• Saturday, October 06, 2012 1:54 AM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)
    I write this because of someone I witnessed earlier today. Or maybe all the other long-forgotten incidents flashed through my mind because of her, I don't know. Either way, I just have to get it down.

    I've been teaching a series of dance workshops, from Seattle to Poulsbo to Port Angeles to Olympia, and many towns in between. This morning, one mother insisted on watching her daughter take my class. I don't allow this and promptly said so. "I just thought I could help my daughter remember what she learns today," is what she said, indignantly, on her way out the door.

    If help of this nature is supposed to make kids apply themselves more, I can say from experience it doesn't work.

    When I owned a dance studio and wanted, more than anything else, to teach young students how to trust their own perfect minds and bodies, I had to put my foot down: "Parents are allowed to watch only the first class of the month." read the sign on my door.

    Because some of the mothers? You would not believe (only now there is a reality show, so you would). No self control. Absolutely none. Their own insecurities rose right up, landing on their child's self-esteem. I could see how they really did struggle with it, knowing they were over the top, but it rarely stopped them for long.

    It got so I could spot these parents on registration day. Visually, they were more and more like a warning, a manifestation, what unrealized and/or unattempted goals and dreams can become. How people can age, then age some more, without ever accomplishing something of their own to be proud of. Maybe they woke up one morning and found they were no longer able to focus on their career and couldn't adjust to the reality. Or maybe they never attempted a creative one and feel cheated somehow. I knew these outbursts were hungers that, on another level, weren't directed at their kids so much as at life at large. Pent up, they had no where else to pop but in my studio. I think this is what's really going on.

    I also think these women would stop interfering if they were able to get past seeing their kids as a chance they had been given. No kid wants to be their parent's way of reaching for more, of gaining something else.

    It seems I've described the worst case dance-parent. There were others, lots of others, who were encouraging, supportive, positive. But my signboard couldn't be selective or the meanies would have come down on me, I was pretty sure of that.

    "Your child may be learning a few dance steps here, but you are keeping your child from taking a huge leap forward if you comment from the sidelines. What does your child want from class? The opposite of everything you want, just like when you shop for clothes together."

    This is the sign I should have hung. Never mind the objections. Why didn't I? What we'd do over if only we could, right?

    Mary Lou Sanelli

    Sanelli's works as a writer and speaker. Her latest book is Among Friends.
  • Saturday, October 06, 2012 1:50 AM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

  • Friday, October 05, 2012 4:56 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)
    In tandem with Seattle Art Museum's "Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou" exhibit, Greg Kucera Gallery is featuring "Ladies' Choice," a show wherein every female gallery artist has chosen a female artist from outside the gallery to exhibit alongside them. 

    Ross Palmer Beecher chose Marita Dingus, Loretta Bennett chose Qunnie Peltway, Claudia Fitch chose Sheila Klein, Victoria Haven chose Dawn Cerny, Susan Skilling chose Claire Cowie, Katy Stone chose Leona Christie while Lynne Woods Turner chose work by Leonie Guyer, Deborah Butterfield chose Mary Ann Kelly.

    There seems to be a spirit of patronage and admiration between women artists that didn't exist even a few decades ago when there were still such few slots for females in the art world.

    "I remember not even that long ago," says photographer Alice Wheeler who is represented by Kucera, "Guerrilla Girls came to Seattle and there were less than 10% women artists being represented by major art galleries. Greg Kucera has always been very forward, he has almost always had like about a fifty-fifty ratio between men and women artists in his galley. When I first started hanging art almost all of the people I showed with were guys. Previous to Greg Kucera people often said that they were including me because they needed a woman in their show. So at least now I’m known for my work instead of my gender."

    Wheeler, recognized for her images of what she calls "street stuff," is submitting a large photograph of an all-pink woman she saw and shot in Pioneer Square named Princess Bubble Gum. Her artist of choice is photographer Kelly O., who The Stranger newspaper describes as their "staff photographer, music writer, Drunk of the Week columnist, and more!" 

    Kucera artist Deborah Butterfield enthused about her choice of Montana artist Mary Ann Kelly via telephone after driving 10 hours from Bozeman, Montana to the Walla Walla Foundry where she is preparing for a show at LA Louver Gallery. 

    "We've known Mary Ann for 37 years and have been together through lives and deaths and births and forest fires," says Butterfield; "I think what draws me to her work. . . you know, we live in Montana in the mountains and so for us nature really is what we deal with every day. . .things like shoveling snow and dealing with large predators. . .we really do address that every day and I think the gestural quality in both of our works kind of addresses the human scale within that huge context. The gesture for me is what I can pick up and stuff into a horse (laughs) and the gesture for Mary Ann is really more within her arms reach. I feel that we're struggling, excited, and responsive to both the structure of nature and then the gesture within that structure. I think her use of color is so strong; the works are lyrical and they’re sensual. She hasn’t had much exposure out of Montana."

    Gallery artist Sherry Markovitz chose one of Allison Manch's embroidered works on cloth. 

    "I like Allison's attitude and use of materials," writes Markovitz; "I like her choice of subject matter and how she weaves her history into her work. . .her imagery has evolved. She has been embroidering images of the Southwest and text from songs."

    Markovitz is represented by "Warm Up," a large gouache on cotton. She uses images of both traditional western dolls, dolls that represent folk traditions, and dolls with profound expressions which she animates. Her most recent paintings are of traditional Mexican paper mache dolls in various acrobatic postures. 

    "I feel," writes Markovitz, "that as long as women are oppressed in some way around the world there is a need to highlight women's work. It can only be empowering." 

    Kucera Gallery artist Margie Livingston chose work by Seattle's witty Debra Baxter. 

    "Debra's work hits me with a sense of longing that feels fresh," says Livingston; "I also like the way she works with an extensive range of materials without feeling gimmicky. From paint to powder puffs and everything in between including quartz, alabaster, words, video, mirrors, and cypress knees." 

    Debra has described her use of crystals as "a way to transform vulnerability into power and also to embrace vulnerability as a type of power."

    When did Livingston first see Baxter’s work?

    "In 2003, Debra was sewing powder puffs together to make clouds. I don't remember where it was, but at over three feet long they were stunning, memorable, funny, sad, and feminine," says Livingston.

    Currently, Livingston is "finishing up several objects made out of paint that blur the line between painting and sculpture. These include a block of paint that weighs over 50 pounds, a grid of 90 color tests, a log of paint that was cut into an 8-foot post, and a folded painting. You’ll be able to see some of them at Greg Kucera in October, in the Bellevue Arts Museum Biennial, and in Miami Beach for the December art fairs." 

    Deborah Butterfield sums up the sentimentof the show: "There's strength, you know, in being female. I mean, having babies and stuff - it's scary. It's life and death and I think that comes through in our work." 

    Saylor Jones

    Saylor Jones is a Seattle writer and illustrator. Her floral watercolors are exhibited at Mioposto Restaurant from October 3 to December 3. To view her work, visit

    "Ladies' Choice" is on view November 15 through December 29 at the Greg Kucera Gallery, located at 212 Third Avenue South in Seattle, Washington. The opening reception is on November 15, from 6 to 8 P.M. and the First Thursday reception is on December 6, from 6 to 8 P.M. For more information visit

    "Ladies' Choice," is shown in conjunction with "Elles: SAM" exhibit at Seattle Art Museum. Visit Seattle Art Museum's website for list of all the exhibits and events.
  • Monday, April 09, 2012 12:07 AM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    "The way I see it," Keith says, "if you have a wedding to plan, you shouldn't have to do any other work for months!"

    I've seen Keith in action. He's a professional choreographer. I'm pretty sure he'll compose his wedding much like he would a dance. He's not going to measure the stage, he's not going spend big on costuming, he's not going to mark the lines of sight with stage tape. He's going to choose the most amazing music and believe!

    "And you know how Mike is." (Mike is Keith's partner of twenty years.) I nod.

    Mike is a lot like my husband. Can't remember a thing. My three ways of asking him to do something are voice, triple emails, followed by threats.

    "I can't leave any of the details up to Mike other than he better find a pair of acceptable earrings. Preferably, two 14 karet balls." Keith winks.

    Again I nod, a little more eagerly this time because I, too, married a fourth-generation WASP. Always the writer, I think of our coupling like so: I am the exclamation point, Larry is the comma. Unless a tragedy occurs, then, for whatever reason, we switch. But normally, you should not expect too much emotion from a comma. (Oh, the words I've used over the years to distinguish between us. Does the whole world, gay or straight, fall in love with their opposite?)

    Keith and Mike are off to their home state of New York to wed.

    Keith and Mike, two men that are part of something much larger than themselves, making history through acceptance, moving on, refusing to conceal their love. Maybe it's because I've watched them work it out for so many years that their marriage feels more like the great BIG check mark for our country that it is.

    "Why does it even feel so important to say the two silly words: I do?" Keith asks. "Because if you've been together long as we have, everyone knows it’s more like I do NOT. Especially when it comes to yard work." We clink glasses.

    When Keith is finished telling me all about the wedding, I hold his two hands safely in my own and kiss him on the cheek. He kisses me back and gives me another wink. "Bella." Every time he calls me this, I fill with the most satisfying sense of well-being and I'm grateful this kind of intimacy is easy between us, part of our whole splendid package.

    After two decades together, Keith and Mike still hold hands.

    Even at the grocery.

    Keith and Mike. They don't have a lot of money. Love is the thing they have, and they have plenty.

    Everyone else, in fact, should be so lucky.

    Mary Lou Sanelli

    Mary Lou Sanelli’s latest book is Among Friends. Check out Sanelli's website for upcoming spring appearances by the author.

  • Thursday, October 06, 2011 2:50 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

  • Thursday, October 06, 2011 1:25 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    “A lot of the work in this show is very loosely a reaction to the whole BP oil spill. It brought up feelings of helplessness and ‘what’s going to happen’? So many ambivalent feelings undefined not necessarily stuff I haven’t thought about before, but it just kind of brought those feelings and concerns to the surface,” says John Feodorov.

    We laugh at his unintentional pun.

    A painting 72 by 72 inch entitled “Emergence #3” depicts three heads rising from pipes and fish that in turn emerge from a black slick of oil. The heads have their mouths open much like that guy in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” These folks could well be BP executives making up excuses as to why their Deepwater Horizon off shore drilling rig failed. 

    When I ask about his wide use of mediums he replies, “It just depends on the best media for the idea. Sometimes I do video. I also do music so it really kind of depends on the best format. Right now what I’m thinking and doing seems to come out better as paintings.”

    In a large acrylic and photo collage on unstretched canvas entitled “The Way Things Are,” getting ideas across appears more important than getting all fussy with paint. This honest quality adds urgency, as if a consciousness is trying to warn us about ourselves pronto. The painting could be saying with images that every living thing across this land is only a target for ego-driven, greedy brains undefined a truth many of us keep our selves too ‘busy’ to do much about. 

    Part Native American, Feodorov grew up in a California suburb and spent summers at his grandparent’s homestead in the Navajo Nation of New Mexico. What a mind-bender to have traveled between two such disparate worlds that our country, even after a few hundred years, has yet to mingle. 

    Feodorov was featured in the famous “Art21: Art for the Twenty-First Century” series on PBS in the Spirituality episode. Although his art in the documentary comments directly on Native traditions, the artist resists being pigeonholed.

    “I don’t really think of it as Native American work. . .it’s certainly part of me and part of who I am and my experience and my world view. I am coming to that world view not so much as an adherent of those traditional values because the cat’s kind of out of the bag in terms of assimilation and all that. I was raised in the suburbs of California not on the reservation so my sense of the world is pretty much shaped by Gilligan’s Island.”

    We compare our favorite Gilligan’s Island episodes. Mine is the one where radiated vegetable seeds wash up in the lagoon and are planted and eaten to extreme effect, whereas Feodorov’s favorite is when Gilligan as Hamlet sings “To be or not to be” to Carmen’s Habenera. 

    Feodorov would dig a television show that deals with Shakespeare, an artist who created his own mythology. 

    “A lot of my work for so many years,” says Feodorov, “has been about what sort of mythology the contemporary world requires if there is going to be any mythology at all? I mean do we just count on the same old nostalgic kind of classical examples? And in many ways I am not proposing a mythology so much as showing how trying to do that just kind of fails. I don’t know the answer to my own question and so everything I do is sort of pre-determined to fail (laughs).”

    Speaking of the new paintings and lithographs in the exhibit, curator Jean Benhke says, “I respond to [John’s] inventive process, using what is at hand, both in terms of material and iconography, finding origins in his own personal history. John’s work makes no apologies and in a refreshing way gets in the face of the viewer and asks real questions about ‘the way things are’.”

    With so many people out of work, doesn’t right now seem like the ideal time for a multi-medium revolution?

    Saylor Jones

    Saylor Jones is an illustrator and writer living in the Northwest. 

    “The Way Things Are” is on view October 7 through November 19 at Anchor Art Space which is located at 216 Commerical Avenue in Anacortes, Washington. A Reception for the Artist is being held on Friday, October 7, from 6 to 9 P.M. Feodorov is presenting an an Artist’s Talk on Saturday, November 5, call for details. The gallery is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. and by appointment. For more information please call (206) 919-3893, email, or visit the website

    View Feodorov’s artwork at his website:

    Listen to his music:!/johnfeodorov

    Watch the Art21 episode he is in:

  • Thursday, October 06, 2011 1:21 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    Late August came with wet skin, rain, and heavy sun.

    This being the last times of many firsts for us,

    We plucked the glossy berry from the stem.

    You told me not to eat the first one, savor it for later’s pie.

    We envied the berries color, like the thickness of wine,

    Leaving stains on our own skin, tongues: the lust of picking.

    Our mother’s good bowls ran with juice and using our skirts as baskets,

    We searched and gathered even when the tins were full.


    While picking we talked about boys.

    The rain ran down our skin, August showers forgave us.

    The thorns of lovers, past, present, or distance, peppered

    Our skin as we plucked the darkest of the fruit.

    The nectar was sticky sweet, our conversation never turned sour.

    Unturned berries in the bowls; red, green, hard ones, left behind.

    The lust in these berries is jealous of you. The fullness of your hips.

    Purple blooms across our hands and lips as we gather.

    Beautiful, rich fruit, with August’s sun divided between you too.

    Summer’s blood. Soaked into our flesh.

    Roseanne McAleese

    Roseanne McAleese is a celebrated poet, spoken-word artist, actress and filmmaker whose first and upcoming book is called, Strong. Female. Character.

  • Sunday, March 27, 2011 8:47 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)
    Some time around the turn of the 20th century, Art and Physics began having a race to see which one was more bizarre. Up until then, those two never ran in the same neighborhood, much less on the same track. Weirder still is the fact that for the past few decades, they have been running neck and neck. Lucy Pullen, happily, is playing for both teams.

    As any Weird Science and Art Project should do, Pullen’s show at the Henry Art Gallery takes place in two places at once, like a pair of parallel universes singing to each other across separate floors of the museum. The first one, "Spark Chamber," is just inside the front entrance in the small space on the right of the front desk. The other, "Cloud Chamber and Related Works," lives two floors below.

    Cosmic rays are not simply Pullen's primary subject matter, they’re her collaborators as well. Just like ideas, cosmic rays are invisible. And they also have a tendency to go off in their own random directions, wherever they please, refusing to acknowledge what we consider impassable boundaries. But just as ideas reveal themselves in the works of art they inspire, the cosmic rays that visit Pullen’s cloud chamber reveal themselves in spectacular little contrails that appear out of nowhere and spiral off out of control, like tiny spaceships, unpiloted and perhaps disabled after an epic star battle. Or maybe they're just joyriding.

    I vividly remember the first time I saw a cloud chamber, in a scratchy black and white movie in my fifth-grade science class. After first learning that the subatomic world was infinitely tiny and invisible I was delighted to discover that their movements could be detected in the contrails they made in the enclosed and frozen mists of a cloud chamber. That delight and euphoria returned in a great rush as I gazed down into her beautiful but slightly forbidding aluminum, steel, and glass polyhedron chamber, past the six-sided rings of eerily blue UFO-style lights into the bottomless and infinite darkness where the cosmic rays came to play. Wow. Like all consciousness-altering experiences, this one is really hard to quit. I’m not sure how long I stayed there lost in space, but in relative terms, it was a kind of eon.

    When I finally did tear myself away, I spent some time in the so-called real world, looking at "Architecture of the Atmosphere," a series of prints done with non-reprographic blue pigment, that encircles the "Cloud Chamber." These many versions of the view outside Pullen's apartment are no less mysterious and strange than "Cloud Chamber," especially in the way they break down trees, sea, sky, clouds, rain, and the distant landscape into their component parts, revealing what was once invisible. I even spotted the Loch Ness monster, an invisible object that's exists somewhat more on the macro side of things. Go look yourself if you don’t believe me, but go look at it all in any case. Pullen's work is revealing and breathtaking on every level.

    Kathleen Cain

    Kathleen Cain is a Seattle-based writer and bibliophile who follows art and routinely defies gravity.

    "The Cloud Chamber and Related Works" by Lucy Pullen is on view through June 26 at the Henry Art Gallery, located at 15th Avenue NE & NE 41st Street in Seattle, Washington. For more information, please visit the website or call (206) 543-2280.

  • Sunday, March 27, 2011 8:39 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

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