Pole Drift

July 14, 2014, 9:05am

A Quiet, Creeping Reality: Buddy Bunting’s Valley Fever at Prole Drift

A tortoise, a gas station, a sleeping dog, a shadowy tree and a juvenile detention facility: these are the subjects of Buddy Bunting’s five new paintings. At first sight, the mystery of their connection hangs in the air with a sense of heavy deliberation; these unlike things are somehow meant to be together, but it is hard to see how. Then, slowly, as you linger inside Seattle’s Prole Drift gallery, that sensation of heavy air becomes more pronounced and persistent across the scenes—the stillness of the dog, the haze surrounding the tree, the immobility of the tortoise. The title that gathers them together—Valley Fever—evokes the slowed pace that feverish heat commands, and this proves to be the best approach to journeying through Bunting’s thick environs. — Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor


Buddy Bunting | Antelope Valley Juvenile Detention Center, Lancaster, California, oil on linen, 2014. Image courtesy of Prole Drift

Listed under: Review

April 22, 2014, 9:03am

Mountains Made of Paper: Saul Becker’s Dead Reckoning

Svalbard is an unincorporated Norwegian archipelago that resides in the Arctic Circle, between continental Norway and the North Pole.  While its indisputable date of discovery surrounds a Dutchman’s search for the Northern Sea Route, in 1596, Scandinavians may have found it as early as the twelfth century.  In either case, a human presence made its way into this distant, arctic land filled with fjords, mountains, polar bears and arctic foxes, through a history of interactions ranging from whaling, explorations and coal mining, to the last armed German military unit’s surrender, after World War II. Svalbard is also now the site of The Arctic Circle residency program, where Tacoma artist Saul Becker (NAP #49) took in the landscapes that became part of his new show, Dead Reckoning, while aboard a grand, 120-foot schooner. — Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor


Saul Becker | Folding Coastline, 2012, watercolor, ink and gouache on paper, 29.5 x 41.5 in. Image courtesy of Prole Drift.

Listed under: Review

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

November 07, 2012, 8:36am

Anonymous Source: Anna Fidler’s Topographic Celebrities

It is difficult to decide whether Anna Fidler’s (NAP #61) new show Cherry Bomb references the firecracker definition or the “smokin’ hot lady” definition of the term. The Portland artist’s meticulously constructed acrylic, pencil and cutout paper portraits on view at Seattle’s Prole Drift gallery literally portray women as their subject matter—nostalgic pop musicians including Heart, Joan Jett, and Karen Carpenter.  Yet, a sinister tone resides within the figures’ construction, a highly textural technique that combines psychedelic blasts of color with dark, map-like details that abstract Fidler’s imagery beyond simple appropriation.

Listed under: Review, Seattle

September 27, 2012, 8:25am

In the Studio: A visit with Chris Buening

Chris Buening’s (NAP #85) three large pieces at Prole Drift weave in and out of themselves, mesmerizing snarls of color and line and coiling worms. Illustration of Events Happening is the title of the show, as well as the name of a diagrammatic installation on one wall that consists of 29 resin and plaster discs connected by a network of brushstrokes. Embedded in each disc, like fossils trapped in translucent bands of sedimentary strata, are layers of correction fluid drawings, rainbow foil, glitter and Sharpie. To either side of the installation are two large paintings on paper.

Listed under: In the Studio

June 21, 2012, 8:25am

In the Studio: Q&A With Susanna Bluhm

This month in the back gallery at Prole Drift, Susanna Bluhm is showing her latest installment in an ongoing series of works based on passages from The Bible’s nightmare-and-sex-heavy Song of Solomon. You may remember her lush paintings of islands (not part of the biblical series) reviewed alongside work by Cable Griffith at SOIL Gallery last September.

Listed under: In the Studio, Q&A

May 16, 2012, 8:15am

Flat Time Blue: Buddy Bunting at Prole Drift

The centerpiece of Buddy Bunting’s Flat Time Blue at Prole Drift (on view through May 27th) is a panoramic watercolor and flashe painting that stretches twelve feet across the wall. The painting depicts a prison washed out and warmed up with scalding bright yellow sun, its structural starkness rendered sheer and almost weightless. It’s the tenth in a series Bunting has been developing since 2004.

Listed under: Interview, Seattle

October 11, 2011, 9:00am

Building a Form for Space: Dirk Park Discusses Prole Drift Gallery

Prole Drift stands within an older mixed-use building, angled between the top and bottom of a steep hill in Seattle’s International District.  Much in the same way its name references a connection between the upper and the working classes, Dirk Park’s new venue inhabits a space of intersection somewhere between a traditional gallery, a studio and an open place for artistic experimentation.

Listed under: Art World, Q&A, Seattle

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