“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon.” - Dr. Seuss
By Sarah Wyatt
- The Capitol Hill Times -
Owners of Blindfold Gallery will host the opening of its newest installation Thursday, August 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. Located at 1718 East Olive Way, the gallery will feature works by six artists, utilizing a complex yet natural theme: water. The gallery itself is the creation of attorney Scott Burk, as well as painters Sara Long and Laura Hamje, both of whose work will be displayed in the installation, along with fellow painters Sue Danielson, Kathy Liao, TV TommyVision and David Verba.
“In the driest month of this seasonably remarkable Northwest summer, Blindfold Gallery contemplates water through the eyes of six inspired artists,” Burk enthused. “Art observed and imagined, elemental yet elusive, cool or steamy, trickling, lapping, splashing or shimmering, viewed over spacious surfaces, or piped, rinsed, fogged, drunk, spat or sweated.”
Burk envisioned the water theme earlier this year, and immediately began planning for the installation. “It was an idea that came about to have a summery-themed show, so I chose some of my favorite artists, a group of artists that I wanted to show,” Burk said. “It’s Sara’s and Laura’s first time exhibiting their work at the gallery, even though their studios are here. They have an open studio people can view when we open the gallery for new shows, but neither had actually exhibited here. I gave them the theme of water, but left the rest completely open.”
Mixed-media painter Danielson, a Western Washington native who lives and works in Seattle, describes her work as “snapshots of moments in time.” Her work has been displayed at the Fine Art Museum at Florida State University and the West Coast Biennial in California, and in Seattle at Vermillion and the Seattle Art Museum. Danielson appreciates the progression vision of Blindfold.
“Personally the reason that I visit Blindfold is because of their focus on contemporary painting,” Danielson said. “But, in general, the work they show is high-quality and fresh.”
Burk is excited by the diversity of the painters in the exhibition, including TV TommyVision, a self-taught “outsider artist” who creates mixed-media mosaics with images evoked from his “fantasies, daydreams and nightmares.” TommyVision’s diverse materials include broken tile, stones, coins, sea glass, river rocks, glass globules, seashells, glass jewels, pieces of metal, slate, stained glass, broken dishes, terra cotta and sea stones.
“The artists in this installation are all painters, but very different,” Burk said. “TV TommyVision paints on found materials, with craft it can be anything. He’s displaying three large paintings made on found materials.”
Opened in 2012, Blindfold is expanding its artistic focus and depth, with a recent University of Washington collaborative art exhibit named StrangeCo. Burk is planning a poetry event on August 18, which will feature Maged Zaher, who was recently nominated for a local award in literature.
“We generally select and exhibit artwork by emerging and mid-career Northwest artists,” Burk said. “We also invite regional poets and musicians to create intimate performances in the gallery. In our first seventeen months, we have shown 30 talented visual artists in solo and group exhibitions.”
Long’s and Hamje’s painting studios, located onsite, connect the making of art with the viewing of art in one building. Hamje, who received her BFA from the University of Washington in 2008, is originally from Austin, Texas. Attending UW with Hamje, Long returned from a stint in San Francisco to help open the 635-square-foot gallery. The August installation will mark the first time the longtime friends will display their work together.
Long envisions the gallery as a professional and social endeavor. “I guess that I have always been more of a visual person,” Long said. I took some art classes in high school and it stuck. Then in college I grew close with a group of painters who I had a lot in common with, and that really opened my eyes, head and heart to the painting world.”
Blindfold Gallery’s airy, three-story space is altered every month with a new installation, typically planned by the three owners in rotation, and scheduled at least 18 months in advance.
“We have presented over a dozen live events: poetry readings, original music, one-time events like StrangeCo and artist talks,” Burk said. “We continue selecting and presenting artworks rendered in a variety of media: painting, sculpture, collage, photography, ceramics and computer digital graphics. We typically have a music event or poetry event every month, and it’s typically planned for the installation curator,” Burk said. “The installation curator typically plans the event as well. The three of us switch off as curators, so it’s generally each of us taking turns to curate a show every three months. We have tentative artists scheduled through our current lease through the end of 2014.”
The gallery has showcased a diverse list of local artists, including standout Michael Williamson, whose sculptured denim piece, Flayed, was enthusiastically received at last weekend’s Seattle Erotic Art Festival. The Capitol Hill art community has also readily embraced the trio, and the sentiment is returned.
“I enjoy the Cap Hill community a great deal,” Hamje said. “It has been very supportive and I think that there are a lot of inspiring and exciting artistic things happening in our neighborhood and in the city. It feels like a beginning of something big, plus Seattle is still open and welcoming to new ideas and work, which is nice in comparison to a place where artists can ‘make it’ like New York City or Los Angeles. I think Seattle is the place to be right now for artists, and Capitol Hill is the epicenter.”
The installation will conclude September 8. For more information about the gallery and installation, visit blindfoldgallery.com.