Sherry’s use of traditional Chinese Xuan (rice) paper, though fragile, is surprisingly versatile. She continuously experiments with different methods – resulting in striking but subtle luminescent outcomes. Unlike Chinese painting with brush and ink, where the artwork is mounted afterwards, Sherry reverses the process by manipulating the material, creating shapes and colors based on the paper’s natural grain and texture while adding mixed media elements along the way. She calls it Zì-Rán 自然, In Chinese this means nature, or the flow of things, ensuring her subject matter will be fluid and unique each time.
Mousa created these portraits during self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While reflecting on both the lost lives of vulnerable populations who were victims of failed public health policies and systemic racism. Over the years, Mousa has developed an artistic vocabulary of symbols, colors, cultural references, and gestural mark-making to reflect upon politics, world events, societal mores, culture, and beauty. He mines his personal story to produce commentary about the world. For this series, Mousa was drawn to illustrate segments of the affected peoples to connect the viewer to their struggles and record the historical changes occurring across the US and throughout the world.
In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive. – David Bayles, Art & Fear,1993
Accepting oneself is often easier to read in self-help books than to live. Having read Art & Fear, Yvonne Kunz’s role as an artist and an educator has her grappling with questions of what it means to accept oneself and others: to be American, a woman, and a person in this modern age. Ever surrounded by children as a mother and a teacher, she finds herself wondering, “When adults are struggling themselves how to communicate and self regulate, how do we teach children to do so?” The drawings of this exhibit arrive out of Yvonne’s weekly practice of figure drawing, part of her path towards self acceptance as an artist. This body of work pairs the figure with phrases from the socio-emotional curriculum taught in elementary schools: Use self-talk, Play together, and Bystander Power, to name a few. The phrases hint at interpersonal challenges we face as members of a community and offers solutions with how to deal with the challenges. The juxtaposition of the two offers a glimpse of personality to the anonymity of the figure while offering word play between image and phrase.The result is a physical exhibit of vulnerability and acceptance.
International artist and poet Rajaa Gharbi’s acrylic, olive-pits and semi-precious stones paintings on canvas and paper, at times like short stories, songs or riddles, recall the proverbial “what’s cooking?”. Playing with personal background-specific symbols and universal ones, Gharbi explores the possibility of a futuristic vision of a much needed respite for human and other natural phenomena.
Rajaa Gharbi, “On a Ride to Where…” (detail), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 35 inches
In 1920, Marcel Duchamp, largely considered the father of conceptual art, collaborated with Man Ray in the creation of a female alter-ego for Duchamp: Rrose Sélavy. The artists intended the name as a pun on the French pronunciation “Eros, C’est la Vie” which translate to “Love [or Sex], It is Life.”. As with all things, Duchamp aimed to break barriers, test cultural boundaries and re-think, if not fully deconstruct, how we view art, the world and ourselves.
Exactly one century later, I find myself in a time and place where no one would think twice were they to see Rrose Sélavy walk down the street. Who hasn’t seen a cis man wearing (and pulling off) a gorgeous dress on Capitol Hill in this city? Certainly, we still have miles to go before the queer community can begin to envision equality as a reality. This is, of course, especially true for trans people and queer people of color. But still, it is something vital and beautiful to celebrate Pride month as part of the LGBTQ+ community and to reflect on the progress that has been made.
As we have seen time and time again, progress necessarily follows representation. Queer visibility in the arts means everything, which is why an exhibition celebrating queer artwork and artists seems particularly appropriate—to reflect on our history as well as find hope for the future.
To continue supporting our community, Gallery 110 will be donating proceeds from sales from the exhibition to Gay City, a non-profit that provides invaluable resources and health services to Seattle’s LGBTQ+ population. Perhaps now, more than ever, it is critical that we support artists and organizations like Gay City. It is my hope that Eros, C’est la Vie will do both.
Paper Mill features unframed works on paper from over 20 artists from Seattle and beyond. Originally conceived of as a physical exhibition, Paper Mill was intended to feel like a living exhibition, with artworks rotating in and out of view throughout the month to create a dynamic viewing experience for our patrons and ensure that no two visits to the space throughout the month would be quite the same.
As the reality of cancellation/closure became more imminent, I instead opted to turn it into an online exhibition and host the works on our website throughout the month. Works from the exhibition will appear on this page beginning May 7 (our own small nod to First Thursday), and works will rotate in and out of the online exhibition at the beginning of each week until May 30th.
We are all too aware how COVID-19 threatens the existence of arts organizations and the careers of professional artists now and in months and years to come from the economic fallout. Supporting artists is more important now than ever, which is why I felt it necessary to continue to host Paper Mill in this alternative format. Gallery 110 is committed to the safety of our patrons and artists. Please join us in supporting the arts in these strange, strange times.
First Thursday: March 5, 5 – 8pm *please be advised the gallery will open at 2pm on March 5th, please contact email@example.com for an earlier appointment*
Artist’s Reception: Friday, March 6, 5 – 7pm
‘Island Paintings’ are new landscapes of the British Columbia and Washington coasts.
There is something intensely evocative about islands: each its own world, distinct yet familiar. Traveling the waters between them by ferry or small boat, one thrums with anticipation of a new land to explore, and the new loves and adventures one may experience.
Work on these island paintings began over a decade ago, but I can trace their true origin back to 1975, voyaging alone for the first time, free camping on ridges overlooking the Aegean and its many islands, experiencing the joy and wonder of each dawn. Over the decades, with backpack and by bicycle, I explored most of the Greek islands, painting as I went. I am now working my way around the isles of British Columbia — and Washington State.
My mother’s mother came from the Greek island of Naxos. I have “island” in my DNA.