Fill your eyes with can’t-miss art, and your ears with music that’s perfectly in sync.
Remember to Come Back – ruby onyinyechi amanze, Clay Apenouvon, Mwangi Hutter, Délio Jasse and Zohra Opoku.
ruby oyinyechi amanze – water and air [for shelby] – ink, collage, photo transfer, graphite, resin – 38”h x 50”w
“Remember to Come Back” is a poignant, trenchant way to end the year, as five artists of African descent explore “the notion of departure as a possible point of a return.” Pulled taught between their native countries and their adopted homes of Europe or the USA like a tug-of-war rope, these five artists grapple with themes of exile, refuge, and assimilation.
Souad Massi – Yemma (Mummy, I Lie to You)
Algerian-born chanteuse Souad Massi was harassed when she tried to sing in public in Algeria and left the country for Paris after receiving death threats. Though she’s now a world-renowned performer in the tolerant climate of France, she cannot turn her back on where she grew up and her identity. In “Mummy, I Lie to You”, which starts with the fuzz of a message recorded on an old telephone answering machine, she assures her mother in Algeria that she is safe, happy, and never wants for money. But, deeper into the song, she pines for sunshine, wondering how she can exist in such a foreign place, and laments that she must lie to her mother to protect her from the truth.
Mizan. – Looking For
This slow-burning track finds Ethiopian-born, NYC-residing singer Mizan in a contemplative mood. Throughout, she searches for something undefinable, something she can’t even quantify. Is it a person? A place? A feeling? With her pop-jazz sensibility, Mizan gives voice to the search that many migrants must feel, even when they have ostensibly found what they sought when they left home and landed in safety.
@ Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
through Dec 23
608 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
‘go on take everything’ (Vignettes Five Year Anniversary)
featuring new work by Erin Frost, Leigh Riibe, MKNZ and Sierra Stinson
(One Night Only)
Ever mysterious, Vignettes co-directors Sierra Stinson and Serrah Russell are keeping mum on just what we’ll see at their five-year anniversary celebration in Stinson’s El Capitan apartment. But, then again, inviting hundreds of strangers into your studio apartment is a pretty dicey thing (even if you, like Stinson, have been doing it for years) so you can’t blame them for keeping their cards close. If we know anything about Vignettes, though, this event will be one for the ages, with small, quiet works that bring big ideas to the table.
Kedr Livanskiy (Lebanese Cedar) – Sgoraet
If you hear a chilliness in Kedr Livanskiy’s echo-chamberesque Sgoraet (Burning Down), you’re not wrong: her inspiration is the grimness of the long, dark Russian winter. But, rather than running headlong into the arms of fairytales of the wintry forest, she prefers to conjure a terrible sterility that stands alongside the bleak and blank-eyed experiments of Board of Canada, Autechre, or Lali Puna. Except for a sudden outbreak of frenzied drums right at the end, the whole affair is a sleek death-march into the white horizon of winter, in the best traditions of early 2000s electronica. This is music that entices you to let go of everything and go hermetic and bereft into the New Year.
MNDR–Feed Me Diamonds
But, lest we get too bleak, don’t forget that Vignettes is also bringing the party. MNDR’s “Feed Me Diamonds” is a bombastic anthem that gorges itself on excess, in the tradition of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Marina and the Diamonds, or MØ. Stuffed with candy-colored synthesizers, it’s a showcase for Amanda Warner’s voice, which has a scratchiness that lends the song a sound of intriguing desperation. Warner sounds like she’s tried everything to avoid it, but if she’s gonna get sliced to ribbons on a diet of diamonds, she’ll go out with a total bang and enjoy it. Pour it all on, and celebrate Vignettes’ off-kilter five-year history with abandon.
@ El Capitan Apartments, 1617 Yale Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Thursday, December 10th // 7 – 10 pm
One Night Only
in-progress embroidered photograph by Nicole Barton
Nicole Barton returns to Martyr Sauce with a new body of work, where she exposes the framework of bones beneath the skin by embroidering over found photography. Utilizing what looks like a slew of found pin-ups and erotica, she punches tiny holes through the skin of the photos and its subject and sews bones onto the soft and sexualized skin. Vaseline-smeared lenses and instagram filters have done their best to smooth their subjects, disguise scars, and puckers, erase hair and create an effect of butter-smooth perfection, but Barton’s interventions remind the viewer that beneath each subject’s perfect veneer are the bones that allow movement, and hold us upright. A yoga teacher by day, Barton worships our bones because they are what allow us to achieve strength and power.
Jaala – “Hard Hold”
The term “bright weirdness” was used in a review of this Australian band’s debut, and it’s a perfect encapsulation of their strange, atonal, yet exciting and unreserved music. There’s a sense of going up, up and over the top of a hill in a grocery cart in “Hard Hold”, with jerking and stopping in the beginning, and a wild crescendo at the end. That unexpected angularity makes it a good fit for Barton’s altered photographs, with their newly revealed bones poking through skin.
Dec 3-Jan 7
@ Martyr Sauce
122 South Washington St Seattle, WA 98104
Open Mon – Sat by appointment
Erika Sanada – Balancing Act
What are these creatures that Erika Sanada conjures from ceramic? A mix of dog, rat and fox—sharp muzzles and elongated bodies, boneless and smooth—with eerie milky eyes, and the blue cast of frostbite around the haunches. An altogether unsettling mix, and that’s before you realize that some have extra rows of teeth, a misplaced ear, or a vestigial limb. There’s some real freakiness on display here, alongside Sanada’s high level of craftsmanship, and as a self-described aficionado of horror films and animation, that’s just how Sanada wants it. She pulls no punches in her artist bio, stating: There are two reasons I create misshapen and abnormal work. One is my bitter childhood and the second is my constant anxieties.These creatures show my twisted mind as I try to overcome anxiety through my creation.
Tropic of Cancer – “Stop Suffering”
There’s a tiny sound in “Stop Suffering”, a tinny little blip that drips constantly, punctuating the sonorous drone of the track. It’s the only thing that marks time in the song, moving forward as the ominous, constant wave of Camella Lobo’s voice washes back and forth like a sickly tide. Though it’s an inhuman, irritating little noise, it becomes the only thing you can hold firm to while the submarine pulses of guitar pulls you inexorably down; a tiny beacon floating on the surface, moving steadily farther away.
Jlin – “Nandi”
Polyrhythms are the name of the game with Jlin’s footwork-inspired debut. She cadges samples from video games, cartoons, and just about anywhere, then cuts them up even further, creating a confetti of gasps, shouts, moans, and who knows what else. Layered and juddering, all rhythm and no melody, there’s something both cerebral and yet instinctive at work here, like her sounds are activating a subconscious part of your brain. Hearing the same sounds repeated, halted just before they can resolve into any meaning we can parse induces uncertainty, anxiety, even feelings of itchy OCD.
@ Abmeyer + Wood
Nov 30– Jan 2
1210 2nd Avenue Seattle WA 98101
Charismatic Megafauna – Group Exhibit
“Aspire to our Twin Stars” – Josie Morway – oil and enamel on wood – 24” x 36”
If you know anything about Roq La Rue’s founder, Kirsten Anderson, it’s probably that she’s big into wildlife. So, the wildlife goes big in RLR’s holiday exhibit, “Charismatic Megafauna”, a group celebration of the magnificent, the wild, the will-eat-your-face-in-one-bite. 19 painters and sculptors capture animals with teeth and claws, wild eyes and gaping jaws, and then beckon us to come up close to gawk in the face of exhilarating savagery.
ANOHNI (formerly Antony Hegarty) – 4 Degrees
Natural catastrophe is here in ANOHNI’s impassioned, massive track about global warming. As drums clash and ominous horns sweep ANOHNI’s voice along, animals are dying, seas are boiling, birds are dropping from the skies. It’s all justified by her simple explanation of “I want to see the world”, a shorthand for “it’s easier to just keep going as we go and not change our habits”. Goodbye, megafauna.
@ Roq La Rue
Thursday, December 3rd – Saturday, January 30th
532 1st Ave S. Seattle WA 98104
Susan Jameson – Color Mezzotints
Island Lightning – Susan Jameson – Color Mezzotint – 14”h x 18.5”w
By the end of the month, the gallerists at Davidson Galleries are going to be very tired of explaining what a mezzotint is. For those who need a refresher on their 17th-century printing techniques, a mezzotint is when you roughen a metal plate with thousands of little dots using a tool with little teeth. The pits in the plate hold the ink when the plate is wiped clean, and the pressed paper print then picks up bare (light) areas and inked (dark) areas. Jameson, a UK artist, is a contemporary maker of mezzotints and uses their rich tone to convey the darkness of a wild storm on the British coast or the gradient of sun through a forest. Humans are banished from these landscapes, and if you didn’t know better, you might think they didn’t exist at all.
Anna von Hausswolff – Evocation
von Hausswollff’s new EP The Miraculous is based on an imaginary kingdom from her childhood, and gravity, magnitude, and awesome sound reverberates from every seam. Rightly so; our imaginary friends and worlds often seemed far more vital and epic than our quotidian lives. Drones from the massive Acusticum Pipe Organ—located in her native Sweden—groan and bubble through the tracks, while von Hausswollff’s voice shrieks and shivers, giving the proceedings an air of the apocalypse, a medieval battle, or a dirge.
Zoe Keating – Escape Artist
Experimental cellist Zoe Keating can transport you with a single note. Her cello, often electronically looped back on itself, is both instrument and conveyance to a realm of endless echoes and deep silence. This track, off the album “Into the Trees”, pairs with the loamy forests, dark skies, and deep channels in Jameson’s landscapes: walking in the crisp air under a silver moon, you could imagine just making out the drifting notes of Keating’s lone, far-off cello.
@ Davidson Galleries
Dec. 3. Tues–Sat. Through Dec 24
313 Occidental Avenue South, Seattle
Maija Fiebig – New Works
Maija Fiebig – Emma – Acrylic on Panel – 33”h x 48”w
Maija Fiebig’s paintings and embroidered samplers render plantlife saintly and spiritual. There’s a Thoreau-esque feel of worship to her art as if just being around the natural world is a religious experience, and she’s carrying home the feeling to the rest of us. In her artist statement, she references the “strangeness of being human”, and the only way to relieve herself from the condition is to make art in and about nature. With that in mind, it’s surprising that her work isn’t more, well, naturalistic. Instead, the paintings skew minimalist, rather than realist, looking more Shaker Quilt than Audubon. Regardless, the natural world remains her intense focus, as she translates plants, trees, and blooms into subtle patterns, silhouettes, and geometric outlines.
Cara Stacey – Oscillations
Cara Stacey plays two traditional Xhosa (South African) bowed instruments on “Things That Grow”, the umrhubhe and the uhadi. Both look like an archery bow: a curved, hollow piece of wood with a single string stretched taut from top to bottom, plus a resonator at the bottom. The umrhube is a mouthbow: you draw a bow across the string, and simultaneously blow into it like a flute, making for a double sound: a buzzing vibration, and an eerie whistle reminiscent of a didgeridoo. Stacey uses these ancient instruments in modern composition alongside clarinet, saxophone, bass, and synths, making improvised, boundary-pushing ethnojazz. “Oscillations”, with its polyphony, aurally echoes the patterns and embellishments in Fiebig’s paintings and embroidery.
Dec 3 – Jan 16
@ G. Gibson Gallery
300 S Washington St
Seattle, WA 98104