Erin Langner

March 25, 2014, 9:20pm

PDX Road Trip: New Work from Ellen Lesperance, Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Wes Mills

Driving to Portland from Seattle is such an easy thing to do, most of the time I find myself there on a whim, without any concrete plans, experiencing the city in a choose-your-own-adventure style, with one experience leading into the next. When I arrived in such circumstances again last week, I ended up happening upon a survey of some of the city’s stalwart artists.  While the PORTLAND2014 biennial organized by Disjecta in a selection of discreet art venues across the city helped ensure a steady selection of shows, straying off the biennial track at times also yielded the most resonant works, with exhibitions by seasoned Portland artists Ellen Lesperance (NAP #97), Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Wes Mills representing some of the most exciting pursuits at the moment and reinforcing these artists’ positions as some of the city’s strongest voices. – Erin Langner, Seattle contributor

Ellen Lesperance, Do you know that one day you lost your way, man?, installation view. Image courtesy of Upfor Gallery.

Listed under: Review

February 16, 2014, 6:44pm

The Quest of a Painterly World: Q and A with Cable Griffith

It is hard not to like Cable Griffith’s landscapes. They invite you into their fantastical scenes with a bright sense of familiarity that permeates the patterned, pixel-like worlds and is almost instantly recognizable from one of recent generations’ favorite past times—video games. Quest, the artist’s new show at G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, continues the digitally-inspired lands for which the artist has become known, but buried beneath the solid, white clouds and systematized, geometric trees, a more serious pursuit reveals itself.  As Exhibitions Curator at Cornish College of the Arts, Griffith has an abundance of experiences and networks that parallel the complexity of the landscapes he builds.   I caught up with the artist to uncover more about Quest and to talk about an exhibition of northwest painter Robert C. Jones’s work on view at the gallery he oversees at Cornish. — Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Cable Griffith | Terra Terma, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 18 inches, image courtesy of G. Gibson Gallery.

Listed under: Interview

January 12, 2014, 9:40pm

False Lanterns and Dark Entries: Robert Yoder at Platform Gallery

I was not familiar with the term “hobby lantern” prior to seeing Robert Yoder’s (NAP #85) new paintings.  It turns out to be a phenomenon of atmospheric, apparition-like lights that appear in boggy conditions, leading travelers astray from the safest path, also known as a will-o’-the-wisp. Appearing in titles of works featured in Dark Entries at Seattle’s Platform Gallery this month, the hobby lantern is a fitting keystone for paintings rich in both the thick, muddiness of their surfaces and the emotional sensibilities that flare beneath. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Robert Yoder |
TEENAGE DONNA (HOBBY LANTERN 1), 2013, oil and acrylic on cotton bandana. 18 x 17.5 inches. Image courtesy of Platform Gallery.

Listed under: Review

December 08, 2013, 10:17am

Taking the Long Way: Miles Cleveland Goodwin’s Paintings of Montebella Road

Miles Cleveland Goodwin paints images of a rustic, evasive place few might guess to be his home. Flocks of crows, a floating black ray, wiry snakeskins, lonely doves and other unsentimental creatures inhabit the dusty roads and muddy skies seen earlier this year in his series A Long Road Home, at Froelick Gallery, in Portland, OR and now continue in Montebella Road, at Greg Kucera Gallery, in Seattle, WA. Eschewing the signs of routine we expect to find in the place someone resides, Goodwin’s desolate scenes, referencing a road that he lives on in Mississippi, have the air of true remoteness—the kind that inspires countless questions among onlookers and outsiders, despite the underlying sense that they never will get any real answers.

Miles Cleveland Goodwin | Trapped, 2012, Oil on canvas, 24 X 36 inches. Image courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery.

Listed under: Review

November 11, 2013, 8:27pm

Best in Show: Painting Highlights from Seattle’s Affordable Art Fair

In Seattle, you may need something stronger than a Miami mojito to get through the shortest, darkest days of the year that surround our single, Affordable Art Fair, which inhabited the Seattle Center this past weekend. In a city where questions of whether enough people collect work by local artists to sustain the community and keep them from fleeing towards Los Angeles, Chicago and New York routinely float back into conversations, a fair that aims towards friendliness (pink knit graffiti shrouded the trees at the exhibition entrance) and transparency (all art had to be $10,000 or less, with the prices labeled) over exclusivity seems ripe with possibility.  Back for its second run in the city, and more robust in both scale and attendance, one highlight of last year remained consistent: despite its international roster, Seattle artists and galleries comprised the strongest moments of the fair’s fifty booths. Work that many of the area’s strongest painters created in the past year made appearances, creating a well-timed, “best of 2013” Seattle painting compilation, the highlights of which are after the jump. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Affordable Art Fair Seattle installation view. Image courtesy of the Affordable Art Fair.  Photo credit: Julia Bruk.

Listed under: Review

September 30, 2013, 8:00am

Disappearing Act: Jaq Chartier’s Climate-Changing Paintings

Jaq Chartier’s (NAP #13, #31, #61) paintings like to pose as objects other than paintings. The Seattle artist and cofounder of Aqua Art Miami is best known for Testing, an ongoing that physically experiments with her materials and processes. Chartier integrates paint with saturated inks, stains and dyes she designs to evolve over time, creating large, hyper-saturated canvases that pulse with patterns and forms that reference the imagery of contemporary science—DNA strands, glass slides, microbodies— and ultimately behave as visual experiments themselves. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Jaq Chartier | Lettuce Coral, 2013, acrylic, stains, paint on wood panel, 28 x 36 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Platform Gallery.

September 18, 2013, 8:00am

Doubling All the Way Down: Amanda Valdez at Prole Drift

When I see Amanda Valdez’s (NAP #99) paintings, I think of screwballs—specifically, the cherry flavored, pink cone-shaped, frozen screwballs sold from musical ice cream trucks. Despite the cough syrup-cherry flavoring, and the sad way the icy gumball at the bottom of the cone fractured in my mouth rather than gelling into chewable gum, the screwball was the only ice cream novelty I ever wanted. When I reminisce about the screwball now, I cannot avoid the latent sexuality that resonates between its name and ripe, all-over pinkness.   Brooklyn artist Amanda Valdez’s new work in Double Down at Seattle’s Prole Drift brings to mind similar matters through its sugary hues of gumballs and cake frosting that drip and coat rounded forms, evoking primal satisfactions and their inevitable crashes. – Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Amanda Valdez | Tide of Pleasure: Double Down, 2013, Embroidery, fabric and acrylic, 26 x 30 in. Image courtesy of the artist and Prole Drift.

Listed under: Review

August 29, 2013, 9:24am

The Real Deal: Roger Shimomura’s American Knockoff

A knockoff usually refers to a copy of a more expensive original, bringing to mind tables of faux designer handbags and leather jackets on street corners. When painter Roger Shimomura creates a knockoff, his is a human version—specifically, a person, or a punch to the face, literally knocking you off. The artist mashes up imagery from American pop icons, Kabuki actors, Korean and Japanese manga characters, Hello Kitty, Lichtenstein-style faces and Chinese propaganda, into in-your-face, self-portrait battles between himself and the stereotypes that portray Asian American people as less valuable citizens, or “American knockoffs,” the title of his new show. These works from 2009-2012 on view at Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle, WA, continue the battles Shimomura has fought for over four decades, a testament to the persistence of both the artist’s pursuit and the forces he is up against. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Listed under: Review

July 29, 2013, 8:30am

Navigating The Mentholated Roads: Michael Ottersen at SEASON

There is something deceivingly friendly about Michael Ottersen’s paintings. The Seattle artist’s dense canvases pop with solid, inviting hues.  As pointed out by Robert Yoder, artist and owner of SEASON, where Ottersen’s show The (Mentholated) Roads Around Naples is on view, most of the canvas-spanning forms can be contorted into geometric faces. But then, there are the titles, which counter the initial straightforwardness with an esoteric sense of humor that reads as equal parts inside joke and non sequitur wordplays—Stinky Pinky/Wigwamery and Mary Krishna stand out among the more confounding.  This tug of war happens within each of the works, sucking you in at the first encounter and remaining stuck in your head long after. – Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Michael Ottersen, Mary Krishna, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas, 64 x 48 in. Image courtesy of SEASON.

Listed under: Review