Painting the Fourth Wall: Pull at G. Gibson Gallery

The jagged, orange mass of Seattle painter Blake Haygood’s This Only Seems Abnormal that writhes through a fantastical meteor shower exemplifies the theme of G. Gibson Gallery group show Pull. Evoking classic scenes of the Millennium Falcon being overtaken by tractor beams and meteor showers throughout the Star Wars trilogy, the sensory experience of a gravitational pull breaks through the fourth wall of Haygood’s canvas, the center mass so outrageously oversized against the smaller pieces of matter that its heaviness radiates from the canvas.

Blake Haygood | This Only Seems Abnormal, 2012, acrylic on panel, 47.5 x 38.5 inches.

Such is the affect across three of the four other painters featured in Pull (On view through August 17th). Seattle painter Harold Hollingsworth’s Double Rocker creates a similar sensation of weight through dense layering and whitewashing of oil, acrylic and charcoal.  Congealing and dripping at various points into a Wite-Out-like consistency over painted letters and a handwritten script, the painting’s complicated surface reads as a visual history that pulls its viewer between moments of memory and forgetting. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Harold Hollingsworth | Double Rocker, 2012, acrylic, oil and charcoal on canvas, 60 x 48 inches.

Portland artist Laurie Danial’s pull comes from the blocky, outlined forms that appear in flux between being stacked and crumbled, like the bricks of a building in varying states of existence and destruction.  A tower of rounded stone-like forms in Pick and Shove I resists the sharp grid stretching around its base while All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men delivers a postmortem scene of abstracted bits and pieces that imply something that once was.  Only fleeting forms of the referenced “Humpty Dumpty”—the jagged silhouette of a castle tower, half of a broken eggshell, a black wall—make appearances within the abstracted narrative, but the disheartening nursery rhyme permeates the work’s dark tone and aggressive brush strokes.

Laurie Danial | Pick and Shove I, 2011, etching, spit bite, soap ground and hand coloring, framed, 16 x 13.75 inches.

Laurie Danial | All the King's Horses and All the King's Men, 2006, oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches.

The stylized realism of Chris Crites’s paper bag paintings stands in stark contrast to the rest of Pull.  Staring into the deep-set eyes of the mug shots remastered by the Seattle artist with ironically cheerful hues, a mixture of melancholy and malice resides in the convicts’ creviced foreheads and pointed expressions. A more personal, narrative pull defines these works, whose subjects appear more like characters of fiction than actual felons. When the familiar faces of Rod Blagojevich and Michael Jackson appear in other works from the series, the bizarre stories behind their arrests make the tension of the series even more pronounced, begging the question of the viewer’s relationship to such contorted realities and their place on the surface of a weightless paper bag.

Chris Crites | Murder, 2012, acrylic on paper bag, framed, 12 x 9 inches.


Pull is on view at G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, WA through August 17.

Erin Langner is a writer based in Seattle and is Manager of Adult Public Programs at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM)


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