A review of “The Landscape Beckons,” works by Northwest artists inspired by the people and scenery of the region, at Stonington Gallery through Sept. 26.

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Stonington Gallery currently features three consummate artists, each working in a different medium, all inspired by the landscapes and inhabitants of the Northwest. Nikki McClure cuts paper; Thomas Stream paints with gouache; Joan Tenenbaum creates metal and cloisonné jewelry.

With her X-ACTO knife, Nikki McClure works on single sheets of black Japanese mulberry paper, delicately cutting what seems to be impossible detail. Surely, you think as you view her intricate images, no human hand could achieve this precision.

Each of her cut-paper works is mounted on a white background, and that superimposition offers new revelations. Leaves and branches curl just a bit, leaving their shadows on the background. Look carefully and note that she has given the images a 3-D quality.


‘The Landscape Beckons: Works by Nikki McClure, Thomas Stream and Joan Tenenbaum’

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 26, Stonington Gallery, 125 S. Jackson St., Seattle; (206-405-4040 or stoningtongallery.com).

McClure lives on the shores of Puget Sound, an environment that finds its way into her art — trees, night skies, birds, shorelines, skiffs, children. See if you can find the crabs in “Waiting for High Tide Crab Island.”

Thomas Stream, an Aleut artist and a Cornish grad, honors Aleutian Island traditions and art forms. Life on the islands is harsh; challenging seas and limited resources make life difficult, yet the Aleuts developed a technology and worldview that allow them to prosper in this unforgiving land.

Much of their traditional art takes advantage of the driftwood that is swept up on their shores. Long ago, they learned how to plank it, bend it and shape it into household and hunting objects as well as religious pieces. Chief among the spiritual pieces is their hunting hat. Through its powers they sought and achieved success in their quest for food.

There is one of Stream’s steam-bent hunting hat on display. It is notable for its shape, its vibrant colors, the ivory animal amulets and the sea lion whiskers, all of which have meaning and offer protection and success. Then, take note of Stream’s giclee prints in which each figure wears an Aleut hat.

Especially powerful are his individual birds, commanding creatures with their majestic positions and swirls of brilliant color. Their Aleut hats are painted as integral elements of their being, thus uniting human and animal as well as the spiritual and natural world.

Joan Tenenbaum began making jewelry at a young age. She also spent years studying the languages of the Athabaskan Indians and the Yupik and Inupiaq people in Northern Canada and Alaska. Throughout her research, she continued to make jewelry, refining her ability to weave culture and nature together in her exquisite pieces that incorporate gold, silver, gemstones and cloisonné. She believes that her experiences with native people helped her to imbue her jewelry with spirituality as well as beauty.

Her cloisonné birds are astonishing. Loons, owls, puffins, hummingbirds are all here, but my favorite is “Raven Moon on Water.” This striking pendant/pin shows a raven sitting on a tree, whose branches reach up through a yellow-and-orange moon. Black mountains and dark sea sit below a sky that shades from aqua to navy. It’s actually a painting in glass and metal.

This is an exhibition in which nature and culture come together in inspired fashion.