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 Back  Vignettes | Washington | February – March 2014

By Allyn Cantor

CABLE GRIFFITH: QUEST G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, Jan 24-Mar 1 Cable Griffith creates playful paintings that describe a landscape existing somewhere between actual and virtual. The Seattle artist draws visual characteristics from early video-game graphics found in the blocky world of Atari systems. Combining this aesthetic with modernist attributes of painting, Griffith uses simplified forms with geometric leanings to create compositions that shift from fully grounded scenes to sets of spare, interrelated symbols cleanly organized in space. The result: a colourful, well-articulated universe of systems and nature.

ISAMU NOGUCHI AND QI BAISHI: BEIJING 1930 Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Feb 22-May 25 In 1930, Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi travelled to China, where he ended up spending six months in Beijing studying ink painting under the tutelage of Qi Baishi, a Chinese painter noted for his mastery of the medium. This exhibition brings together paintings by both artists from this short yet influential period during which Noguchi produced his Peking Drawings. The collection highlights this little-known mentorship as a pivotal point in Noguchi’s career.

TANGIBLE EVIDENCE: NORTHWEST DESIGNER CRAFTSMEN Schack Art Center, Everett, Mar 6-Apr 12 The Northwest Designer Craftsmen is a 60-year-old non-profit organization dedicated to the highest standards of craft and design in the region. For this exhibit, members – working in a variety of media: clay, fibre, jewellery, sculpture and mixed media – were each asked to create an “artifact” based on a cultural memory, historical event or human experience, real or imagined. The resulting works range from contemporary designs that reference the past to innovative creations that evoke dreams, tradition and societal remnants.

ARRANGED AND DISCOVERED: THE CONTEMPORARY STILL LIFE Prographica Gallery, Seattle, Jan 18-Feb 15 This exhibit brings together five contemporary artists working loosely with the still life to investigate personal style. Brian Blackham’s and Dean Fisher’s are the traditional take on an arranged still life for the purpose of painting. Matt Klos and Eric Elliot express “discovered” still lifes, using as subject matter “happened-upon” objects in the settings where they were found. Fred Birchman’s compositions of architectural objects and space seem neither arranged nor discovered still lifes, but rather imagined or invented ones.

CRAFTING A CONTINUUM: RETHINKING CONTEMPORARY CRAFT Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Jan 30-Apr 27 Drawn from the collection of Arizona State University’s Art Museum, this show exemplifies the innovations in fine craft over the past half century. Objects in wood, ceramic and fibre push the boundaries of traditional and utilitarian notions of craft. Pieces by influential craft-world figures such as ceramist Peter Voulkos and woodturner Ed Moulthrop are displayed alongside the work of newer innovators, such as the unconventional textile pieces of Sonya Clark and the marquetry narrative of Alison Elizabeth Taylor. This stellar collection highlights current trends and the trajectory of a changing field.

Cable Griffith
Cable Griffith

Isamu Noguchi
Isamu Noguchi

Laurie Hall / Tangible Evidence
Laurie Hall / Tangible Evidence

Brian Blackham / Arranged and Discovered
Brian Blackham / Arranged and Discovered

Yoshimasa Tsuchiya / Crafting a Continuum
Yoshimasa Tsuchiya / Crafting a Continuum

 Fri, Feb 7, 2014