For today I headed along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. It’s a pretty bleak street right now – lots of closed shopfronts – so thank goodness for the art. Tacoma Art Place (just along South 11th Street from MLK Way) usually has a featured artist in the lobby, although nothing’s there now until Feb. 10. Then there are the mural shopfronts, an artist-driven project between South 11th and 13th Streets that brightens the boarded-up windows.
And then there’s Fulcrum Gallery, which for several years now has been one of a handful of fine art galleries in town showing truly cutting edge stuff. Up right now is “Seasonal Affective,” a series of 2010 drawings by former Tacoman Sean Alexander. Known around town for co-running the short-lived Helm gallery and spearheading some excellent indie rock mini-festivals, Alexander does painstaking work with pen and ink, filling in line drawings and silhouettes with delicate, textural patterns.
I’m not going to review the show here, you can read all about it in the GO Arts column next Friday. But if you’ve ever been struck down with the kind of depressive despair that only a Northwest winter can induce, you’ll relate to Alexander’s work. Within a subtly surreal framework he etches out red, black and pale blue beauty along with a big helping of sadness – couples separated, cats too tired to draw their own bodies, weeping teapots.
If you need cheering up, head down MLK Jr. Way to South 23rd Street, where Jeremy Gregory’s mural transforms the side of a run-down shop into a magical landscape of blue sky, yellow daisies, floating grandparents and a cute little girl eye to eye with a giant, inquisitive slug.
Fulcrum Gallery is open noon-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, “Seasonal Affective” is up through March 12. 1308 MLK Jr. Way, Tacoma. 253-250-0520, www.fulcrumtacoma.com. Tacoma Art Place is open 1-8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 1-5:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. 1116 S. 11th St., Tacoma. 253-238-1006, tacomaartplace.org