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The There   December 3 to December 31, 2009

A group show of work by gallery artists Jesse Burke, Adam Ekberg, Joy Garnett, Stephen Hilyard, Patte Loper, Melissa Pokorny, William Powhida, Adam Satushek, and Matt Sellars. Focusing on contemporary artists' views of landscape, this exhibition features individual works of art chosen in order to bring the outside indoors. Unpeopled photographs by Burke, Satushek, Hilyard, and Ekberg come into dialog with haunting drawings and paintings of imagined landscapes, both physical and mental, by Loper, Garnett, and Powhida. Sculptures by Sellars and Pokorny investigate our often mediated relationship with the land. Coinciding with one of the wettest and darkest months of the year, this exhibit invites the viewer to come inside to look out at the there.

Ross Sawyers Contained Within October 15 to November 28, 2009

REVIEW artdish (November 23, 2009—not available online)

Ross Sawyers’ photographs hold our interest through a very subtle touch and the strange invention of his stages. With the exception of a few billowing plastic curtains, nothing much happens in these environments. The intensity and quality of the raking light take hold and pull us into a world where nothing seems right. Each space appears solid, but its edges are too sharp and thin. There is little distance between inside and outside, locating a nuanced threat just beyond these rooms. These spaces recall unfinished housing developments and luxury condo projects abandoned by unscrupulous investors, ready to fall down at any moment.”   —Andrew Kozlowski, Art Papers, September/October 2009

Ross Sawyers’ work has been included in various exhibits including in the 2006 CoCA Annual and the 9th Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum and in Feed 2009: A Juried Biennial at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, VA, in 2009. He holds an MFA from the University of Washington.

Scott Fife American Beauty  September 3 to October 10, 2009

REVIEW Fiber Arts (Summer, 2009 not available online)

The Gallery marked its Fifth Anniversary with the third solo exhibition of the work of Scott Fife titled American Beauty. Scott's work continues to explore definitions of history, self and celebrity but in increasingly more fragmentary and elemental ways. His sculptures of archival cardboard, glue, and drywall screws, are over-sized to reflect the importance, as well as our our inflated views, of culture's extra-ordinary subjects. In this show, Western North America's Tyrannosaurus Rex joins Mississippi's Elvis Presley, both kings in their own right, to dominate the exhibition space. Elvis, like a sullen Roman God of Rock, is matched by the fierce depiction of the King of the Dinosaurs.

Scott Fife has been exhibiting his sculptures and drawings since 1976 in galleries in Berlin, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver, BC, and in museums including the Frye Museum (Seattle, WA), Tacoma Art Museum (Tacoma Art Museum), the Boise Art Museum (Boise, ID), the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane, WA), the Weatherspoon Museum (Greensboro, NC), and the Museum of Northwest Art (La Conner, WA), The Missoula Art Museum (Missoula, MT), and the Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA).

Stephen Hilyard Rapture of the Deep    June 25 to July 31, 2009

Rapture of the Deep consists of eight large prints of digitally manipulated landscape images. The series deals with the glamour of risk as personified by eight famous British mountaineers from the 1970s and 80s, a golden age of high altitude mountaineering which made many of them national media figures. Growing up, these men were the Stephen Hilyard's heroes—and they all died in the mountains. Each piece in the series is named for one of them, along with the location of his death. 

The images in this series are of constructed landscapes, ideals that never existed, at least not precisely as they are presented. In the tradition of landscape painting the foreground of each image includes a single figure of a mountaineer complete with 1970s era costume and equipment. Over the course of the series the mountaineer descends ever deeper into what seems to be some kind of nether world of blue caves and canyons. These images were created from photographs made of underwater landscapes at Silfra, a unique location in Iceland. The fact that the original photographs were taken under water in some of the clearest and coldest water on earth creates subtly modulated lighting. All other clues to the origins of the images have been removed, for instance in most images the surface of the water above has been replaced with clouds photographed elsewhere in Iceland.

Stephen Hilyard was born and raised in Northern England. He studied architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art and received a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Humberside, Hull, UK. In the 1990s, Hilyard moved to the United States. He received a master’s of fine arts degree from the University of Southern California in 1997, and since then has been making conceptually driven works of art, including videos, installations, photographs, textile-based objects, and wood-carvings. He is an associate professor of Digital Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His works have been shown at The Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN; the SOO Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis. His work was included in the group exhibition, Dark States, at Platform in 2005 and his solo show at the gallery, King Wave, was in 2006.


Jesse Burke Low     May 14 to June 20, 2009

The majority of the work in the exhibition, titled Low, is a collection of portraits of men who are ordinarily overlooked or ignored. In the Lowertown district of Ottawa, Jesse Burke sought out individuals who are often considered down and out. In return for compensation, each man agreed to remove their garments and step into a glowing light to be photographed. Reminiscent of Caravaggio’s figures emerging from the darkness, some look out at our gaze, many look away. We see sunken chests, stooped shoulders, scars and tattoos. But we also see a dignity in these men’s eyes, especially those who return their gaze. “I wanted to show their vulnerability, but at the same time their beauty so I didn’t pose them; I let them pose themselves. Their body language really speaks for each of them. The way they hold themselves indicates how protective they are of their bodies,” Burke has said. The direct opposite of advertising’s perfect male physique, these men's spirits glow and they reveal their humanity, challenging us to consider our own.

Jaq Chartier Downtime    April 2 to May 9, 2009

In this show Jaq Chartier explored the realm of game boards and the grid-based computer graphics of "match-3" games, where she found common ground with her ongoing Testing series. 

Games are a universal from of enjoyment and a break from our daily concerns. Whether played alone or with friends, games give us pleasure in an activity for its own sake, allowing us to become fully absorbed in the present moment. Chartier finds a corresponding kind of play in her studio practice, which for her is about learning and interaction, recognizing underlying patterns, setting up and then testing rules, and following her curiosity about materials and process.

With an emphasis on intimately sized works, the show included a special collection of Tiny Tests, as well as a free custom set of jpeg "tiles" for a computer mahjongg game. Chartier also spent time in the gallery playing checkers and other board games with friends and gallery visitors for a little downtime of their own.

Cut: Contemporary Collage   February 19 to March 28, 2009

Cut was an exhibition of international artists who use found images from contemporary culture to create new and unsettling situations and forms. Ukrainian-born Danish citizen Sergei Sviatchenko references photomontage collage techniques of cutting and gluing, combining those fragments digitally to create his unique work reminicent of the 1920’s Russian avant garde. Heini Aho, a Finnish artist, creates video collages of inhabited landscapes made from hundreds of scanned magazine photos and postcards, cut and combined on her computer. Canadian Paul Butler, organizer of the traveling international experimental group studio called The Collage Party (last seen in Seattle at the Henry Art Gallery in 2007) shows work which combine pages from esoteric magazines while utilizing the negative spaces to reveal surprising layers beneath. New York’s Raven Schlossberg layers ink drawings, acrylic paint, torn newspapers and images cut from vintage fashion and lifestyle magazines to create large, dense visual accumulations of pop culture imagery. Her work was last exhibited in Seattle in Intercourse at Platform Gallery. Jennifer Williams, also of New York, is influenced by her city surroundings with its recurring haphazard forms of “stuff”—from household items to construction debris-that appear and disappear on the streets and in alleys. Her collages for this exhibition are made of individually-printed photographs, carefully cut and pasted to recreate those vibrant sculptural piles of detritus. 

Adam Ekberg Next to Nothing   January 8 to February 14, 2009

REVIEW Seattle P.I.

“Using large and medium format cameras, my images function as traces of my presence. The photographed interventions range form very simple gestures to elaborate stagings: what they have in common is an implied self portrait while I am absent from the frame. This residual presence is established through a host of different strategies—juxtaposing banality with the phenomenal this body of images explore the activation of environments through gesture and lens fallibility.

“Collectively the temporal quality of the images is intended to mirror the human condition. Even at the most staged the constructions sidestep conversations about agency favoring the sensation that the photograph evokes. These fleeting events exist for a moment while the photographic documentation of their existence gives them eternal life.”

Adam Ekberg received his MFA in Photography from the Art Institute of Chicago. His photographs are in the collections of The Museum of Contemporary Art and The Museum of Contemporary Photography, both in Chicago, IL. His work was last seen in Seattle as part of the group show, "a spectral glimpse," curated by Jim O'Donnell at Platform Gallery in 2007.