How would you change the face of Tacoma? Apply to Spaceworks and be a part of the conversation.
Spaceworks Tacoma is currently seeking applications for its three tracks: Artscapes, Creative Enterprise, and Special Projects Residencies. Artists, organizations, community groups and creative entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply. Through this application cycle, participants will be identified to fill no- and low-cost temporary vacant spaces in Tacoma through 2013. Deadline: June 10, 2013
Sculpture by Randy Cezan.
“Images of colliding galaxies were the direct forms that I have attempted to represent with these sculptural forms,” says artist Randy Cezan of his new art installation, Large Interacting…on exhibit in the windows at 950 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma.
“The title of my [work] was taken from one of the early Hubble images I encountered, ‘Large Interacting Galaxies’.” Cezan’s artwork captures the elegant clockwork dynamism of the universe – but conjures up a myriad of forms found in nature as well. His sculptures are informed by investigations of the environment in which he discovered “micro and/or macro examples of repeating patterns in nature.” For example, pieces of driftwood found on the beach at Pt. Defiance for him evoked meteorological associations: “The spiraling intermingling of wood grain was reminiscent of eyes, multiple funnel cyclones, as well as cloud formations.”
“Interacting Galaxies” by Randy Cezan.
The mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to describe such repeating forms: “I conceived and developed a new geometry of nature and implemented its use in a number of diverse fields. It describes many of the irregular and fragmented patterns around us, and leads to full-fledged theories, by identifying a family of shapes I call fractals.”
Cezan’s sculptures will eventually be mounted as mobiles; stunning behemoths with convex curves and concavities that suggest dinosaur skulls, helixes, vortexes and of course, massing stars and galaxies. Their powerful forms seem already to move of their own internal force. Carved from polystyrene and measuring 20ft. across and 15ft. high, the trilogy weighs just 100lbs.
Micro and macro worlds collide in “Large Interacting…”.
Cezan says Large Interacting…illustrates a theory about social engagement as well as science and geometry. “My comment is how human interaction even in its mildest forms involves change in the people who genuinely interact. You can think of these shapes starting as regular spiral galaxies until gravitational pull distorts their uniformity. I propose that something similar happens when people interact: Neither party comes out unchanged. When one is open and listening, the ideas, opinions, and emotions of another register and create change, whether mild or profound.”
Cezan’s Spaceworks installation appears to span light years, but Large Interacting…“is the product of 15 months pondering and more than six months of work.” Check it out at 950 Pacific Avenue through February 28, 2013.
Sculpture by Gabriel Brown
Another piece for the Cakewalk - Floating Estate Island by Gabriel Brown, self-described ‘garbologist’ and a previous Spaceworks artist. This sculpture, valued at $100, could be yours in just a few short weeks!
When: September 15, 6pm-9pm
Where: 311 S. 7th Street, Tacoma, WA 98402
Admission: free, all ages, refreshments provided, drinks for sale (21+)
Live DJs: Mr. Melanin and DJ Broam, performance by the BareFoot Collective. For more info, click here.
Support Spaceworks upcoming fundraiser celebration, Cakewalk. You’ll have the opportunity to buy a ticket to participate in either an ‘artwalk’ or a ‘cakewalk’ ($20 for artwork, $5 for cake), and take home something fabulous for dirt cheap – all while supporting a good cause. Help us celebrate the first two years of Spaceworks and keep it going in 2013!
Top of the totem: a bird figure in "Spring Mascot" by Elise Richman.
In the Pacific Northwest, totem poles are a part of the collective imagination. Majestic cedar poles aged and carved by First Peoples stud the coastal areas of Washington and Oregon all the way to Alaska and Canada.
But hey, what about that wooden bear ripped-by-chainsaw from a tree stump in some white guy’s front yard in Hoquiam? Is that a kind of “totem,” too? Does it express an unconscious yearning to tell a personal story; to broadcast the myths of the family clan?
"Pool 1," oil painting by Elise Richman
Tacoma artist Elise Richman seems to pose this question and others with her site-specific art installation, Spring Mascot, at the Woolworth Building. This whimsical, totem-inspired work is unique in both its composition (colorful bird sculptures and large bird paintings are spread out horizontally across the window instead of vertically in a pole configuration), and personal point of view: among other things, the gawky avian entities represent a tribute to “the often taken-for-granted heroics of caregivers and nurturers.”
Richman traveled to Alert Bay in British Columbia last summer to research totem poles. She was compelled “by their seemingly animated designs and vivid visual narratives. Totem poles loom and confront with an arresting and powerful presence.” Yet her sculptures vibrate on a surprisingly different, more delicate frequency than the stolid entities from centuries past.
“My bird paintings and sculptures act as surrogate self-portraits and guardian figures….[They] embody an openness and vulnerability that I value. Their gestures [and] postures are confident but also awkward. They model and defend the kind of receptivity that is only possible when we face the world with as much care, honesty, and hope as we can muster. The birds guard the act of letting one’s guard down.” Continue reading
"Variation on the figure 5" by Lance Kagey. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Lance Kagey makes righteous art. To be specific, letterpress art that makes people stop, do a double-take, and frequently ask for more. For nearly 10 years, as half of the design team (with Tom Llewellyn) of Beautiful Angle, he has been creating a series of thought-provoking, Tacoma-centric guerilla art at the rate of one new wheatpaste poster design a month. Their ongoing project is a paean to Tacoma, its icons, and the dark, inchoate poetry that makes our city what it is. But Kagey also flies solo with his art, and we checked in to talk about his new installation at the Woolworth Building.
SPACEWORKS TACOMA: Hi Lance. Your concept for your Spaceworks project was to recreate the aesthetics of your letterpress studio inside the Woolworth windows. I hope that means there is intention behind this almost symphonic arrangement of art and vintage printing press equipment…Surely your “clutter” doesn’t look this gorgeous all the time (if it does, I think I’ll just go shoot myself right now)?
LANCE KAGEY: Surprisingly, this is a pretty faithful recreation of the aesthetic of my studio space. My kids say I’m one tragedy away from being featured on the Hoarders show. My space is very full of visual stimulus. It’s organized chaos. It inspires me as I create. I appreciate the total experience that people have as they visit my studio space.
On the road to "Hoarders"? Detail of Lance Kagey's installation at the Woolworth Building.
ST: Please identify your 3 favorite objects in the window and explain what they are and what they mean to you.
LK: 1. Right near the corner is a big cast iron apparatus that is both beautiful and functional, graceful and industrial. It is a perfect example, in my opinion, of the Tacoma aesthetic. The machine is used to round the corners off a stack of paper.
2. I love folk art. In the far end of the window, perched on top of an old street lamp base is a piece I call the “Virgin of Guadalupe”. I created this piece back in 2002 while visiting Guadalupe Ranch in West Texas. Made from drapery hooks, a cheese grater, a little electric motor, bottle caps and a lid from an Uncle Ben‘s rice container, among other things – this piece illustrates the metaphor of the mundane becoming the sacred.
3. There is a collection of hand-bound books and other handcrafted ephemera. I relish the evidence of the artisan’s touch in our lives. The smallest thing done well becomes artistic. Continue reading
"Old City Hall," letterpress print hand-colored with watercolor by Chandler O'Leary.
“For over a decade my constant companion has been my sketchbook, which is filled with graphite, ink and watercolor drawings of the world around me,” says artist Chandler O’Leary. “From nudes to passing strangers, from exotic locales to my own neighborhood, my sketchbooks not only filter my visual notes in a way that informs my studio work, but stand as a documentary of my life.” For outside observers, these notebooks brimming with highly detailed impressions offer the intimate perspective of an artist’s diary.
O’Leary is expanding her private journals to the scale of public art with Hillside Sketchbook, a “time-based” installation in which the artist will create a sweeping panorama of Tacoma made up of dozens of smaller sketches of the hillside view. Commissioned by Spaceworks Tacoma, this work will develop gradually over the three-month period it is on exhibition in the Woolworth Building, as O’Leary continually adds ink drawings and watercolors to fill in the vista.
"Continuum," O'Leary's graceful, pencil-drawn design for a Tacoma Link Light Rail station shelter was executed on etched glass panels in 2011.
“I will complete each portion of the drawing in all weather conditions, at roughly the same time of day,” says the artist and illustrator. “The real-time assembly of the drawing captures a series of fleeting moments in time. It documents the ever-changing nature of our city on an accessible, human scale.” Continue reading
Test photo from a Phoebe Moore video installation. Photo courtesy of the artist.
If you’re walking the street near the corner of 950 Pacific Ave., you may get the feeling you’re being watched. That’s because in her new window installation for Spaceworks Tacoma, artist Phoebe Moore has installed two video monitors with roving eyes, “to create the illusion that the building [has] a face. I practiced this project on my own home last year and the effect is striking. It looks a bit like a giant is trapped inside the building.” Especially at night. In addition to the staring, blinking video peepers, Moore has made and installed crude papier-mâché eyeballs – too many to count – to observe passersby.
Study for a building with eyes by Phoebe Moore.
The specter of large, disembodied eyes peering out from a business highrise holds obvious connotations – 24-hour surveillance, homeland security, an Orwellian goodbye to privacy. The title of the installation, Argus Panoptes, refers to a Greek mythological giant with 100 eyes. But the fact that they are female orbs gives this installation a fresh twist. “Those are my eyeballs,” says Moore. “I filmed a bunch of different eyeballs, but I decided to go with the ones closest to me….Some of the eyes are big and scared, some of them are crinkled and laughing. I really wanted there to be an eye for everyone.” Maybe the building is not so malevolent in spirit after all; maybe if that concrete face could hum, it would be We Only Have Eyes for You. She adds speculatively: “I’d love to see a cathedral with eyes instead of stained glass – but that might be really creepy.”
Moore pulls some strings at a puppet show. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Moore is a native Tacoman now living and working in Olympia. In addition to being a videographer she designs puppets, and is the founder of Atomic Playground, a variety show for emerging musicians, puppeteers and video makers in the state capitol. In 2011, she started The Olympia Exquisite Corpse, a collaborative film competition which spotlighted 12 participating teams. Phoebe Moore is an artist to keep an eye on!
Living sculpture by Kyle Dillehay. Photo courtesy of the artist
To what lengths should science go to produce food to satisfy the consumer demand for convenience at one extreme, and widespread hunger on the other? For a dozen years, artist Kyle Dillehay has been concerned with the health and ethical issues surrounding genetically modified food – so much so that he now grows heirloom varietals for his own family’s table. The subject continues to shape his work: “Since my Atlanta, GA, rapid-rail art project, in 2000, I have been creating sculptural installations using a variety of pod-like forms to make statements regarding man’s involvement in changing the genetic structure of plants for his own uses,” he says. These installations have ranged in scale from a major, government-funded train station project to more private art “interventions” involving the spontaneous placement of individual pods in both natural and urban settings that offer surprising distractions to the alert observer.
Art with a creeping feeling: a previous Dillehay installation using plant sculptures. Photo courtesy of the artist
For Sacred Balance, his new installation at the Woolworth Building, Dillehay has positioned dirt-filled, cast iron web-pods in an arrangement so they appear to be emerging from the walls and ceiling. These pods are planted with genetically-modified grass seed that has been engineered to germinate and grow with limited sunlight. The pods at first appear lifeless as they germinate for the first seven to ten days, then release an explosion of vibrant green to dominate the space.
Dillehay will lightly water the grass as needed throughout the exhibit’s three-month duration to maintain the lushness of the grass for viewers passing by. “My main intent is to bring a little awareness to the great amount of genetic engineering that is being performed on even the most basic of plants for human convenience,” he says. Sacred Balance, the Woolworth Building, 11th & Broadway, through June 30, 2012.
Bird sculpture by Elise Richman at the Woolworth Building.
We’re proud to announce the next round of artists to rock the Woolworth Building and satellite spaces in downtown Tacoma! Artists Kyle Dillehay, Lance Kagey, Phoebe Moore, Chandler O’Leary and Elise Richman; and environmental and geotechnical consultants, Landau Associates, have begun installing works that will be on exhibit through June 30, 2012. Michiko Tanaka will present a new video installation at the Tollbooth Gallery on Broadway, April 10 through August 31, 2012. Spring is in the wings – see new art at the Woolworth Building and at the corner of 950 Pacific!
"Atrophied" by Maria Olga Meneses
Disconnected Fragments is a photo documentary about an 88-year-old woman, Livia Maria Escobar, living with the disease of dementia. The photographer, her daughter, Maria Olga Meneses, has recorded her mother’s devastating illness through a series of portraits interspersed with photographs of the natural world that place her (and by extension, all of us) metaphorically within the broadest spectrum of the life cycle. This exhibition of streaming images is on view at the Tollbooth Gallery, 11th and Broadway, through Feb. 29.
"Faded Connections" by Maria Olga Meneses
The exhibit includes casual, lifelong snapshots of Escobar in her prime; but it is Meneses’ black-and-white field photographs that provide an unexpectedly harrowing underpinning; sometimes out of focus, or quavering, they articulate a psychological fragility, “How I envision the brain being atrophied through the process of dementia,” she says. “The images depict my interpretation of confusion, loss of language [and] personal withdrawal from social contact.” The camera offers a vehicle by which she can participate in Livia Maria Escobar’s increasingly solitary journey.
"Mama, 1940." Photo courtesy of Maria Olga Meneses
“My mother has been suffering from dementia for about 15 years, and I have been taking care of her for the last five years. I have seen the devastation of a beautiful person [who goes] from begging God to keep her from losing her mind when she first experienced the symptoms of this disease, to the present moment when she hardly knows me.” The artist has not turned away from the hallucinations, violent behavior, delusions, depression, agitation, and feelings of persecution that mark the progression of the illness; on the contrary, with courage and compassion she has entered deeply into these final stages of life with her camera. Continue reading