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 Back  Vignettes | Washington | April – May, 2012

By Allyn Cantor

SOARING VOICES: RECENT CERAMICS BY WOMEN FROM JAPAN Western Gallery, Bellingham, Mar 27-May 12 The 25 artists in this survey represent three post-1950 generations of women who dared to work independently as studio ceramic artists, a field traditionally closed to women until the gradual transformation of the male-dominated Japanese society began after WWII. Once marginalized, they now receive national and international recognition for the conceptual and technical innovations elegantly brought to their ceramic interpretations of the natural world, Noh Theatre dance movement, and kimono patterns from the Edo period.

RACHEL DENNY: WORKS OF NATURE Foster/White Gallery, Seattle, Apr 5-28 Shaped by early rural experiences and her awareness of the way we have bent nature to suit our needs, Rachel Denny’s new sculptures of cruelty-free animal forms covered with reappropriated everyday items emit a sense of warmth and cozy delight. Fuzzy sweaters protect the skin of an animal, pennies form a suit of armour for a war horse, and a bear is decorated with discarded candy wrappers. The playful juxtaposition of form and material explores a poignant realm of modern life without being too challenging or discomforting.

VERONIQUE LE MERRE: THE LITTLE ENCHANTED WORLD OF FAIRY TALES Gallery 110, Seattle, May 3-26 Le Merre’s colourful, provocative new paintings illustrate the darker side of fairy tales and pose alternate or inverted scenarios to their familiar themes. There are clever satirical portrayals of Snow White as a servant, Hansel and Gretel gorging on sweets, and Little Red Riding Hood in an alluring short skirt. The playful yet cynical paintings are filled with undertones of sexual allusion and awakenings and over-indulgence in pleasurable activities – they imply a much more forthcoming meaning to classic tales.

COLORS OF THE OASIS: CENTRAL ASIAN IKATS Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, Mar 15-Aug 5 On loan from The Textile Museum in Washington, DC, this exhibit of over 40 stunning 19th-century woven robes from the oasis cities of Central Asia is showcased with a selection of photographs and two videos by Kazakhstani director, Almagul Menlibayeva to give a sense of the pre-Soviet cultural setting. The optical results of the complicated labour-intensive technique are bold, richly coloured and embellished ikats, beautifully detailed with traditional and regional motifs.

EIRIK JOHNSON: CAMPS & CABINS G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, Apr 19-May 26 Seattle photographer Eirik Johnson’s new exhibition documents makeshift architecture that has been purpose built for use during hunting and gathering seasons. Subdued monochromatic-like images taken in the Arctic, when the sun was hovering at mid-horizon, show vacant structures built of scrap materials by the Iñupiat hunters of Barrow, Alaska and are presented along with a quiet visual story of regional wild mushroom gathers and their nomadic subculture of improvised forest encampments. Johnson’s work continues to speak thoughtfully about the myriad of changes that affect pristine landscapes.

Recent Ceramics
Recent Ceramics

Rachel Denny
Rachel Denny

Veronique Le Merre
Veronique Le Merre

Central Asian Ikats
Central Asian Ikats

Eirik Johnson
Eirik Johnson

 Fri, Apr 6, 2012