By Matthew Kangas
CHASE LANGFORD: CALCADIA
Foster/White Gallery, Seattle, Apr 5 – 21
Chase Langford’s new show, Calcadia, extends his interest in the cartographic and geological origins of abstract landscape painting. The title refers to an imaginary West Coast country from California to the Cascades that is better, cleaner and more pleasant to live in than the world we have now. With his background in earth sciences, Langford imagines a geological future that combines sky and sea, earth and peaks.
EXQUISITE CORPSE CANNIBALS
Gallery 110, Seattle, May 3-31
The 10-member Seattle group is the latest incarnation of the original 1925 Surrealist game le cadavre exquis: each artist adds something to the artwork without knowledge of prior additions or subtractions by other artists. Curator David Sokal invited the mix of professionals and amateurs whose art grew out of a discussion group headed by Robin Walker over a two-year period. Twenty collaborations are on view, including sculptures, paintings and collages, along with a fake wood-burning stove for video-viewing.
IMMIGRANT ARTISTS AND THE AMERICAN WEST
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, To Jun 14, 2020
Some cultural institutions are spotlighting the role immigrants have played in forming North American culture as a whole. TAM’s latest selection from its Haub Family collection of art of the American West displays examples ranging from an Indian chief by Irish-Canadian painter Paul Kane to carved wood baby pacifiers on a noose by Pakistani-born artist Humaira Abid. Other artists from Denmark, Kenya, France, Mexico, Russia, Germany, Australia, Sweden, China and Japan are welcome surprises.
Traver Gallery, Seattle, May 3 – Jun 18
Traver has arranged for this leading Japanese bamboo basket-maker to send new work from his Saiki studio. He apprenticed with master basket-maker Ono Masakatsu. Moistening, softening, bending, twisting and otherwise manipulating various bamboo fronds and leaves, the internationally hailed artist creates “bamboo sculpture” of gravity-defying beauty. Lacquer for surface fi nishing and steel rods for positioning are also involved in the creation of abstract sculptures that, in typical Japanese manner, work with nature to control it.
MICHAEL C. SPAFFORD
Woodside/Braseth Gallery, Davidson Galleries Apr 5 – 30; Greg Kucera Gallery, Apr 5 – May 26, all in Seattle
Possibly the most controversial artist in Pacifi c Northwest history, the University of Washington emeritus professor of art Michael C. Spafford influenced three generations of artists who went on to considerable teaching and studio-art careers of their own. This trifecta, three-gallery survey begins to correct Spafford’s neglect since the scandal when his two murals (Twelve Labors of Hercules 1980-81), were removed from the Washington State House of Representatives after public attacks from legislators and the media.