As we emerge from the pandemic into summer I have good news to report: Seattle Art Museum and SAM Gallery are close to fully reopening! I will be part of a group show in late summer with two other printmakers, Tallmadge Doyle and Jueun Shin. In conjunction with SAM’s Monet exhibit the theme will be water, which I am guessing you may welcome after what could be some very hot months ahead. As post-pandemic plans finalize it is best before visiting to call the gallery and shop (206.654.3120) to learn the latest updates on procedures. At this point access is available Wednesday-Sunday 10-5 without a museum ticket, although the museum website does not yet reflect this.
Water is also the theme of a piece selected for the exhibit Art in the Time of Corona, which features my piece “Ledger” on Artsy. The goal of this innovative project is to record and exhibit defining artwork created during civil uncertainty. The hope is to unite viewers and help them find the sanctity, comfort and inspiration needed to heal a world in turmoil.
Over the past six months I have been sorting ideas and directions and keeping my studio practice focused on process. Printmaking has been a throughline of all my work for decades, and as part of my year of media exploration I decided to take one more look at “old fashioned” printing with a press, using water-based Akua inks. With help from an associate in Seattle Print Arts I set up my Baby Richeson press, which has been sitting neglected in a dark corner for nearly 20 years. It was mesmerizing to combine the folded paper collage I started doing earlier this year with the press, and I often found myself printing until 1 or 2 in the morning, experimenting with drypoint, monoprint and various forms of chine collé. Very few of these pieces will ever see a public wall, but the interplay between developing ideas in drawing and watercolor and then moving to a the press will be useful for years to come.
During this time I also kept up my documentation of construction sites, of which, even in pandemic, there continue to be no shortage. Here is a drawing of the Safeway project, a pretty breathtaking take-down of a high-functioning grocery store, less than 25 years old, that anchored the Greenwood neighborhood for years. The plan, of course is to replace it with a luxury apartment complex. The working title of this new development is The Hemlock, no irony intended. Given that Greenwood is built on mud and duck marshes and every expansion of construction drains the water table, creating sinking homes and traffic circles that tilt three ways, this should get interesting.
The outright joy and absorption I experienced with printmaking brought me back full-circle to drawing and painting, fully engaged with hands and materials in real time. I continue to do my mixed media photographic prints (I just finished a commission for a residential project with the theme of Wabi Sabi (!) but I think most of my travels in the near future will be into paint, and the enduring practice of drawing as a part of that process.
Industrial landscape remains an obsession, regardless of medium. During pandemic I did not feel safe wandering the desolate zones of abandoned offramps and vacant lots I adore, but recently I have found a companion in crime. What better way to spend the Golden Hour than in the high desert of Harbor Island, crawling on the roof of a truck to photograph Ashgrove Cement? I have many promising photographs from our photo shoots, as well as a lifetime of inspiration for painting and prints. This piece, The Golden Hour, is a mixed media print combining painting and photography. On Memorial Day Weekend we had the entire island to ourselves, and as I peered through layers of chain link I was transfixed by the flag hanging above the river, unfurling like an anthem both to patriotism and a kind of feminine anarchy. The wind! the light! the air… so warm, so inviting and so completely unassociated with Nation State. Patriotism, perhaps, could be redefined.
As we head into a weekend of ferocious heat I will leave you with my most recent work, a pencil drawing of the marine structures, called “dolphins,” which guide the ferry boats to shore. Stay cool, and if you can’t be in the water, hold it in your mind’s eye.