There are three cool pieces of art by Museum of Glass architect Wyn Bielaska in the windows of 1250 Pacific Ave., but it’s hard to tell unless you put your nose up to it. The three images are from a series of photographs of Northwest ship hulls that Bielaska shot while he was designing the Museum of Glass, and they were recently put up as a permanent installation in the street windows of the Attorney General’s offices.
The works are nearly window-size – seven feet wide and over 10 feet high – and are high-density slide shots printed onto vinyl and stretched onto canvas. Cropped and detailed, they’re nevertheless recognizable as ship hulls, towering and architectural in their own way.
Trouble is, they’re hard to see properly in that setting. The leftmost is the most easily viewable: “Beware of Bulbs,” a crashing wave of indigo shot through with tangerine bubbles and with the title’s text printed on the side of the hull. In the center is “Parrot,” a stunning turquoise-gold which unfortunately is almost completely obscured by the pillar outside. “Noguchi Shadow,” on the right, has a WWII flavor, the grainy ochre shot through with ominous shadows over the ship’s depth marker. This, too, is hard to make out, due to the window’s reflection of the Wells Fargo Plaza building across the road.
According to Bielaska, the pieces will get lights on them in the next week or so, which will no doubt help matters, and look good as the evenings get darker.
Bielaska, who in addition to his architectural work (including the Tacoma Convention Center) has shown at Traver Gallery, says he began shooting when he realized that the ships he saw at work in Vancouver also made stops in Seattle and Tacoma. “I shot the photographs of ships as a personal exploration of material decomposition from an artistic point of view…(but) related to architecture.”
Bielaska’s “Ship Hulls” photographs can be seen from the street in the Pacific Plaza building, 1250 Pacific Ave., Tacoma.