We all know Aristotle’s famous saw, “Art imitates life.” But more intriguing is how he finishes the thought: “Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.” Thus begins the debate on how artists imitate, reproduce and alter reality, and fill in the gaps with their own aesthetic DNA. Continue reading
On Display December 31, 2014 – April 16, 2015
Five new Artscapes installations are currently being installed in the old Woolworth storefront windows (corner of 11th & Broadway), and the Tacoma Post Office Building display cases (1102 A Street). The projects will debut during Tacoma’s First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve! The artists selected for this round include Barbara De Pirro, Jennifer Chin, Elise Konscek, Anastasia Zielinski, and a group exhibition titled “GENERIS 01T: ZIP CODE” curated by Susan Surface. This marks the 14th round of commissioned exhibitions brought to you by Spaceworks Tacoma.
Here are details on each installation:
Artscapes applications were selected by a team of talented and devoted panelists: Lisa Kinoshita, Artist/Curator, Owner, Moss + Mineral; Nick Butler, Artist at Turtledust Media; Mindy Barker, Owner, Mindy Barker Designs; Ron J Lagman, Film Director, Tacoma Arts Commissioner; Kyle Dillehay, Art Instructor at Tacoma Community College; Dane Meyer, Dane Gregory Meyer Photography and Tacoma Arts Commissioner; Naomi Strom-Avila, Cultural Arts Specialist for the Tacoma Arts Program; and Frank Terrill, Artifact Restorer and Senior Engineer at the Tacoma Planning & Development Services Division.
Locations and support for Spaceworks Tacoma Artscapes are provided by property owners A Street Associates LLC, Power Property Consultants, and AT&T; funders include the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, the City of Tacoma, the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts and Ovation TV.
The intersection of nature and plastic is a common theme for artist Barabara De Pirro. She creates fascinating and complex sculptures, installations and paintings and frequently exhibits throughout the region. She participated in Spaceworks in 2010 with an installation titled “Vortex Plastica” and will complete a large Woolworth installation debuting this upcoming New Year’s Eve 2014! De Pirro has worked with acrylic paint in a wide variety of techniques both traditional and experimental. Please join her this Saturday, for a fabulous lecture on acrylics hosted by Golden Acrylics. Continue reading
Tacoma crafting wizard Laurie Cinotto is on her way to New York. Cinotto won a coveted spot at the Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Sale in New York City, garnering the most votes out of eight finalists along the way. Cinotto’s meticulous handmades, including witty corsages and boutonnières, and beautiful crepe paper bouquets, secured her a slot at the famous showcase. When she’s not creating fabulous adornments for jacket lapels, or for tabletops, the artist runs a local feline adoption program, The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee (and she raised a whopping $49,000 for the Humane Society last summer). See how Cinotto’s furry studio mates contribute to the creative process at www.lalalaurie.com.
The War Experience Project, an exhibition organized by artist and Iraq veteran, Rick Lawson, was the subject of a special edition of the KBTC program, Northwest Now, recorded earlier this month (check listings for rebroadcast times). Because of its unique mission of helping veterans to tell their stories through art (using uniforms as a canvas), and its relevance to the Puget Sound military community, the WEP has received extensive media coverage since it opened on Nov. 11. More than 50 uniforms are on display at the gallery at 906 Broadway. Lawson will conduct on-site painting workshops for vets through mid-Feb. 2011. Hours: Wed. – Sat., 10am – 5pm; Sun., noon – 5pm. Information at (347) 927-3708, or contact email@example.com.
First-round Spaceworks artist Gretchen Bennett, who created a dusky tribute to Tacoma at the Woolworth Building, was shortlisted in Sept. for a Genius Award by the Seattle alternative weekly, The Stranger. It was Bennett’s second nomination for the $5,000 award, and only the latest recognition in a year that has included a showing of drawings in the Seattle Art Museum exhibition, Kurt, an homage to Kurt Cobain.
Lisa Kinoshita‘s sculpture, What You Own, Owns You, is on view at the Tacoma Art Museum through Jan. 16, 2011. The Tacoma artist has been nominated for the Portland Art Museum’s second Contemporary Northwest Art Awards (formerly the Oregon Biennial). Five to eight artists working in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana or Wyoming, will be honored with a museum exhibition and catalog next year. Recipients will be announced in Jan. 2011.
Two Spaceworks artists whose work deals with our increasingly dystopic relationship to the planet, are recipients of 2010 Artist Trust GAP grants. Walla Walla artist Michelle Acuff received a $1,500 award to publish a catalog of sculptural works that explore “our tenuous liaison to the natural world.” Acuff’s work addresses the high price of consumer consumption as measured in the ubiquitous, poisonous substances used in industrial mass production. Her distortions of the natural world, such as in the blue deer (at right), inhabit a plane that is both saccharine and surreal.
Shelton-based artist Barbara De Pirro has been Resident Artist at the Museum of Glass in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Her 2010 Artist Trust GAP Grant, in the amount of $1,500, is providing support for new projects and public works. Artist Trust describes De Pirro’s work as “biomorphic sculptural forms and installations that subtlety express her ecological concerns. Designs conceived in her observations of nature are constructed reusing unnatural, reclaimed materials, and then placed in the world where they can be investigated and contemplated. This deliberate juxtaposition between form and material opens the door for subtle but infinite metaphorical meaning.” Find out more at depirro.com.
Artists Ben Hirschkoff and Alyson Piskorowski have been selected to create installations for the pilot program of Storefronts Seattle, a project of Shunpike modeled after Spaceworks Tacoma, and implemented in Pioneer Square and the International District. Hirschkoff will enliven his storefront exhibit with existing building materials, utilizing the vernacular of construction to create a large-scale sculpture. Piskorowski continues her elegant investigations into the geometry of space with the creation of flowing patterns in paper that engage passersby. Both installations will be on display from Dec. 2010 to Feb. 2011.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produce more garbage than any people on Earth – more than 250 million tons of municipal solid waste per year, or 4.6 lbs. per person per day. Add to that the hundreds of millions of tons of refuse generated by American industry, and the specter of our national waste problem becomes nearly overwhelming.
Shelton-based artist Barbara De Pirro has found a way not only to reclaim and re-imagine cast-off material, but to elevate it into art – oftentimes, the kind of vibrant and stunningly original art sought after by gallery and museum curators. Certainly, making art from recyclable materials is not a new idea. But De Pirro began exploring the possibilities back in the early 1980’s – long before others picked up the thread. Her early work included assemblages and vessels made from found objects, and furniture that she deconstructed then reconfigured for new use. Today, her work is conceived less for function than for contemplation: when, for instance, elegant “biomorphic” spheres are crocheted from discarded plastic bags then grafted like clusters of buds onto huge, living trees, to unsettling effect.
The result: a kind of gorgeous détente between human beings and nature.
Building organic forms “presents a huge challenge when creating with these unnatural materials,” she says. For one observer at least, seeing synthetic buds “growing” along the trunk of a wild tree, or a crocheted “snake” similarly nestled among branches, has a cathartic effect: Perhaps waste may be put to high aesthetic purpose, after all.
For Spaceworks Tacoma, De Pirro is creating a literal universe from her vast cache of materials. Opening Oct. 9 at 912 Broadway, vortex plastica is a multi-dimensional installation featuring “a web-like form, a spun nest, a whirling tornado and a solar system filling the void, cross-lacing the [exhibit] space.” “My intent isn’t to create an installation of piles of plastic garbage, but to create forms that draw people in visually then rattle them a bit when they see that it is all created out of discarded plastics,” she explains.
The inspiration behind the piece is a dire one: the North Pacific Gyre, one of the world’s largest ecosystems, is also host to a trash vortex the size of Australia (commonly known as the “Pacific garbage patch,” it has been brought to public attention by Al Gore and scientists). Locked in a circular pattern of oceanic currents, the gyre’s huge, floating island of man-made debris, mostly plastics, is an environmental catastrophe for marine and bird as well as human life.
Discarded plastics are much more abundant now than earlier in her career, says De Pirro. “Most of my materials come from friends and family; they have been saving things for me for years. Plus, when doing an installation, I gather from the local community, pulling them into the process as well.” (The Habitat for Humanity Re-Store is a favorite.) She even recycles her own work, salvaging finished installations for raw material. Unfortunately, the glut of low-cost fodder is no cause for celebration: “There is an endless source that needs to be reused.” vortex plastica, 912 Broadway, Oct. 9, 2010 – Jan. 5, 2011. www.depirro.com