Tacoma’s gallery scene is rapidly dwindling to one open only on third Thursdays; but there are two mini-galleries along Puyallup Avenue that are nevertheless visible from the street the rest of the time (and from inside too, if you make an appointment). Flow and 301 are just one door apart, and while this month’s offerings are quite different, they both offer serene sculpture in two very different media: sumi-e at Flow, and glass at 301.
At Flow, Selinda Sheridan pushes sumi-e to its three-dimensional limits and beyond. Always refined, ever inventive, her work is a delight to see: tiny cocoons and fragile vessels made of sculpted tea-bag paper mache, with one even hardened into mock-saltpan rocks as it dries over a shrinking balloon; sumi-e paintings folded into squares and slotted into a black shelf like a Zen library riddle. Swirly black-and-white sumi-e papers are rolled like surreal, skinny cigars or folded patiently into origami dodecahedrons.
On the walls Reni Moriarty layers black ink and blue watercolor on collage paper to tell stories of misty gardens full of irises or moonlit seashells, alone in an expanse of nothing.
Next door (almost) at Gallery 301, Tacoma glassblower Diane Hansen offers a kind of mini-retrospective in advance of the public art she’s been commissioned to create for the Sounder line A Street pedestrian underpass, just up the road from the gallery. Hansen manages to fuse modernist vessels with ultra-romantic Venuses and cupids with elegance: Her tall goblet vases have black edges but “skirts” of tropical leaves, all in saturated fruity hues. Older vases are blinged up with gold edges and pre-Raphaelite women silkscreened flowingly on the sides.
Hansen’s not yet sure what she’ll produce for the underpass art, but it’ll be something along these lines made in something shiny and durable like metal – she’s currently getting to know the neighborhood and what it represents. Look for art around October.
Flow Gallery and Studio is open 5-8 p.m. third Thursdays and by appointment at 301A Puyallup Ave., Tacoma. Free. 253-255-4675, tacomadomedistrict.com
Gallery 301 is open 5-8 p.m. third Thursdays and by appointment at 301 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma. Free. 253-222-0716