiration from and Harry Callahan as his favorite photographer. Rafael openly gathers inspiration from his friends and colleagues and readily admits that his work is directly influenced by those he surrounds himself with.

"A Step Towards Somthing I Have Yet To Figure Out" archival pigment print

“A Step Towards Somthing I Have Yet To Figure Out” archival pigment print

-Alyssa Rhodes, SAM Gallery Coordinator

On view at SAM Gallery through August 18th.

1220 3rd Ave (at University)
Seattle WA 98101
Tues – Sat 10:30 – 5
206.343.1101

samgallery@seattleartmuseum.org

“I’m Here, Youre There” archival inkjet print

Summer Introductions at SAM Gallery

 I come at painting from the wrong way around. I do not set out to illustrate anything – not an object, a scene, nor an idea. The painting is a record of events in the studio and of experiments both intuitive and calculated – with color, with the physical properties of paint on a surface, and with random shapes and gestures. Throughout most of the process, the subject of the painting is the painting itself. Marks, colors, and shapes accumulate, are modified, are erased by abrasion or layering, are consolidated and connected to one another. Over time a working surface is built, destroyed, and rebuilt.

During the process, as work continues, glimpses of subject matter beyond the canvas begin to appear. Relationships and connections develop between what happens on the canvas and personal memories of dreams, events, and landscapes. The painting moves from an inchoate assemblage of visual elements to “something resembling something,” however abstract. Relationships are built, strengthened, diminished, redrawn.

JoEllyn Loehr, Tumbling Dice, oil on panel

 Within this seemingly random process, there are themes and patterns that recur. The image is oriented to the edges of the canvas. The surface constitutes a shallow field of space established by variations in transparency and intensity. The color black is important to the overall visual structure. There is a balance between finished and raw, dull and bright, areas of gestural activity and areas of calm, between grace and awkwardness.

 

JoEllyn Loerh, Sauseebe 2, oil on panel

Over time I have realized that the paintings echo similarities in structure that can be perceived over vast differences in scale: from microscopic views of insect wings, to geological processes in land formations, and even to hypotheses about the ordering of matter in the cosmos. These structures then are ultimately the subject matter, arrived at more viscerally than intellectually, through the process of painting itself.

 -JoEllyn Loehr

Come see artwork by artists JoEllyn Loehr, Katie Anderson, Leif Anderson, Patti Bowman, Betty Jo Costanzo, David Owen Hastings, Rafael Soldi, Bradley Taylor, and June Sekiguchi in our Summer Introductions exhibition opening Thursday, July 19, 2012.

Join us for the Opening Reception
Thursday, July 19,  from 5 – 7pm

Exhibiton through August 18, 2012

SAM Gallery
1220 3rd Ave
Seattle WA
98101

 206 343 1101

Top photo: JoEllyn Loehr, Steens, oil on panel

Nichole DeMent at SAM Gallery

By incorporating various mediums such as photographs, beeswax, resin, paint, found objects, and Japanese rice papers, Nichole DeMent’s art has a unique depth to it. Carefully integrating each element into a composition, layer by layer, is vital to the process of its creation. The artist slowly narrates a story for each piece by taking time to deliberate over the under painting and textural elements that give them character and individuality.

“Layers are an important part of my work, both aesthetically and conceptually.  I think of the layers as a history to the artwork — the details under the surface add character to an individual artwork even when they are buried or barely visible in the end.” 

For “Bird Moon” DeMent used the following images, each adding a distictive quality to the piece, which contributes to the end result in its own special way.

 

Come see “Bird Moon” and more work by Nichole DeMent as well as artists Tyler Boley, Iskra Johnson, Aithan Shapira, Nina Tichava, Eva Isaksen and Allyce Wood in Contemplating Nature at SAM Gallery through June 9.

-Alyssa Rhodes, SAM Gallery Coordinator

1220 3rd Ave (at University)

samgallery@seattleartmuseum.org

For more info call: 206.343.1101

 

Iskra Johnson Shows New Work “Contemplating Nature” at SAM Gallery

Iskra Johnson, like most of us, navigates the territory between the natural and the modern world. She has a successful business providing custom letterform solutions and logotypes for packaging materials for companies looking to personalize their branding aesthetic. That Gardenburger logo? She created it. The Seattle Times brandmark? It’s in her portfolio. She utilizes many channels of modern technology (as one must be to survive in the current communications arena) working with design software, digital cameras and a smart phone as well as her website, blog and Facebook pages, all duly updated to maintain relevance with today’s desire for immediacy and attainability.

While maintaining her life as a savvy business owner, Johnson works with equal diligence in her fine art career.  And perhaps by proximity to (her studio is in the middle of a garden) the seasonal changing of flora and fauna, she is greatly inspired by her natural surroundings.

Images of flowers, leaves, water and wildlife are featured in her work and layered with atmospheric shadows and textures. Each composition is carefully crafted, integrating digital photographic elements with older analog prints, powdered pigment and paint. Employing a unique transfer process, each print is handmade and sensitive to timing, humidity and pressure.  It takes a great deal of repetition and attention to detail to produce one successful print. To some this could be considered time consuming and exhaustive, but to Johnson it is a process that allows for pause, contemplation and absorption.

“For me contemplation of nature is a blessed, necessary antidote to the political life. It’s reflective and absorbing. There is no ‘issue,’ nothing to prove, and nothing to be right about. But it’s not a passive state. Embedded in contemplation is the search for transformative metaphor. One of my favorite plants in the garden is the hydrangea…as it changes through the seasons; it is beautiful at every stage. It makes me regard the cycles of my own life from a bigger impersonal perspective and it helps me find harmony with the processes of change. There are times when I think the state of peace that comes from nature is denial, but more often I think it is the basis of everything good-it’s what holds up the world and makes it possible to live.”

Come see new work by Iskra Johnson as well as artists Tyler Boley, Nichole DeMent, Eva Isaksen, Christopher Perry, Aithan Shapira, Nina Tichava and Allyce Wood in the upcoming exhibition, Contemplating Nature, open May 10 – June 9.

Meet the artists May 10, 5 – 7 pm, for the opening reception at SAM Gallery, 1220 3rd Avenue (at University), downtown Seattle.

-Alyssa Rhodes, SAM Gallery Coordinator

Wild Plum, Iskra Johnson, transfer print on paper, 33×25 in.

“Book of Shadows” Installation at SAM Gallery

When peering into the SAM Gallery window display on 3rd and University, one gets a sense of witnessing a moment suspended in time. There are stacks of reference books covered in powdered graphite and ink placed amongst graphics of fallen leaves scattered under hand colored brick walls. It looks as if they’ve been lying around for years, left behind and somehow preserved from deteriorating. The installation is titled BOOK of SHADOWS: A Hidden Hagiography of New Mystics, by artists Dan Hawkins, No Touching Ground and NKO.

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SAM Gallery Offers Sneak Peek of the Upcoming Northwest Biennial at Tacoma Art Museum

Our show Earth Matters runs through December 10 and includes the work of Portland artist Kelly Neidig.  Long into the planning, neither Neidig nor the Tacoma Art Museum had any idea that the pieces in SAM Gallery’s show would also be selected for the prestigious Biennial. You can see these pieces, Monoculture 1 and Monoculture 2, right now in the SAM Gallery front windows at 1220 Third Avenue, Seattle.  TAM’s Biennial show is slated for January 21–May 20, 2012.

SAM Gallery supports local art and artists and you can too by visiting during our open hours Tuesday-Saturday 10:30 am – 5 pm.  We’re just two blocks east of the museum and SAM members can rent the artwork, which is a way to try it out before you buy.

The SAM Gallery show is thematically grouped around artists who are commenting on the fragile and imperiled state of the environment.  TAM’s show has a related subject: “the 10th Northwest Biennial will examine the vital questions of who we are as residents of the Pacific Northwest, what we look like, and what are our aspirations for our communities.”

So what’s Neidig thinking about when she paints?

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