By Matthew Kangas
ART OF THE AMERICAN WEST Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, To Jan 7
The Haub family, wealthy German supermarket chain owners, summered in Tacoma near Mt. Rainier for years, forming a relationship with the Tacoma
Art Museum that led to the donation of their extensive collection of historic and contemporary art dealing with the American West. TAM has lent 75 artworks, including treasures by Yellowstone School master Albert Bierstadt; Europeans Karl Bodmer, Carl Kauba, and Carl Rungius; along with Georgia O’Keeffe and Robert Henri as well as noted Asian-Americans and Native Americans.
MEL KATZ Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, To Jan 7
A companion show to his recent Hallie Ford Museum of Art retrospective in Salem, OR, this survey, Choices, chronicles the Brooklyn-born artist’s long sojourn in Portland first as a painter and then as a noted modernist sculptor with myriad public art commissions and museum acquisitions. Colorful, organic and amoebic, Katz’s sculptures echo nature but improve on its irregular vegetal appurtenances.
DIRK STASCHKE Winston Wächter Fine Art, Seattle, Nov 15-Jan 10
The Vancouver resident’s third Seattle show extends his extraordinary control over ceramics into more installations, low-relief paintings and floral still lifes. Trained at the oldest ceramic training institution in the US, Alfred University, Staschke’s technique is a flawless cover for his subversive yet attractive variations on historical genres. The new series explores 17th century Dutch vanitas tableaux reminding us of the impermanence of life and inevitable decay.
SOSAKU-HANGA Davidson Galleries, Seattle, Nov 2-Dec 2
Japanese for “creative print,” Sosaku-hanga woodcuts differ from traditional printmaking methods in that the artist also carves and prints his or her own designs. This allowed for Modernist Abstraction to enter contemporary Japanese art, leading to 20th century achievements by artists who became well-known in the West such as Sadao Watanabe, Kiyoshi Saito and Haku Maki. Organic abstraction, large scale and brilliant colors characterize these appealing multiples.
VICTORIA ADAMS Woodside/Braseth Gallery, Seattle, Jan 11-Feb 8
From her studio on Vashon Island, WA, Victoria Adams has conducted a national career that has involved three solo museum surveys, numerous art fairs, corporate collections and serious critical reviews, including the New York Times. Building on earlier exhibits in Montréal, Idaho and California, the luminous landscapes with glowing sunrises and sunsets recall 19th century American landscapes of the Far West. US embassies in Peru and India display her art.