This is a small, quiet show that potently traverses realms of materiality and immateriality, connecting ideas about what’s seen and unseen, and what’s in-between.
It’s poetic that an art gallery named Bridge Productions is hosting an exhibition called “The Veil.” This is a small, quiet show that potently traverses realms of materiality and immateriality, connecting ideas about what’s seen and unseen, and what’s in between.
This one-room show in Georgetown marks the curatorial debut by photographer and doula Sequoia Day O’Connell, who worked with Bridge Productions founder Sharon Arnold to develop the show’s premise. In their curatorial statement, O’Connell writes that “The Veil” refers to “the boundary between our material world and the spirit world” — a permeable membrane “where life and death exist simultaneously, precariously entwined.”
There are many moments of precarious suspension and intimate intermingling in the show. Mixed-media work by four artists hang from the ceiling or accrue on the walls. The pieces are grounded in specific and suggestive uses of materials: rocks, screens, branches, glass and, most particularly, thread or string.
Two of Ko Kirk Yamahira’s large deconstructed canvases anchor the exhibition, although “anchor” is not nearly the right term to describe these hovering, sensuous objects. Yamahira — who now lives in Seattle after living in New York, London and Tokyo — unweaves canvasses, releasing the individual fibers to reveal the true nature of a form that usually plays a supporting role. In the process, Yamahira creates something new, in between two and three dimensions.
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In contrast, Seattle-based interdisciplinary artist Taylor Hanigosky uses string as support systems. But, again, that’s not quite the right term. In one piece, taut string holds rocks in midair. Bodily intuition insists that this is illogical, wrong. You can almost feel gravity pulling the rocks to the ground. But Hanigosky’s complex balancing of simple materials and positive and negative spaces is so deft and subtle that the work seems natural and right.
In another work, the aptly named “Suspend (before and after),” Hanigosky creates a delicate contraption that generates ideas about time, equilibrium and inevitability. For three days, a rock balanced on the edge of a glass panel before falling into a waiting net. The whole piece is tethered to the floor almost casually, with string wrapped, just once, around a rock, reminding us how insecure our mainstays can be.
Work by Seattle-based Markel Uriu also insists on contradiction. Uriu’s materials vary from rabbit pelts and blackberry brambles to photocopies and realistic drawings. And, as with all of the works in this show, the medium is at least part of the message.
In Uriu’s case, the compelling combination of mediums broaches the subject of how we control and construct experience, particularly our fraught relationship with the natural world. In “Old World (O. Coniculus Dominion) and (O. Coniculus Decline),” two sensitively rendered rabbits conjure associations with scientific illustration and Renaissance naturalism. Each drawing sits at the apex of a triangle composed of rabbit fur and photo scans of the skins, all of which questions hierarchies of representation and histories of invasiveness, including our own.
New York-based Charlie Crowell also mixes mediums to evoke thoughts of preservation, observation and what is natural. Crowell’s single work in the show is “Supine,” a light box layered with graphite figure drawings — of vulnerable, reclining bodies, to be precise — and taped-on, pressed wildflowers. Depending on your vantage point, the large rectangle spreading across the surface is transparent or opaque. A glance at the wall label relays that it’s a computer privacy screen, another visual and conceptual intimation of closeness and distance.
Spanning the month of August, “The Veil” invites consideration of comings and goings, endings and beginnings. It is one of those rare exhibitions that is physically small enough to allow attentiveness to every work and conceptually expansive enough to invite contemplation of what’s beyond.
“The Veil,” mixed-media art by Charlie Crowell, Taylor Hanigosky, Markel Uriu and Ko Kirk Yamahira. Noon-7 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 25; Bridge Productions, 6007 12th Ave., Seattle; bridge.productions