The Spaces Between Things

Photo credit: Rebecca Thompson.

Imagine the coast of northern California. Carefully navigating the rugged terrain, you push against the oceanic wind as salty sea spray mists your face. You understand how the cypresses and pines have been sculpted into the rhythmic shapes they take. Within a single day, the climate fluctuates from bright sunshine to dense fog, howling winds, and pelting rain.[1]

Photo credit: Craig Bassam, BassamFellows Journal. "Into the wild. Before its construction, The Sea Ranch was a working sheep ranch on rugged land that stretched ten miles long and around one-mile inland."
Photo credit: Craig Bassam, BassamFellows Journal. “Into the wild. Before its construction, The Sea Ranch was a working sheep ranch on rugged land that stretched ten miles long and around one-mile inland.”

This landscape inspired architects Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, William Turnbull Jr., and Richard R. Whitaker Jr. to design The Sea Ranch, a community of vacation houses on the Pacific’s coastal shelf. Austere, demanding, and inspiring, this dynamic landscape is the location of 19 homes that stand as still objects around which nature dances. Wood buildings rise out of the cliff, seemingly sculpted from the landscape by decades of fierce wind and sea spray. In this free-willed landscape, the goal of The Sea Ranch was “to create something worthwhile which did not destroy, but rather enhanced the natural beauty we had been given.” [2]

Photo credit: RoxyRobles. Sea Ranch homes on a foggy day.
Photo credit: RoxyRobles. Sea Ranch homes on a foggy day.

Los Angeles artist Pae White is known for blurring the boundaries between fine and applied arts, architecture, and design. Her exhibition at the Henry, Command-Shift-4, explores the spatial qualities of the large, open volume of the museum’s lower-level gallery. For this installation, she took inspiration from the buildings at The Sea Ranch.

Upon entering the gallery, I was immediately swept into another world. As my body moved throughout the gallery, my perception constantly shifted. Every step I took was carefully calculated to avoid the massive sinews of string that seem to appear out of nowhere. Mesmerizing yet disorienting, networks of bright yarn seem to move with me, invoking the dynamism of Sea Ranch landscape. Solid blocks of numbers and shapes (including The Sea Ranch logo) are painted onto the white walls from which webs of colored strings explode into multiple directions. It seems as though the painted letters and numbers shaped the patterns string, or perhaps the other way around. But it doesn’t matter. Solid and void meld harmoniously to form a cohesive whole that flows off the gallery walls onto the wooden floors and the high ceiling.

Photo credit: Rebecca Thompson.
Photo credit: Rebecca Thompson.

Beyond invoking the dynamism of the northern Californian landscape, White asks and addresses the question: How can we experience a place that we are not actually in? Command-Shift-4 explores the ways in which a place is known and remembered; at the Henry, White evokes the essence of The Sea Ranch with symbolic images and sculpted networks of yarn. Just as the Henry contains the exhibition, the unassuming exteriors of The Sea Ranch mask dynamic interiors that lift and shift, seemingly of their own volition, with the dynamic landscape and climate of the coast.

Photo credit: Sonoma Magazine. "The living room of Donlyn Lydon’s House."
Photo credit: Sonoma Magazine. “The living room of Donlyn Lydon’s House.”

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, one of the first artists to utilize supergraphics, initially painted The Sea Ranch’s Moonraker Athletic Center. “Circles and diagonal stripes and optically ambiguous trapezoidal shapes were painted in bold colors on white walls. The shapes, sometimes broken and displaced from one wall to the next, sometimes on the ceiling, were designed to cause the tight limitations of the rooms to dissolve among an array of cheerful and bright presences. These figures were sometimes applied whimsically, […] but not arbitrarily. The position of various shapes were carefully calculated to create illusions of depth and overlapping space, and to direct users through the rooms.” [3] Even though the Henry’s gallery is wide and open, White’s supergraphics shift the scale of the room, adding to the disorientation and dissolution of physical boundaries.

Photo credit: Sanslartigue. "Fireworks and swimming pools."
Photo credit: Sanslartigue. “Fireworks and swimming pools.”

The supergraphics are symbolic; on the gallery walls are the numbers of the zip code of The Sea Ranch, their logo (the ram’s head), and half of a red heart that completes its image in a floor-to-ceiling mirror. On one wall, there is an oversized mask that shifts the scale of the room yet again, creating a dreamlike effect that and changing the spatial understanding of the gallery. This mask is a replica of one in a condominium at The Sea Ranch, a piece from the collection of the inhabitants.

Photo credit: Rebecca Thompson.
Photo credit: Rebecca Thompson.

The bright string accentuates the effects of the supergraphics, adding layers of illusions of depth while directing the visitor throughout the space. These colorful give an aspect of dynamism to the anchored shapes; as the body moves throughout the gallery, the installation seems to move with it.

These aspects, transposed to the white walls and open space of the Henry’s gallery, comment on the experience of place; what is a place and how do we experience it? What happens to places that are gone and forgotten? How do we continue to experience places that we are not in?

About her work in general, White says, “For the last several years, my practice has focused on an exploration of the neglected, the forgotten, the spaces between things, even the things between things. I am equally drawn to the temporary, the fleeting, to the ephemera of everyday life. My work has attempted to subvert the viewer’s expected relationship to an everyday object, nudging them off balance, encouraging a deeper look.” [4]

I left the exhibition amazed. As an architecture student, art like this excites me. For me, architecture is more than cookie-cutter houses and stale office buildings; it is an inhabitable art that simultaneously fulfills needs and desires. From necessity, a building protects us from weather without collapsing, and, if we’re lucky, is a work of art that brings joy to the inhabitants. Command-Shift-4 evoked such architecture. It spoke to me of a place born from a wild environment, a complex composition of simple materials that makes one question what is seen with the eyes and what it means.

 

Rebecca Thompson is a student in the University of Washington’s Masters of Architecture department and the Communications Assistant at the Henry. She enjoys exploring the grey areas between art and architecture and experimenting with how each can inform the other.

 

[1] Gordon, Kathi. “The Sea Ranch: Conception and Covenant.” The Sea Ranch Association. 2004.
[2] Gordon, Kathi. “The Sea Ranch: Conception and Covenant.” The Sea Ranch Association. 2004.
[3] Alinder, Jim and Lyndon, Donlyn. The Sea Ranch. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 2004.
[4] White, Pae. “Artist’s Statement.” http://my.calfund.org/artist-gallery/gallery/year-2009/pae-white/.

 

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Get ready — summer at the Henry is just revving up!

Thinking Differently About Dirt: A Lecture with David Montgomery
Wed, June 3, 7 – 8:30 PM
David R. Montgomery, Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, will be presenting on the cultural history of soil and how the conceptions of dirt have shifted from ancient times.

Photo courtesy of David Montgomery.
Photo courtesy of David Montgomery.

Senses of Summer Music Series: Tomo Nakayama
Sat, June 6, 4 – 5 PM
Join us for a performance by multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter Tomo Nakayama. His crystalline high-tenor voice and intricate chamber folk compositions have been praised by NPR, New York Times, and KEXP. This is the first performance in our summer series of outdoor concerts held at the Henry.

Tomo Nakayama. Photo credit: Alicia Palaniuk.
Tomo Nakayama. Photo credit: Alicia Palaniuk.

ArtBreak: Lanxia (Summer) Xie
Sat, June 6, 2:30 – 3 PM
Lanxia (Summer) Xie, MFA candidate in Painting and Drawing, will be speaking about her work in the 2015 University of Washington MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition.

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

It’s nearly graduation time which means…

UW School of Art + Art History + Design MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition

Each year, the Henry presents the University of Washington’s School of Art + Art History + Design’s Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design thesis exhibition. Throughout their program, students consult with academic advisers and working artists to develop advanced techniques, expand concepts, and discuss critical issues. They emerge with a vision and direction for their own work, which is embodied in the pieces they have chosen to present.

 

The exhibition features the work of Maria Rose Adams, Matthew Schau Allen, Tim Coleman, Shaghayegh Ghassemian, Katherine Groesbeck, Scott Ichikawa, Morgan Mangiaruga, Coley Mixan, Ryan Moeck, Sarah Norsworthy, Krista Schoening, Abigail R. Steinem, Amanda C. Sweet, Zheng Wu, Lanxia (Summer) Xie, and Kun Xu.

 

MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition Patron Preview
Thurs, May 21, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Henry Contemporary and Patron Circle members are invited to preview the work of UW School of Art + Art History + Design Master of Fine Arts and Masters of Design candidates. This particular exhibition preview has long been a favorite among Henry supporters.

MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition Opening
Friday, May 22, 7-9 PM
Please join us for the public opening celebration and reception for the MFA +MDes Thesis Exhibition. This opening is being sponsored by Arts Dawgs, a program of ArtsUW. All are welcome!

 

2014 MFA + MDes Preview. Photo credit: Dan Bennett.
Patrons at the 2014 MFA + MDes Preview. Photo credit: Dan Bennett.

Video//Yoga
Thurs, May 21, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Enrich your yoga experience with Julia Greenway, curator and teacher at Interstitial Theatre. Her immersive yoga classes are taught in accompaniment with video art and engage your senses. Event is public and free.

Julia Greenway leads VIDEO//YOGA.
Julia Greenway leads VIDEO//YOGA.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Much happening this week: New installations! Parties! Workshops!

 

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Catherine Parr
May 9 – July 26

This photographed image of the wax figure of Henry VIII’s last wife invites questions about perceptions of history and popular culture through Sugimoto’s creation of visual dissonances. Three UW faculty members’ responses to the latest piece in our Viewpoints series are on view alongside the image on our mezzanine.

Hiroshi Sugimoto. Catherine Parr, 1999. Gelatin silver print. Henry Art Gallery, Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, 2014.185. Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco. Copyright Hiroshi Sugimoto.
Hiroshi Sugimoto. Catherine Parr, 1999. Gelatin silver print. Henry Art Gallery, Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, 2014.185. Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco. Copyright Hiroshi Sugimoto.

The 2015 Brink Bash
Fri, May 15, 6 – 8 PM
Contemporary and Patron Circle members are invited to join us to celebrate the 2015 Brink Award finalists. Meet the seven finalists at Hilliard’s Taproom while enjoying snacks, drinks, and music by KEXP DJ Larry Rose. The Brink Award supports rising regional visual artists “on the brink” of exceptional professional careers. (Wondering how you can be invited to awesome events like this?)

The Brink Bash 2013. Photo credit: Robert Wade.
The Brink Bash 2013. Photo credit: Robert Wade.

On Cultivation and Preservation: Growing a Summer Cocktail Garden with Amy Pennington
Sat, May 16, 11AM & Sat, June 27, 12PM
Renowned author Amy Pennington offers a two-part workshop on creating a summer cocktail garden and a homemade summer amaro, a classic Italian herbal liqueur. Pennington is the author of Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable, and Seasonal Kitchen, and the host of the PBS show Check Please! Northwest.
Tickets: $15 per workshop; $25 for both. Limited space available.

Courtesy of Amy Pennington. Photo credit: KK Dundas.
Courtesy of Amy Pennington. Photo credit: KK Dundas.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

In this week’s news…

Ilse Bing: Modern Photographer

May 2 — October 18
Visit the Henry for an exhibition of images by Ilse Bing, an early pioneer of photographing with the 35 mm Leica hand-held camera. A commercial photographer between the late 1920s and 1950s, she is recognized today as one of the key contributors to the development of modern photography.

2015-IlseBing-FA_2012.91_DM_edit
Ilse Bing. Garden wire, 1953. Gelatin silver print. Henry Art Gallery, gift of Yuri and Zoe Gurevich, 2012.91. © Estate of Ilse Bing.

ArtBreak: Mindfulness Meditation
Thurs, May 7, 12:30 PM
Come de-stress and soak in art during this meditation session by engaging and observing your physical, mental, and emotional experiences. Practicing mindfulness helps to promote a general sense of health and well-being. Please check in at the front desk for location information. Event is public and free.

ArtBreak-MindfulnessMeditation
ArtBreak: Mindfulness Meditation

2015 University of Washington MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition
May 23 — June 21
The exhibition will be featuring the work of graduating Master of Fine Arts and Masters of Design students from University of Washington’s School of Art + Art History + Design.

University of Washington 2014 MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition. Installation view: Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2014. Photo credit: Mark Woods.
University of Washington 2014 MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition. Installation view: Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2014. Photo credit: Mark Woods.

Also,

This is a reminder that GiveBIG is happening tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5th. You have the opportunity to support contemporary art and the Henry by donating online through the Seattle Foundation. Thank you for your continued support!

feature_GiveBIG2015
Image courtesy of Seattle Foundation.

This is the last weekend for “the common S E N S E!”

henry-artbreak-hamilton-26mar15-173
Photo credit: Robert Wade

Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E has been on view at the Henry since this past October. Hamilton’s large-scale installments have led visitors on an immersive journey that explored her invitation to discover tangible and intangible ways of touch. Using various materials, animals and representations–fur and feather garments, scientific specimens, books, and mechanical bullroarers–Hamilton guided visitors to consider the interdependence between human and non-human animals.

The development of the common S E N S E and its accompanying events and activities provided Hamilton and the Henry the opportunity to collaborate with various partners in the local region–including Seattle Arts and Lectures, UW School of Music, the Burke Museum–just to name a few. The collaborations of the common S E N S E have supported the Henry’s commitment of advancing contemporary art, artists, and ideas.

Ann Hamilton. Photo credit:
Ann Hamilton. Photo credit: Robert Wade

Throughout the duration of this exhibition, singers, dancers, and musicians have surrounded and filled the gallery spaces with their music, footsteps, and spoken word, all in response to the exploration of Hamilton’s work. As Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E comes to an end, her work continues to inspire.

The Henry invites you to stop by this weekend before the common S E N S E closes on Sunday, April 26th.


Today’s blog post was written by Angie Yin, UW Student and Communication Assistant at the Henry.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Have you experienced the Henry’s current audio/visual exhibitions? Be sure to catch them before they close on September 7!

Rineke Dijkstra and Thomas Struth: See•ing

This exhibition pairs work by two artists who focus on the essential qualities of photography and video to frame and represent.

Rineke Dijkstra. I See a Woman Crying (Weeping Woman).
Rineke Dijkstra. I See a Woman Crying (Weeping Woman).

Electro-dynamic Drawings: Andrew Deutsch and Stephen Vitiello

This exhibition premieres four new videos, products of a collaboration by artists Andrew Deutsch (U.S., b. 1968) and Stephen Vitiello (U.S., b. 1964). The suite of works was developed by exchanging a number of sound files via email and then processing them with the help of a Sandin image processor and other technologies.

Andrew Deutsch and Stephen Vitiello. Trans-scape .
Andrew Deutsch and Stephen Vitiello. Trans-scape [video still].

With Hidden Noise

Titled after Marcel Duchamp’s readymade of a ball of string held between two brass plates and containing a mysterious sound-making object, With Hidden Noise brings together sound works made from traditional instruments and field recordings, and others masked through electronic processes.

Stephen Vitiello. Finding Pictures in Search of Sounds.
Stephen Vitiello. Finding Pictures in Search of Sounds.

Ken Price: Inside/Outside

This focused exhibition presents, for the first time, holdings in the Henry’s collection by the late Los Angeles-based artist Ken Price (U.S., 1935-2012).

Ken Price. Untitled.