ART REVIEW By Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS
New to Olympia is The Artists’ Gallery in the Capital Mall Promenade north of the mall and next door to Massage Envy.
The Artists’ Gallery is an artist-run cooperative gallery occupying a large exhibition space with two roomy front rooms and additional rooms in back. Visitors are invited to make the loop through the various rooms to view rotating shows of painters, jewelers, wood workers, weavers, and printmakers. Works by 17 local artists are currently on display.
“We are proud of the diversity, character and history of our members,” said Robert Hunter, cooperative owner and local artist. “We believe as an artist co-op that we [are] interesting, refreshing and provocative.”
On Friday, September 13, the gallery held an opening event called “Harvest Moon,” with live music by Brian Erwin, guitarist, and James Harlan, pianist. Wine was served in special bottles with labels featuring art by exhibiting artists. A similar event will be held in December, though details are not yet available.
On display is a selection of elaborate jewelry by Suzan Carrell, including one piece with an intricately carved buffalo-bone setting.
Behind the counter along the back wall of the front room is a selection of wall-hanging raku figures, mostly female and some with animals, by Julie Szten. With dark brown and black glazes and luminescent undertones, they’re quite intriguing and mysterious. There’s a primitive quality to these pieces as if they were ancient artifacts dug out of a cave. Szten is further represented with atmospheric landscape paintings.
Notable are mixed-media works by two abstract painters similar in style: Hunter in a back room and Mia Schulte in the front. Schulte has been included in shows at South Puget Sound Community College and recently Childhood’s End Gallery. Her painting “Maelstrom” is an energetic abstraction with the feel of a storm at sea, using expressive brushstrokes and strong contrasts in a field of blue. Areas of white and gray paint have been dragged from the center with a paint scraper, and highlighted by tiny accents of red and yellow.
Hunter’s “Vicarious Travel” is also stormy. It’s a turbulent field of bright orange with a circle of deep blue slightly off-center in the middle. His collage, “Merlot on the Beach,” is a dark, abstract still life of a wine bottle, goblets and delicate, transparent papers.
In the same room with Hunter’s paintings are more paintings by Schulte. These are small, mixed-media paintings. Also on view are a number of nice little collages and lovely fabric art by Laraine Wade.
These are but a sample of the many varied works of art on display.
The Artists’ Gallery
Capital Mall Promenade,
2505 Fourth Ave. W, Suite 105, Olympia
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Wednedays – Saturdays,
Noon – 5 p.m. Sundays