Just up at Traver Gallery is a duo of exhibitions by three artists, each exploring ancient materials with fresh ideas and graceful skill.
Jiro Yonezawa weaves bamboo into highly textured towers, curves and twists, his minimalist elegance echoing a very Japanese version of natural beauty. The Japan native, who has recently returned home after years spent in Portland, plays with air and space in his weaving. Five “Ladybugs,” lacquered red and black to a tableware sheen, are vessels with as much space as surface, hiding within a delicate copper tube for blossom sprigs. Also vases (though they look much better without flowers) are the tall “Trees” arranged on the walls – tightly woven with long strips and lacquered yellow or red like pagoda pillars.
Even more tightly woven are Yonezawa’s curves and twists – his “Chat” series arch alertly like tan snakeskin out of their oval bases, while “Roots” curve horizontally into forked tongues.
Around Traver’s walls are pieces by a team of siblings from Murano, Venice’s fabled glass island. Laura and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana have just spent three weeks making work in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop, and their styles are unique takes on both modern and ancient glassmaking. In “Untitled” near the gallery doorway, Alessandro sits antique mirrored Venetian glass, gold-leafed and gray lacquered glass tiles into a vertical frame, the kind of sliding puzzle Mark Rothko would have appreciated (and hung rather interestingly off-center.) Laura, meanwhile, creates fashion-plate-thin vases with delicate inserts – gold and silver leaf, crumpled metal – that end up looking like an ancient text entombed in a cloud.
Traver Gallery is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday; the current show is up through Nov. 7. 1821 E Dock St. #100, Tacoma. 253-383-3685, www.travergallery.com