Bellevue Arts Museum’s holding its very first Biennial, and three local artists are included. Nicholas Nyland (Lakewood), Yuki Nakamura (Tacoma) and Tip Toland (Vaughn) are three of over 30 artists selected for the 2010 Biennial, titled “Clay Throwdown!” and focusing on ceramic works. The show opens Friday and runs through January 16, 2011.
Nyland, Nakamura and Toland are in good company. Among the artists participating from Oregon, Washington, Montana, British Columbia are Seattle’s Patti Warashina and Neddy winner Charles Krafft. Tacomans will be familiar with two of these local artists’ works: Nyland has had drawings in recent TAM biennials, and his clay work (like “Sumo” above) was recently in solo shows at Mineral and the Telephone Room.
Nakamura’s hanging ceramic soccer balls, created to honor her late soccer-loving brother, are also TAM veterans. Toland hasn’t shown here recently, but her life-size, slightly spooky human figures took up a BAM gallery in a solo show in 2008.
The BAM Biennial, housed in the Northwest’s leading craft museum, provides “a panoramic survey of ceramic art created in the Pacific Northwest and a glimpse into the many ways in which this dynamic medium is moving,” according to the press release.
Says curator Stefano Catalani, BAM’s director of curatorial affairs/artistic director: “This year’s “BAM Biennial” reflects the diverse responses of today’s regional artists to one of the oldest media known to man: clay.”
The Biennal is a new, juried exhibition that will occur every two years starting in 2010, and focusing on contemporary artists and craftspeople in the Pacific Northwest. Each edition will have a specific medium, technique, process or theme in art, craft and design. The exhibition is accompanied by two awards: the John and Joyce Price Award of Excellence (a $5,000 cash prize plus the opportunity of a future solo exhibition at BAM,) as well as the Samuel and Patricia Smith People’s Choice Award (a $5,000 cash prize. This year’s panel of four jurors included Catalani, Seattle collector Bif Brigman, Seattle ceramic artist Akio Takamori and Namita Wiggers, curator of the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland.
The BAM Biennial opens with the Finally Friday! event with music, 5-9 p.m. August 27. Other events include Get Crafty Saturdays! Clay Expression, 1-3 p.m. August 28 and September 11, $2 materials fee or free with admission; a clay sculpting demonstration with Jeanne Ferraro, 1-3 p.m. September 18, free; Breakfast with BAM, 10-11:30 a.m. September 21, free with admission. Museum hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Admission: $10/$7/free for under-6 and first Fridays. BAM is located at 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, across from Bellevue Square mall. 425-519-0770, www.bellevuearts.org