Seattle Art Museum

November 23, 2015, 9:18am

Museum Admission: Brenna Youngblood at the Seattle Art Museum

When I walked into Brenna Youngblood’s (NAP #103) abstracted realities, at the Seattle Art Museum, I thought this would be a show about its painted subjects.  The eight works’ contents—an oversized “x”, a confetti of dollar-bill signs, a dripping map, a Chuck Taylor sole atop a pyramid—held so much depth on their own.  Knowing her also to be an artist whose practice extends to mediums rooted in physical objects, including sculpture, collage, assemblage, and photography, objects at first seemed to be the heart of the matters here. — Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor


Chuck Taylor,
2015, Brenna Youngblood, American, b. 1979, color photograph
and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist and Honor Fraser Gallery.

Listed under: Museum Admission, NAP News, Review

December 17, 2014, 10:51am

Rothkos in Space and Paintings of Dumpsters: The Absurd Worlds of Ralph Pugay

Out-loud laughter is not usually something you hear at a paintings show, particularly one inside of a museum. However, this is the reaction I saw over and over again, as I stood among Portland artist Ralph Pugay’s (NAP #97, #115) paintings, at the Seattle Art Museum. Filling a small but highly trafficked gallery that was wedged between exhibits of glass and of traditional nineteenth and twentieth century American art, the artist’s small canvases excelled at catching people off guard. The flattened, cartoonish scenes captured the eyes of people en route to another space, who would wander towards them with looks of befuddlement. The point at which the artist’s frank titles, absurdities and language games began to sink in was the moment the laughter began.— Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


Ralph Pugay | Rothkos in Space, acrylic on canvas, 24"x24", 2013. Image courtesy of the artist.

Listed under: Museum Admission, Review

September 25, 2014, 9:21am

Erupting Unknowns: Ryan Molenkamp’s Fear of Volcanoes

The first time I came to Seattle was to board a cruise ship, the same reason so many other Northwest outsiders first experience this city. Since I had been traveling with family (not to mention thousands of other cruisers), the only time I recall being alone on the trip was during the cab ride back to the airport, after we returned to port. Sitting in the backseat, moving alongside the lines of cars traveling southbound on I-5, the faint image of Mount Rainier floated among the license plates. It was among this swarm of rendered, friendlier mountains that I first saw the real Rainier, looming seventy miles away, above the mass of clouds that coated the passenger-side window.

Although I have lived here for nine years, and few things I saw during the cruise visit look the same to me now as they did fresh off the ship, Mount Rainier still radiates the same sense of severe immensity, even during its sunniest appearances. Walking into SAM Gallery’s Made in the Northwest show, I was met with a similar hum of severity—this time coming from Seattle artist Ryan Molenkamp’s (NAP #97) painted volcanoes. — Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


Ryan Molenkamp | View from Mt Erie, 
acrylic on panel, 30 x 40 in., 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

Listed under: Review