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 Back  Vignettes | Washington | April-May 2011

By Allyn Cantor

DEGENERATE ART ENSEMBLE Frye Art Museum, Seattle, through June 19 The internationally recognized Seattle-based Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE) embarks on its most ambitious interdisciplinary event to date in their first museum project/art exhibition. Combining elements of music, dance, narrative, costume, sculpture, props and video projections, the all-sensory inventions of DAE are filled with fantastic scenes. Exhibit-related events include four site-specific performances of DAE's latest work, Red Shoes, based on the horrific classic tale of a girl who, when wearing the red shoes, cannot stop dancing.

WANXIN ZHANG: A TEN YEAR SURVEY Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, through August 9 Wanxin Zhang’s massive ceramic figures are inspired by the soldiers of the Qin Terracotta Army – guards of the tomb of the First Emperor of China unearthed in Xi’an in 1974. His compelling and witty large scale figurative sculptures reference the ancient culture of his native China but are blended with certain distinctly Western attributes. His work draws on the self-portraits of Robert Arneson, originator of the 1960s California Clay Funk Revolution, and Peter Voulkos, in whose foundry Zhang worked.

CATHERINE COOK: OBJECT LESSONS Lisa Harris Gallery, Seattle, April 7-May 1 In her sense-stimulating oil paintings, Catherine Cook uses colour, mood and repetition in subtly sculpted surfaces and layered washes. Although the images are distilled from photographs, the act of painting itself determines the final outcome of each piece. Many of Cook’s works seem to reference the landscape, which is not necessarily the intention of the artist. Cook’s formalist attitude leaves the interpretation of each piece up to the viewers.

CAMERON ANNE MASON: SOFT EARTH Foster/White Gallery, Seattle, April 7-30 Shape and surface are primary elements in the organic sculptures of Cameron Anne Mason. Building on the culture of our agrarian past, Mason creates elegant pod-like forms which are hand-sewn from uniquely dyed, printed and embroidered fabric. In her first solo show at Foster/White, Mason is exhibiting two bodies of work: the Blade series, which serves as a metaphor for human interaction with the natural world, and the Cotyledons series, which examines growth, fertility and seeds as essential building blocks of culture.

THREE PHOTOGRAPHERS: MARSHA BURNS, ELLEN GARVENS, KATHY VARGAS Prographica/Fine Works on Paper, Seattle, April 2-May 14 Three artists with different stylistic approaches create complementary works of high order and formal excellence. Using images of her own hands and feet as well as domestic objects, Ellen Garvens's Castings series are eerie documentaries of the process of creating prosthetics. Hand-coloured, multiple-exposure photographs from Kathy Vargas depict objects of innocence in a mysterious light, continuing her interest in family and cultural memory. Marsha Burns, a Seattle veteran, presents silver gelatin prints and new unique archival digital prints.

Degenerate Art Ensemble
Degenerate Art Ensemble

Wanxin Zhang
Wanxin Zhang

Catherine Cook
Catherine Cook

Cameron Anne Mason
Cameron Anne Mason

Kathy Vargas
Kathy Vargas

 Tue, Apr 5, 2011