When the temperature starts to dip, I know it's appealing to simply clock off work, change into your comfy pants, and binge White Lotus from your plush, warm couch. However, I'm calling on all you readers to RESIST that urge and head out to Pioneer Square for their First Thursday Art Walk tonight. Though the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are seen as nothing more than filler to some, Seattle artists are still grinding and putting up some excellent shows this month. The least you could do is put on your wool socks and spend half an hour admiring their work.
Today is the last day to catch Kelsey Fernkopf's playful neon show, BIG NEON Playground over at 4Culture Gallery. You might recognize Fernkopf's site-specific neon works from around town—last year he took over Method's funky basement gallery, this summer he showed work at XO Seattle, and last month he installed several works outside Pilchuck School of Glass' campus in Stanwood. BIG NEON Playground finds Fernkopf in a fantastical world of his own making, threading the theme of childhood fantasies together with glowing glass works. I've always believed that the Pacific Northwest is the perfect backdrop for neon art; our gray, overcast skies make bright colors pop.
Around the block from 4Culture is one of my favorite Art Walk stops: Method Gallery. You can always count on encountering something strange and fun in the space, which invites artists to create site-specific works that play with their sidewalk-level window. For their current show, Surface, artists Lalitha Bandaru, Lindsey Champlin, and Henry Cowdery created a hot magenta immersive sculpture in the shape of a frozen undulating wave. Visitors are invited to walk, crouch, or crawl underneath the piece and stick their heads through a hole in the center. From both outside and inside, the pink sculpture seems to glow: go and treat yourself to the warmth of color.
Next door at SOIL, the art collective/gallery's new group exhibition, Living Room, features artistic odes to the chair—perfect for this holiday season where we find ourselves huddled into communal spaces with loved ones. Anne Marie Wald, Sophia Anderson, and Connie Fu/Enereph have all put their spin on the household object: Wald composed spectral chairs of matches and wire, Anderson painted cozy watercolors of cozy armchairs and plastic picnic chairs, and Fu/Enereph took haunting digital images of psychedelic spaces.
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And in SOIL's backspace, Kiki MacInnis will be showing OUTWASH—material carried away from a glacier by meltwater. The exhibition considers the natural history of the area we now call Seattle, which was carved by a massive glacier and eventually covered by 3,000 feet of thick-ass ice. MacInniss used local glacial clay to make cups and composed watery, sweeping paintings to communicate the formation of the isthmus we now reside on. It's a beautiful and deeply considered show.
As always, Greg Kucera Gallery provides a museum-level experience for the gallery goer. This time, they'll have an opening reception for Michael Dailey's Works on Paper as well as a suite of prints from one of the biggest names in abstract expressionism, Robert Motherwell. And at J. Rinehart Gallery, Kate Protage is presenting Home and Away, a collection of new paintings that depict transient portraits of cityscapes. Her compositions are a little blurry, like you're just waking up from a dream and taking in the sunset over SODO, or the city lights are bouncing off the windows of downtown.
If you're looking to get into trouble after Art Walk ends at 9 pm (insultingly early), head over to First Hill's the Hideout, if weather conditions allow. They're not technically in Pioneer Square, but in the spirit of art and walking, they've decided to host an afterparty/art opening for the rehanging of their salon-style walls. Curated by FoodArt Collection's Jeremy Buben, the Hideout has 84 paintings from 74 Seattle artists on their walls so it's now easier than ever to get wasted and buy a painting like I presume they did in 17th-century France. Buben also put together an art catalog called ART LIST Vol. 2, which features all the works on display. DJ Stankyleg will be on deck with music—see you there.
Pioneer Square First Thursday Art Walk kicks off at 5 pm and runs until 9 pm. The Hideout's opening shindig starts at 9 pm and goes 'til midnight.