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Free Arts Month: Patterns, prints and paint at Kittredge

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on Jan. 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm with No Comments »
January 19, 2011 9:10 pm
Work by Karla Hackenmiller at Kittredge Gallery. Courtesy photo.

Kittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound is a great place to see free art when the commercial galleries are closed. It’s co-curated by Tacoma Art Museum and the university, and as such sports a mixture of student, staff and prominent Northwest artist shows. Just up is “Marked/Patterned Remarks,” a big show with bold paintwork and a small show with intricate detail.

From the moment you walk in the big gallery Michelle Grabner’s paint circles demand your attention. Four in a row, with a fifth to the side, they’re large, dark moons dotted with spirals of myriad gray stars over black canvas. The endless constellations are hypnotizing, like an elaborate optical illusion, but the shape is a bit disconcerting, rather like a science exhibit.

Margie Livingston’s paint, though, climbs out of the wall like it’s always lived there. This year’s Neddy Award-winner, Livingston is subversive with paint. Her “82 Angles,” painted directly onto the wall, unfolds like a complicated skeleton, the thick smears of yellow, cream and ochre emerging from the wall as if they grew there. Her “Study for Wafer Board” and “Study for Spiral Block #4” play with surface too: thin stripes of paint becoming their own geometric planes. Best of the lot is her “Painting folded into a square on a metal stand,” which is exactly as the title says – a folded canvas, painted to the hilt with bright acrylics. It’s tantalizingly gruesome, as the art does exactly what it’s not ever supposed to do.

Susan Dory is the third artist in the big gallery, her acrylics bold and flat like translucent glass color fields, dancing exuberantly.

In the small gallery, it’s detail rather than dynamic. Ten print artists offer their take on visual patterns; the result is enigmatic and intricate. There’s the oozing screenprinted suitcases by Adriane Herman, some minimalistic Ikea-style rain from  Jessica Spring, a silvery dot matrix by Yoshihiro Kitai, immaculate flower bubbles hand-punched by Janet Marcavage, and a gorgeously insinuating intaglio of convulsing etched body shapes by Karla Hackenmiller.

“Marked/Patterned Remarks” is up through Feb. 26, open 10a.m.­5p.m. Monday­Friday and noon­5p.m. Saturday with an artist reception 5-7 pm. Jan. 25. Kittredge Gallery, University of Puget Sound, Kittredge Hall, 1500 N. Lawrence St., Tacoma. 253-879-3701, www.pugetsound.edu/kittredge

Keep following me through my Free Arts Month, where  I get an arts experience every day for free in Tacoma…

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