Two new Artscapes exhibits will engage viewers not with a shout but a whisper. Sneak Peek, an art installation by Elise Koncsek at the Woolworth Windows, invites passersby to glimpse through peepholes to discover intricate tableaux of the artist’s imagination. My Dreams Are Blue/MicroZoo Menagerie, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Jennifer Chin at the Tacoma Post Office Building, plumbs the artist’s obsession with piercing, oceanic shades of blue. Continue reading
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
This group show features the fine woodworking of Carlos Taylor-Swanson; the photography of Harriet McNamara; the fine woodworking of birdloft, the design team of Adrienne Wicks and Jeff Libby (a current Creative Enterprise of Spaceworks); the ceramics of Claudia Riedener; and sculpture by Holly Senn (Spaceworks Alumni).
Moss + Mineral is located at 305 S. 9th Street in downtown Tacoma. Store hours are Thursday-Saturday, noon-5 and by appointment.
Moss + Mineral grand opening, November 2-3, 11:00-5:00pm
After closing her gallery, Mineral, in 2011, Spaceworks alumni Lisa Kinoshita is back in the saddle with Moss + Mineral, a new design store at 305 S. 9th (across from the Rialto Theater). Check out the new digs during the grand opening, Nov. 2-3, during the Art at Work / Open-Studio Tour! M+M features mid-century modern home design matched with contemporary art, jewelry, plants and terrariums. It’s a small shop with big ideas. Find out more at www.mossandmineral.com.
The design studio is kicking off Art at Work Month with a show of 6 artists:
– Jennifer Adams – paper sculpture
– Regina Chang – mixed media
– Kristin Giordano – photography
– Malcolm McLaren – mixed media
– Janette Ryan – photography
– Lisa Kinoshita – botanical art
Moss + Mineral
305 South 9th St.
Tacoma WA 98402
The mysterious, secret and energizing connection between human beings and the natural world is the subject of CODA, an installation by Lisa Kinoshita, on view at the Woolworth Building through October 31. In a stark white room, a herd of wild stags crashes through the field of consciousness, where a hospital bed lies empty and white snow fills a television screen. The powerful and indifferent vitality of nature is juxtaposed with an image of individual human mortality. Or is it?
Kinoshita asks viewers to decipher the meanings of objects that create disquieting associations – strewn flashlights, a broken plaster hand, a wooden stool suspended by a rope noose. “There’s something people instinctively grasp when they look at wild creatures; that we are a part of nature and the life process, and not the other way around. It makes human life seem more poignant,” she says.
She finds inspiration for her narratives in artists such as Joseph Beuys, and works such as the 1965 performance, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare, in which the artist, his face masked in honey and gold leaf, cradles a deceased hare while carrying it through a roomful of drawings, whispering to it tenderly and lifting it up to the pieces. The work is ripe with symbolism (honey combined with gold transforms the head as a vessel for the creation of thought, in Beuys’ lexicon).
CODA represents man and creature in their final, numinous surge, locked in a fixed environment yet separate. “Beuys said that ‘everyone consciously or unconsciously recognizes the problem of explaining things, particularly where art and creative work are concerned, or anything that involves a certain mystery or question. The idea of explaining to an animal conveys a sense of the secrecy of the world and of existence that appeals to the imagination. Even a dead animal preserves more powers of intuition than some human beings’ with their rationality.” Kinoshita, who is also a jewelry artist, incorporates natural objects such as bone, raw crystal and petrified wood in her bench work.
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.
“I’m starting to feel at home in the downtown space, as is Gracie [the milkbone-flipping chocolate labrador] who has been doing some napping outside the shop in the sunshine,” says Pottery Annex owner, Susan Thompson. “The four hours in the afternoon that I’m here fly by and without the distractions at home, I’m finding I’m getting some real work done. Another thing that I love about the space is all the natural light. My tools and equipment at home are in the basement, and though I’m lucky to have that space, it is dark and cold. I have sold some pots and enjoyed visiting with curious drop-ins so all in all my first week has been pleasant.” On Aug. 20-21, Thompson will host the Fourth Annual Summer Sale of Pottery at her home studio in Tacoma, featuring eight clay artists. Click on http://www.susanskiln.blogspot.com for details. Or visit The Pottery Annex, 913 Pacific Ave. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 1-5p.m.
Driving down Pacific Ave. one night, we were thrilled to see Tiffanie Peters’ boutique, Chiffon, glowing like a beacon of indie fashion, with a full selection of styles hanging on the walls like the art that it is. Peters has a long-distance commute to Tacoma from Shelton – besides working a daytime job – so Chiffon truly defines “labor of love.” We heard the siren’s call of her fantastic sterling silver necklaces – as big as airy, jangly bibs – and were glad, in a way, the shop was closed. At least until pay day. Chiffon, 915 Pacific Ave., Thurs.-Sun. 11-6. http://www.tiffaniepeters.com.
Meanwhile, at Mineral (not a pop-up store, but a fixture at 301 Puyallup Ave. in the Dome District), owner and Spaceworks artist Lisa Kinoshita is setting up Access Denied: the 2010 Exhibit of Chastity Belts by Artists. Kinoshita says this year’s array of entries is “highly stimulating” and a “fantastic showcase for Northwest artists who looked at chastity from every conceivable angle, except the obvious one.” Look for wit and exceptional craftsmanship at this highly anticipated event, staged in a newly enlarged gallery space. Two preview events: Aug. 14, 11-5 and Aug. 19, 5-10; show runs through Oct. 9, 2010. Mineral, 301 Puyallup Ave. – Suite A, Tacoma, 253/250-7745. Summer hours: Thurs., Fri., Sat. 12-5. http://www.lisakinoshita.com. Running concurrently with Access Denied in the 301 Building (in Suite B), is Don’t Look, a boudoir vignette by Madera Architectural Elements (MAE), whose members are all Northwest artisans and fine craftsmen. For information on MAE, contact Lynn DiNino at 253/396-0774; firstname.lastname@example.org. In Suite C is the Val Persoon Gallery, featuring watercolor (www.valpersoon.com).
It’s going to be a hot summer.
When Spaceworks Tacoma threw out the welcome mat for its July 29 Block Party, art lovers set their cultural GPS for Theater on the Square and a celebration of the art exhibits and pop-up stores opening downtown. Shorts and sunglasses were de rigeur as the mixer kicked off with a full lineup of live entertainment on the outdoor stage, fresh catered noshes and a beer garden in which to ponder all of the above (City Council members David Boe and Marty Campbell were among those convening in the outdoor amber hall). Lucky for those who missed the neighborhood shindig, most of the art will be on display through late September.
We started our art walk at the corner of 950 Pacific Ave. where Bloodlines, a luminous installation by Mary Coss, Pamela Hom and June Sekiguchi forms the metaphorical heart of the art beat. This magnum opus is actually three separate works in one, intertwined seamlessly around issues of cultural and creative inheritance – and the holiness of the human body. It’s a lot to digest at one sitting (we’ve already planned a return visit). Down the street at 913 and 915 Pacific Ave., two pop-up stores opened their doors for business: at The Pottery Annex, clay artist Susan Thompson spun magic at the wheel between ringing up sales and chatting to enthusiasts about her fabulous, functional vessels. Next door, at Chiffon, fashion designer Tiffanie Peters was still unpacking boxes from her collection – but no problem, visitors simply pawed at her beautiful, hand-made jewelry, displayed like works of art on the wall.
At 1114 Pacific Ave., filmmaker Isaac Olsen, photographer Joshua Everson and textile artist Meghan Lancaster held court in their new digs inside a bank building converted into a collaborative studio of gi-normous dimensions. The space features a spiral staircase, a shiny vault, a kitchen, corporate meeting rooms – everything except a Guy Friday. Not surprisingly, it is taking the artists some time to configure and utilize the space, though they gamely welcomed visitors on opening night. Stay tuned.
Live music, dance and spoken word poetry energized the crowd at Theater on the Square. The Warehouse provided musical acts including HAIL, a rock band made up of SOTA students; Luke Stevens, Makeup Monsters and Travis Barker. The musicians were still going strong as the sun went down. A hearty performance by Shakespeare in the Parking Lot left no question as to whether 9th & Broadway was the place to be or not to be. Meanwhile, writer/director Aaron Flett and assistant director Cassie Lindberg mingled with visitors on the set of Jesus 4 Less at 906 Broadway. The two were slipping mock bookcovers over some of the thousands of old books there (the movie’s setting is the inside of a Christian bookstore), in order to avoid copyright infringement. The film is being shot in the ornate interior of a former Moroccan furnishings store, an irony that was not lost on us.
Where would a block party be without food? There were audible ah’s from people nibbling the free-of-charge gourmet pupus made by Affairs Catering, and life-giving iced tea provided by Tobin and Maureen of the Mad Hat. We were slowly melting from the heat when we ran into Jeff the Ice Cream Man, whose bike-powered cart was stuffed with the most fascinating ice creams we’ve ever encountered, including pico de gallo with chili (both freezing and blistering at the same time), and a creamy concoction the world has been waiting for, called “Ice Cream in a Tube.” Refreshed, we headed for the Woolworth Building to check out five installations by Zeit-Bike, meadow starts with ‘p,’ Joseph Songco, Gretchen Bennett and Lisa Kinoshita. These installations cover a lot of ground: eco-friendly bikes, deconstructive photography, Tacoma history, doomed bears, the interrelationship of art and play. Making a circuit of the large storefront windows, we thought about what an excellent art venue a department store makes, and how Woolworth‘s, the grand five-and-dime, is as always a most satisfying place to look at art.
There were young people sitting on the ground listening intently to HAIL as we headed for three installations on Broadway. We viewed Ben Hirschkoff‘s work, which situates a translucent cloud inside a window; Tory Franklin‘s jewel-like rendering of the Russian fairytale, The Firebird; and Michelle Acuff‘s blue deer immobilized inside a raw, dystopic modern world. About this time we had a strange feeling. It was exciting to look at so much interesting art – and yet, we were beginning to feel as if we’d just consumed a six-course meal, heavy on the aesthetics, and it was now time for a digestif. So, it was with pleasure we ended up at Jennifer Adams‘ pop-up store, fly, for a dose of retail therapy. We were revived by Adams’ finely edited selection of artist products including squid boxer shorts by Kelsey Parkhurst, Stella Crumpton carryalls made from automotive vinyl, Slide Sideways paper products, and Ashley Mimura feather headbands and hairclips. New items are arriving weekly, so it’s wise to check in often.
Most inspiring to see was Tacoma’s legion of talented artists out in force: poets, painters, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, actors, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, and designers. These people, of varied ages and background, are reimagining our vision of downtown by changing what-ifs into what-is. It takes energy, drive and untold buckets of elbow grease to realize a visionary concept that can shift the outlook of an urbanscape. The Block Party offered a tantalizing glimpse of what happens when creative ideas are given legs. Many thanks to those who came out to show support!
In the 1890s, the Tacoma Hotel (located downtown near 9th St. and A St.) kept an 800-lb., pet bear named Jack, aka the Tacoma Bear. The exploits of this nationally renowned bruin, his untimely death – and the uneasy, provisional relationship of humans to nature – are the subject of Jack’s Epitaph, an installation by Lisa Kinoshita at the Woolworth Building.
In 1892, the Tacoma Hotel, designed by New York architect Stanford White, was the Northwest’s finest hotel; Jack lived in a pen between the rose garden and the neighboring firehouse. Raised by humans as a cub, he ate dainties such as “Olympian oysters, Spanish olives…and pommes Hollandaise.” Famously, he had a taste for beer and could hoist a mug like a man. Jack learned to unlatch his gate early in life and would roam the city’s streets untethered until a hotel steward was dispatched to retrieve him. He enjoyed a friendly and curiously non-eventful coexistence with the neighborhood for eight years – until one day he refused to return to his pen and was shot by a frightened policeman. A great public outcry followed.
Jack’s Epitaph is a visual poem about displacement and dislocation, about “shadow figures who survive in the periphery of our memory and our everyday lives,” says Kinoshita. The title of the work was taken from an 1892 poem eulogizing the bear in The Every Sunday Newspaper.
Kinoshita is the founder and owner of Mineral, a Tacoma jewelry studio and art gallery that “explores the intersection between art, design and fashion.” She is the 2010 recipient of the Foundation of Art Award, a $7,500 prize given by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. When she’s not at the bench she is a freelance writer specializing in art, culture and travel. Jack’s Epitaph, Woolworth Building, 11th & Broadway, through Sept. 24, 2010; www.lisakinoshita.com