Visit Shift Gallery at Booth D25
at the Seattle Art Fair: August 2-5, 2018
Painter and printmaker Eric Day Chamberlain often concentrates his idiosyncratic mark making on the off-kilter perspectives of table-top still lifes. His assemblages of pitchers, bowls and platters set upon skewed planes typically convey a sense of domesticity and the dinner table that is offset by the tension he creates with expressive lines, shapes, strokes and colors. Most of Chamberlain’s arrangements are intentionally imagined so that he may select and highlight the unique shapes or qualities of individual pieces. He also works from studio arrangements of bottles and jars to convey a more studied effect that references objects or architectural elements. As well, Chamberlain’s work sometimes veers into pure abstraction.
Chamberlain credits Shift with having given him the freedom to show a wide variety of his work—from etchings and monotypes to oil paintings both large and small in each of his exhibits so that the viewer is able to survey the progression of his work. Chamberlain’s tabletops easily call to mind the iconic work of Georgio Morandi. But more exactly, his influences are wide-ranging, from abstract expressionism to British painters such as Ben Nicholson and William Scott. He also credits the example of his uncle Larry Schmidt, himself an abstract painter.
Dawn Endean’s affective series of dog portrait prints, created from related intaglio and monotype plates, continues her emphasis on drawing and pushing the boundaries of technique in her printmaking practice. Her dog prints began with her visual impulse to explore images of domestic dogs that reveal their inherent vulnerability and reliance on humankind. “Dogs are stuck with us for life,” she says, “and they mostly accept it with grace.” For the last several months Endean developed her themes through multiple drawings to test her true interest in the subject. The resulting works place her dogs in unusual perspectives and encased in striking inclusions of expressive line work and painting flourishes that intensify each print’s uniqueness.
Endean credits her association with talented Shift artists in spurring the ongoing inspiration that helps her to meet and exceed the high bar set with each subsequent Shift show, whether in the gallery or at other venues. Her passion for printmaking and discovery of new ideas is further developed through teaching aspiring artists at Pratt Fine Arts Center. Among the renowned artists who have also influenced her work are Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Richard Diebenkorn, Ellen Gallagher, Elizabeth Catlett and Barbara Earl Thomas.
Stephanie Hargrave’s deliberately spare encaustic series referencing meteors, shooting stars and the “jet wash” coming off very fast jumping bugs uses calm, celestial imagery to communicate clarity in a world of political chaos. Through the use of form, texture, limited color and natural materials, she counters the troubling, mixed-message climate of the Trump Administration by painting and sculpting in a straightforward way. “When yes turns to no overnight and confused wordplay dominates the day, I am content to present shapes and forms that act as reprieve,” she says. “They can be complex without being complicated. Hopefully they are restful.”
An established artist in the Seattle art scene and beyond for a number of years, Hargrave enjoys the creative freedom that her association with Shift artists allows. The art she shows there “is of my choosing, which for me is the whole point of making.” Her artistic influences are many, including Lee Bontecou, Eva Hesse, Louise Borgeois, Cy Twombly, Gabriel Orozco, the Quay brothers (film), Ruth Asawa, Ryuichi Sakamoto (music) and Jasper Johns. Recently, Hargrave has noticed the influence of Hesse and Borgeois in her work as she limits her palette, puts more emphasis on materials and embraces negative space.
As much a traveler as an artist, Cynthia Hibbard is in constant motion. These sights and sounds seep into her work and she is often freshly influenced by foreign cultures. This, paired with the collective consciousness of being a Shift member, with its freedom and no-rules blank space, allows her to experiment. Shift for her is “like an aesthetic generator that never turns off” – a sentiment that is easily be applied to her. Driven by process and the ability to switch mediums, she likes to say “I am jealous of whatever form of art making I’m not doing at the moment. After each show I wait for the winds of an idea to catch me and send me sailing along a path that I’m not aware of yet.”
For the Art Fair, Hibbard has created abstracts influenced by a recent trip to Japan. She chose oil stick/oil paint on board for smaller works, and mark-making with sumi ink and calligraphic touches on canvass to create larger vertical abstracts (in Tokyo she was struck by, not surprisingly, the museum’s monumental sumi paintings). Seeing art everywhere lends itself to seeing art anywhere, and an accidental iPhone photo on a bumpy, rainy bus ride became the springboard for the abstract oils that magically ended up reflecting the palette of Japanese koi ponds.
Karen Klee-Atlin’s series of “Blazed Trees” linoleum-cut prints examines an aspect of the natural world and also remarks upon the impact of human intrusion into previously unfettered and leafy spaces. The distinctive “blazes” that mark the trees she depicts may indicate a pathway or, conversely, they may express that someone has chosen these particular trees to be culled from the forest.
As a mature printmaker who in recent years has concentrated on woodcut and linocut techniques, Klee-Atlin has often relied on both the beauty and vulnerability of nature in today’s crowded world as source material. Many of her ideas that have developed into exhibits—from the complex patterning of deep woods to the simple glare of a campfire—have sprung from her annual visits to a family cabin in Canada.
Klee-Atlin has valued both the public platform that Shift provides and the camaraderie and encouragement she’s received from the Shift artists as she pushes the boundaries of printmaking to explore and develop new techniques in her signature bold coloration. The combination of space and community has provided her an invaluable structure from which she’s able to effectively weigh, consider and reflect upon the work she chooses to present.
Anna Macrae’s paintings are often generated by a simple notion or a material she wants to explore. She does not attempt to understand what she does but is beginning to better understand her process and what interests her. The new series made especially for the Seattle Art Fair pulls together many of the characteristics from her previous work and solidifies the core intent of what she is trying to convey. As a process artist, she does not have a clear vision of how she wants the finished piece to look. As she says, she starts by basically “messing up” the surface with a combination of embedded non-precious raw materials and random lines. Next, she surrenders to the rule of chance, trusting that the magic will happen as she responds to the materials, textures and marks. “I feel my work has representations of abstracted urban and rural landscapes.”
Being a Shift member has given Macrae valued presence in the Seattle art scene and has been a great source of networking and opportunities. “It has become my art home. My art practice has benefited, as I have had the freedom to experiment with showing new work in an intimate and nonjudgmental setting.”
In series of what she calls “mono paintings”—brightly colored monoprints combined with dry point line work, Colleen Maloney addresses commonplace settings in uncommon ways. Her aim is to capture both the atmosphere and imprint of local landmarks and domestic scenes. Thus she interprets Seattle’s famous bubblegum wall near Pike Place Market in a more compelling and attractive way than the original, and she casts both Safeco Field and the Museum of History and Industry in slightly haunting and unusual lights. As well, she renders images of flower arrangements with a force of personality that calls to mind her graphic arts background.
Maloney appreciates how a looming deadline for each of her Shift shows can stimulate her work ethic and help her create striking groupings of show pieces that balance continuity with variety.
Because Maloney’s art straddles the line between painting and printmaking, her art influences do as well. A fan of the painter Pierre Bonnard since college, Maloney also looks to David Hockney, Alex Katz and Richard Diebenkorn to impact her thinking on color and composition. She says her current heroine is Australian painter and printmaker Elizabeth Cummings, who at 84 is still producing vibrant work.
David Traylor’s complex, intricately detailed and often metallically glazed abstract ceramic sculptures fulfill his predilection for “making things that have not been seen before.” Appearing almost vessel-like in shape yet multi-sided and approaching monumental in size—they range from 18- to 24-inches high—the pieces carry no apparent back-story and are intended to invite viewers to construct their own explanatory narratives, while circling them for changing perspectives and meanings.
Traylor continually strives for ambiguity, in both his sculpture and his multi-dimensional paintings (arguably sculptures as well). He produces creations that seem vaguely familiar but are undeniably unique. They cannot be taken in all at once and they retain an air of mystery. “Is it machine-made or is it made by hand?” he asks. “Is it a joke? Does it have violent intent?” Traylor also employs the repetition of simple, small elements to intensify the patterning in his work.
Traylor has considered Shift to be an ideal “cultural incubator” wherein he is able to test out new ideas with the full support of his fellow artist members. He also appreciates that the varying expertise of other gallery member inspires him to keep pushing the boundaries of his ceramic terrain.
Craig van den Bosch has been influenced by our ever-evolving technology, our biology, and where they intersect. He works in a multi-media pluralist mode and tends to be influenced by artists that cross many disciplines. He is drawn to both hand work and the digitally produced. As he states, he is currently “fascinated with the possibility of all that we have happened somewhere else in time and space within our known/ unknown universe. What would happen if those two worlds were to collide? What could we learn from that interaction.”
With the works he is showing at the 2018 Seattle Art Fair, his goal was to marry two of his styles together; total abstraction where the meaning is not particularly obvious, and works that are visual narrative heavy, in hopes of addressing the human condition in a timeless way and enabling viewers to experience them on multiple levels.
Being a Shift member gives van den Bosch the freedom and flexibility to pursue creative avenues with integrity and independence. It also allows him to take chances. His work reflects a bold freedom of expression and a fascination with the technological side of life, especially as it relates to people, their culture, and their biology.
Painter Robin Walker Arnitz recently tasked herself with doing a small self-portrait every day for thirty days, the result of which comprises the small works she is showing this year at The Seattle Art Fair. Greatly inspired by expressive painters such as Guston and Goya, she believes wholeheartedly in the ability to convey emotion through this highly expressive type of mark-making. She strives to show the figure in beautiful and fascinating ways – but also sometimes in disturbing ways too. She has recently been paying more attention to how Schiele and Tanguy have handled the figure.
At a residency a year ago, she was encouraged to experience creation through a variety of forms including dance. At the time it didn’t seem to pertain to what she was doing. Now, however, she is more closely studying the body’s movement and how to capture expression through different poses. Combining that with expressive painting, for her, helps create emotion that resonates with the viewer. She wanted to see if there was a change in emotion, biology, movement, or artistic growth through this process. As she says, “emoting – the way cheery instrumental music may uplift the listener – is more important than communicating a specific message.”
As a creator, Jodi Waltier is first and foremost interested in freedom – the complete liberation from any restraints. For the 2018 Seattle Art Fair, she is including three different working styles in celebration of unfettered freedom. These three styles, in terms of process, were huge steps forward into new territory at the moment of their conception. Her large canvases show giddy color play and broody preponderance of doubt. Her mounted vat-dyed indigo/iron oxide mantles are meant to transport you on an astral travel trek while viewing them – the idea is for the viewer to get lost in them.
Greatly influenced by the craftspeople of the world – those creating utilitarian objects with whatever available resources they had at hand – she found herself steered towards textile research, fiber arts, travel, arts education, crafts schools, and her career as an educator. Exposure to art, for her, is like breathing. As she says, “every artist whose work I have viewed, touched, heard, tasted or smelt has influenced me. The scale of my works is increasing and I have cravings to wrap oversize industrial objects as part the next indigo series.” She is also looking to do a residency at one of our countries beloved craft schools, combining printmaking and vat dyeing. Waltier is someone to watch this year, and in the coming years, with her every evolving work in collage, textiles, photography, painting and printmaking.
Mixed-media artist Carmi Weingrod’s new work expresses her continued fascination with crude metal scraps retrieved from a welding classroom waste bin. Beginning by hand-embossing each selected form on paper, often repetitively, she further reinvented their patterns and shapes with layers of acrylic ink, watercolor and graphite to convey both the simplicity of the shapes and the complexity of distressed metal. “I let the metal shapes dictate the pattern and flow,” she said, “surrendering intention to the mesmerizing effect of repetition.”
Weingrod’s art typically centers around large, abstract works on both paper and fabric. She also constructs installations that recast places and objects marked by time into contemporary statements. To create the patterns, shapes and textures that characterize her work she translates visual material from observation, sketching and photographing places and things outside her studio.
Citing a wide range of art influences, Weingrod singles out Eva Hesse and Mira Schendel for their creativity and adventurous spirit. “Ironically, they were both refuges who expressed tremendous capacity for exploring and mastering innovative material and techniques while adjusting to life in unfamiliar countries,” she said. In their same resourceful spirit, Weingrod, has reinterpreted simple and industrial source material into unique and compelling art.