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Feat 2015: Fellowship Exhibit Artist Trust

Gayle Tice

Freelance Writer, https://www.linkedin.com/in/GayleTice

Gayle Tice

Galvanize Seattle, in Pioneer Square, is a co-working space “designed with growing tech companies in mind”. It also made a wonderful pop-up art space for the FEAT 2015: Fellowship Exhibit Artist Trust opening night party on July 31st, providing Artist Trust Fellowship recipients with a backdrop of worn brick, painted cement, and other more conventional walls. 

Galvanize was one of many satellite locations of the first Seattle Art Fair which took over the Centurylink Field Event Center July 30th – August 2nd. Artist Trust was the beneficiary of the fair, receiving proceeds from Patron VIP pass ticket purchases to further its support of individual artists in Washington State. 

Three installations from the FEAT 2015 exhibit, notable for the impression that they could never be put together quite the same way twice, were Fade by Tom Gormally (Stained Wood. 8’ x 15’ x 3’. 2014), It’s Not A Perfect World by Humaira Abid (Mahogany, Pine, Red Wood Stain. Dimensions Variable. 2015), and Within/Without Iteration 4 by June Sekiguchi (Router Cut Engineered Wood, Bamboo. 8’ x 10’ x 4’. First iteration 2012). Tom Gormally and June Sekiguchi were present at the opening and provided insight into their work.

“If anyone ever owned this, I wish once a month they would take it apart and put it back together differently,” said Tom Gormally of his work Fade. The piece has two parts, largely constructed with pegs for easy assembly and take-down. One part is a wheel that has come down with a flat, with crutches from different eras as spokes, and a crutch as a kickstand, lending stability to the tilt of the wheel. The other part is a cart containing a number of handmade crutches, no two of them identical. The artist has come to see these crutches as individual souls. The theme of the work is mobility- physical, social, and economic, according to Gormally.

He was inspired by the different forms of the crutches that he collected, but did not have the ah-ha moment where he saw them as spokes in a wheel until he injured his back and was faced with his first physical mobility challenge. The idea of a cart was inspired by “New Mexican folk art death carts,” which are of religious significance and evoke images of the movement of souls. Fade is a piece full of movement, with radiating lines and a spiky individualistic quality. It is not a piece about moving from one place to another in an orderly fashion, but rather a piece about each element proceeding in its own imperfect way.

June Sekiguchi also produced her work Within/Without during a challenging time in her life. It was on its fourth iteration during Feat 2015, having once been displayed in the window of the Seattle Art Museum. When she first produced the work, she was an artist in residence in Laos and refers to the time as “the best time in my life to do art, and the worst time in my life.” Her mother had been in an accident that she would not survive. The piece consists of gilded bamboo poles, and engineered wood circles modeled after bamboo cross-sections that are slotted to allow them to be fit together in multiple ways. There was also an element of dynamic blue lighting customized for this exhibit by Spar Wilson, a local interdisciplinary artist who “enjoys creating both digital and virtual spaces, and watching how they can be combined.” (Spar Wilson Artist Statement http://spar.cc/statement.html)

Sekiguchi wanted her work to convey the opposition that she was feeling at the time. Bamboo is a ubiquitous material in Laos, but Laos also has “highly carved, beautiful, gilded, lasting temples,” said Sekiguchi. The artist played on this by gilding the natural bamboo, and giving natural paint to the artificial “bamboo” cross-sections. Her work is also site and situation responsive: at Feat 2015 it was placed in a dark corner lit only by Spar Wilson’s light display. The arrangement of parts echoed Spar Wilson’s light display by concentrating on a bottom to top bubbling movement. One viewer who was a scuba diver described the installation as a ‘kelp forest;’ another who fancies hippie culture saw the cross-sections as peace signs and described the installation as ‘groovy.’  It was placed next to a comfortable row of seating and provided a calmer, quieter space to speak than the rest of the bustling exhibition.

Humaira Abid’s installation, It’s Not a Perfect World, was influenced heavily by the wall it was placed against. It came spilling out of the worn brick with a lone baby bottle, a little pair of shoes, and several crushed red pacifiers strewn among a pile of bricks.The wooden bricks could have been building toys and the wooden items strewn and broken in play, or something darker. That was the dichotomy of Abid’s exhibited work. Items of comfort and care, baby bottles, pacifiers, nail clippers, and safety pins were painted or splashed with red.It’s Not a Perfect World was alarming, like lost innocence; yet, it harmonized well within its space and was not made sad by its dark possibilities.