By Matthew Kangas
FINNBOGI PÉTURSSON: INFRA-SUPRA 2019
Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham. To Mar 16
Icelandic artist Finnbogi Pétursson lives in Vancouver, BC. His Northwest US debut at the Western Gallery involves another of his sound and water installations, which one writer has described as “part physics and part poetics.” Representing Iceland at the 2001 Venice Biennale, Pétursson five years later won the Carnegie Art Award in Pittsburgh. Infra-Supra 2019 fills the gallery with pulsing geometric light patterns projected onto walls, making what the artist calls “drawings.” Low-frequency sounds complement the immersive kinetic light environment.
JAMES MARTIN: RIDING THE MOON TRAIN
Foster/White Gallery, Seattle. Feb 7 – 23
Deceptively like folk art, the art of James Martin is deeply informed by literature, geography, art history and natural history. Having studied writing at the University of Washington, Martin developed his comic painting style in isolation at his Main Street cabin in Edmonds, Washington. Since his 1955 debut at the Seattle Art Museum,Martin has been an eccentric satellite of the Northwest School of artists, sharing their allusions to nature and animals, but replacing their spiritual pretensions with references to Shakespeare, Proust and others.
CHELSEA WONG: MAXIMALIST IN MOTION
Zinc Contemporary, Seattle. Feb 7 – 28
Having studied communication design in New York, San Francisco-based artistChelsea Wong flits between fine art and high-quality commercial illustration in the vein of Maira Kalman of The New Yorker. On the one hand, she has designed record album covers and birthday cards. At Zinc, she is chronicling street life in the Mission District (akin to Jacob Lawrence’s views of Harlem). Wong won a travel grant to Osaka,Japan, and in 2010 was a Hamaguchi Emerging Artist in Berkeley.
DENIAL: SHELF MEDICATION
Treason Gallery, Seattle. Feb 7 – Mar 16
Daniel J. Bombardier is a Canadian mural artist from Windsor, Ontario, who adopted the graffiti tag DENIAL in 1999. He is celebrated for art exhibitions and mural interventions in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver and elsewhere. Shelf Medication focuses on sculptures of large capsules with brand names including Visa, Burger King, Wendy’s and Chanel to satirize how everything becomes ubiquitous through massadvertising. DENIAL uses well-known brands, recalling the early work of Damien Hirst.
JANIE OLSEN: ANIMAL KINGDOM
Schack Art Center, Everett. Mar 7 – Apr 13
Trained as a commercial illustrator, Schack Art Center Artist of the Year Janie Olsen lives in Monroe, Washington. Influenced by the literary and art-historical style known as Magic Realism, her animal portraits of endangered species and others follow from the highly detailed 1970s fad of wildlife art (see Robert Bateman and Tony Angell). Assembling realistic details about various animals, Olsen inserts aspects of fairy tales to stimulate viewers’ fantasies of subjective narrative arising from nature’s inhabitants.