• Monday, January 02, 2017 10:01 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    Simple as It Is

    The heart is lopsided as a grin

    first thing Monday morning

    at a patch of sun on the floor

    simple as it is

    barefoot being stepped in


    and at the sink the hands make

    a leaky old cup drinking from

    that wets your chin

    dribbling down your shirt front


    that only acts like it’s broken

    holding every drop you need

    and then some

    Paul Hunter

    Paul Hunter is a Seattle poet whose most recent farming book is “Stubble Field,” (2012, Silverfish Review Press).  These pieces hint at another farming collection—“One More Spring.” He has an autobiography in prose poems—“Clownery”—due in January, and is still a fair shade tree mechanic, if he works on a car with no brains.

  • Monday, January 02, 2017 10:00 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    Farming for the Answer

    Given time and space alone

    in soft dirt afoot in the field

    after the known round of chores

    what is there more could you want


    than be paid like a king when

    even now asked your opinion

    there settles a silence a pause

    as the living things of your world


    each lift their slow grazing heads

    wave all their long greening arms

    gather themselves in your presence

    and wait for the answer to come

    Paul Hunter

    Paul Hunter is a Seattle poet whose most recent farming book is “Stubble Field,” (2012, Silverfish Review Press).  These pieces hint at another farming collection—“One More Spring.” He has an autobiography in prose poems—“Clownery”—due in January, and is still a fair shade tree mechanic, if he works on a car with no brains.

  • Monday, January 02, 2017 9:57 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    Living on as if a Burden

    Toward the end of every living thing

    ripe a moment beautiful that

    decay sweetens in toward the pit


    that on the way sheds perfection

    until the skin scarcely matters

    where reluctant or fierce to be done


    its age that has borne the crumbling

    that tells mostly gone what has been

    falls away saying so far so good

    Paul Hunter

    Paul Hunter is a Seattle poet whose most recent farming book is “Stubble Field,” (2012, Silverfish Review Press).  These pieces hint at another farming collection—“One More Spring.” He has an autobiography in prose poems—“Clownery”—due in January, and is still a fair shade tree mechanic, if he works on a car with no brains.

  • Monday, January 02, 2017 9:56 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    It Matters

    Hardly anyone writes thank you notes anymore. But there are two I’ve been meaning to send. And I’ve learned to identify the feeling inside that knows when it’s not okay to send an email or text. I know there are people who say it doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t think that’s true. What’s true is that it’s easy to stop remembering what matters. 

    It’s not like I believe there is nothing like the good ol’ days, I don’t. In too many ways they weren’t. But each day I’m trying (vigorously!) to balance my embrace of change with the unwise dark, dark side of embracing too much of it, blindly. 

    I was twenty-three when I taught my first beginning adult dance class. It was an effort and a half to keep myself from moving too fast, but I always enjoyed the challenge. For recital, I chose music slow enough for students with less experience to gracefully make their way through. 

    Except, clearly, it was still too fast.

    Two of my students, Leslie and Chen, were the best sports and the worst…well, the only good thing you could say about their technique was that they tried. At recital time, I choreographed a simple sequence for them, cross walks in a circle, but who was I kidding? It would be cute for children to do this, but it was 50/50 whether people would love adults for trying, or drop their heads in pity. 

    As recital drew nearer, Leslie and Chen’s smiles tightened to mirror what they were feeling inside. When I asked if they’d like to run the ticket sales at the door instead of performing, I could tell they were as relieved as I was. “We’re all best at something,” Leslie said with her arm around Chen’s shoulders. 

    One evening I heard Leslie say to Chen, “You say she’s your friend, but when I hear you talk to her, you don’t even sound like yourself.” It was such an intimate yet dicey thing to say, I remember turning my back to give them privacy.

    “What do you mean?,” Chen said.

    “Like when you said you thought Aaron (the only man in class) was weird, just because she thinks so, when you don’t even feel that way. You love Aaron.”

    “I don’t like to make her mad,” Chen said.

    “So what if she does get mad, if it’s how you really feel? At this age, you decide one of two things, to tell the truth the way you see it. Or tell hers.” 

    I didn’t know if Leslie was referring to Chen’s mother, sister, daughter, or friend, but I guess I no longer needed to know. 

    “I’m not like you. I don’t need to be right all the time,” Chen said.

    “No, but does that mean you need to be invisible?” 

    Chen walked away. A few seconds later, she turned back to say, “You coming?” But her voice was warm when she said it. I have a photo of them taken at recital. Chen’s arms are clasped around Leslie’s back. She is peeking out from under Leslie’s right shoulder and they are both laughing. The look on their faces told me things about friendship I was just beginning to understand: that there is dependable honesty between friends…if we are lucky. 

    I suppose there are some conversations you never forget, and don’t ever want to. Leslie and Chen prepared me for a lifetime of risky truth-telling, one of the most difficult demands of all on a friendship. In that sense, they turned out to be my teachers.

    And what’s lovely is that I finally get to thank them properly. Pen to paper. Next to nothing on my part, but it matters.

    Marylou Sanelli

    Sanelli’s latest book is “A Woman Writing.” She is speaking at Town Hall Seattle (joined by dancers from Cornish College of the Arts) on April 27, 2017, 7:30 P.M. For more information, visit

  • Wednesday, November 02, 2016 9:37 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    Bronze. Aluminum. Silver, gold, and copper. Iron. Cast iron. Steel. Forged steel, mild steel, stainless steel. 

    When I first saw the theme of this year’s BAM Biennial at the Bellevue Arts Museum—“metal”—it didn’t occur to me how many variations of the material actually exist in this earthly realm. It is one of the most base materials available to artists today. Forged from the ground itself, mined and dug up and extracted from the earth, metal possesses an inherently primordial quality in its very makeup. The flip side, though, is that metal, perhaps more than any other material, conjures a sense of the metaphysical, the cosmic, the supernatural. Metal means alchemy, that ancient sorcery of transforming lead into gold. Metal means magic.

    The 49 Northwest artists included in this year’s BAM Biennial “Metalmorphosis” explore this and many more of the paradoxes intrinsic to metal. It is both liquid and solid, soft and hard, stable and malleable. Metal has a long history in this region, as local Northwest tribes have made good use of the abundance of copper here for centuries. The maritime industry in the Northwest has also helped generate a large population of metalworkers and tradesmen here. Our region has a history of exploiting the technical possibilities of metal, ultimately resulting in the establishment of the aerospace industry here in the early 20th century. 

    Functionally, metal has a history of driving technological innovation and progress. Artistically, however, historians have long been fascinated with the question of how metal in particular has driven artistic breakthroughs.

    For many artists in the show, one gets the sense that metal and its infinite possibilities and associations are driving the form. Chris McMullen’s “Haystack” is a prime example of this—the giant wall-mounted steel rods and bronze bearings come alive when you turn the crank at the bottom. Undulating and swelling in time as you crank, the piece recalls a writhing insect in its movements, a sharp departure from the mechanized heaviness of the piece in stillness. 

    For other Biennial artists, however, metal is merely means of solving a problem or visualizing an idea. Kirk Lang’s “Constellation Series” uses a light beamed onto thin metal cutouts to cast shadows on the walls behind. The metal forms rotate and move, breaking the shadow image apart and bringing it back together as gears silently crank. The mechanisms producing this movement are clearly visible, but the magic of the image produced by the shadows somehow remains otherworldly. 

    Some of the most successful pieces in “Metalmorphosis” are the ones that explore the expansive, volumetric qualities of metal. That capture its ability to be both formless and any form at all, flowing through space like soft waves as in Ruth Beer’s work, or bolstering the fortress doors of a cabinet, as in Maria Cristalli’s “Perfect External Disorder.” 

    Maria Phillips’ piece “Mapping Monotony” immediately captures your attention upon entering the exhibit, certainly in part because of its scale. But then, its texture. Incomprehensibly whispy pieces of steel dot the white wall, cascading down in tufts and patches of metal that beg to brushed and combed. When I heard another gallery-goer describe the image as “snow-covered grasses,” I did a double take. The white wall now stood in as snow, with the metal tufts reading as plant-like protrusions. That is the beauty of metal—it can take any form we dream it to be. 

    Catherine Grisez similarly explores the malleability of metal in her collection of pieces, titled “Dignifier,” “The Compromise,” and “Surrender,” which all attempt to treat copper as a kind of skin. Melting off corners and sliding down edges, the works alternately resemble gooey caramel and that weird spray-foam insulation. Grisez is able to instigate the odd feeling that comes when you can’t tell what something is made of by its form. Her forms hint  they should be something they’re not. These pieces, made out of copper, should say, “Hard.” But the forms—squishy, layered, melted-ice-cream-like shapes—say, “Soft.” 

    Many artists in “Metalmorphosis” take a different tact, drawing not on the forms of metal, but on its association with machinery and mechanization—the technology that has helped us go faster and stronger as a society. However, rather than blindly embracing this forward movement, several of the Biennial artists question whether this is necessarily “progress.” David Keyes, in his work “Classicism Fleeing the Onslaught of Modernism,” features cast-bronze classical figures being flattened by the printing press. Literally—the piece incorporates a cast iron roller from an actual 19th-century printing press. Keyes makes us wonder how much our reliance on technology and mechanization has similarly flattened our culture, reduced as we are to looking at screens.

    Andrew Fallat’s kinetic sculpture, “Novelties in Simulacra,” is beautiful in its reminder of how clumsy this technology can actually be. Metal gears, levers, and weights clank together awkwardly, in no sort of rhythm and with no clear purpose. Coming to life at random times, I was in the other room when all of a sudden I heard it begin to move and ran to see what all the ruckus was. There is something ancient and imperfect about Fallat’s work, despite the gears and pulleys pleading of their modernity. 

    Perhaps this is the ultimate beauty of metal. As much as we pull and ply it into modern forms and shapes, it will always be ancient and base. The artists in “Metalmorphosis” remind us that this material, in its infinite uses and formal possibilities, will always speak of its original home. It will always bring us back down to earth.

    Lauren Gallow

    Lauren Gallow is an arts writer, historian, and editor. You can read more of her work and learn about her immersive art project “Desert Jewels” at

    “Metalmorphosis” is on view through February 5, 2017 at the Bellevue Arts Museum, located at 510 Bellevue Way NE in Bellevue, Washington. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. For more information, visit

  • Wednesday, November 02, 2016 9:10 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    The title of this stunning exhibition at the Wing quotes from Pablo Neruda’s “Odes to Common Things” which celebrates scissors in every imaginable way including cutting clothes for people from the cradle to the grave. In “Everything has been Material for Scissors to Shape” Stephanie Syjuco, Surabhi Ghosh, and Aram Han Sifuentes, create dramatic textile-based installations that comment on history, mythology and the exploitations of commodity culture. Adding resonance to their work, Portland-based Guest Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers incorporated historical selections from the Museum’s permanent collection into the exhibition. 

    As we enter the first gallery, “A Hair’s Breath, the Unfurled Sea” by Surabhi Ghosh, forms a canopy the length of the gallery, then drops down and flows over the floor. The artist painted the homespun khadi fabric with a pattern that suggests the waves of the sea on the ground and the scales of a flying serpent above. At one end the fabric ends in a curtain of long blue threads that resemble hair.  On the wall is an unpainted Khadi bag, its raw cotton physicality reminding us that Khadi connects to Gandhi who spun it, wove it and wore it and encouraged all Indians to do the same, as a means of resistance to colonial rule. Great Britain took India’s cotton at bargain rates, then sold it back as fabric at exorbitant prices. Today, khadi has near sacred status, it cannot be sold or exported, but Ghosh managed to bring the fabric back in her suitcase. 

    While the celestial snake Ananta supports the universe above our heads, the rest of the sweeping fabric refers to a dramatic story about Draupadi, the central female figure of the Hindu epic Mahabharatha. Draupadi asks Krishna to save her honor after she is sold in a card game and forced to disrobe and dishonor herself: her sari becomes endless, the long blue threads suggest her hair that is also protecting her. Celestial serpents, magic saris, and anti colonialism, all connect in this installation. 

    Stephanie Syjuco’s self portraits “Cargo Cults (False Villager)” seem to present a young woman dressed in traditional “native” garb, while actually the artist has purchased all of her clothes and adornments from import stores like Pier I. Syjuco creates the “look” of a “native,” from the fake traditional fabrics and objects, then returns all of them to the store. Around her neck in one photograph, she wears door numbers inverted, that look like a tradition-laden symbolic necklace. The term “cargo cult” refers to post World War II Pacific Islanders who gained status by acquiring commodity items dropped on them from the sky to support troops stationed there. 

    Facing the photographs and further playing with the theme of authentic/inauthentic, baskets from the Wing collection range from ancient and valuable containers to unidentified woven baskets that might actually be cheap imports. The creative display underscores the charisma of museum techniques that can endow objects with authenticity just by means of arrangement and lighting.  

    In the third gallery, Aram Han Sifuentes created “A Mend, A Collection of Scraps From Local Seamstresses and Tailors,” 2011-2013 with the cut off legs of blue jeans. Its sagging gapping forms suggests a weak wall with holes in it, an incomplete quilt, an incomplete story. The artist collected the story of each workers who cut jeans. She listed the people that she interviewed in a small chart which outlines how many years they have been in the US, how many worked as a seamstress, their country of origin, and what work (in many cases a profession), they had in their country of origin. Also paired in this display are archival interviews with garment workers recorded by Wing Luke Museum in 2001, from textile workers in the Pacific Northwest, women who created the clothing that has made us famous. 

    Finally, an interactive exhibit offers viewers an opportunity to create their own embroidery based on historical stitches.  

    The combination of hands on activity, stunning contemporary art, and connections to Asian Pacific American history is vintage Wing Museum. The museum pioneers community-based exhibitions, chosen and curated by community members, such as the second show on display, “Naga Sheds Its Skin” about Khmer Americans, their history, their language, their contemporary presence in the United States, and the horrifying statistics on their deportations. 

    Also on exhibit is Part III of the Bruce Lee exhibitions, “A Day in the Life of Bruce Lee,” which opened on October 1. Martial artist Bruce Lee defied racism in Hollywood and in his life. His gravesite here is an ongoing shrine and performance focus for people from all over the world. (There is a new biopic about him raising new accusations of racism from his daughter).  

    Opposite the Tsutakawa Gallery, the permanent display “Honoring our Journey,” presents painful histories (best known of which is the Japanese incarceration during World War II), and contemporary culture in the US of some of the fifty- one (!) ethnic groups included in the Museum. 

    Finally there is the historical tour of the other side of the 1910 museum building, the East Kong Yick building, the preserved living quarters and cultural center for hundreds of immigrants. 

    This remarkable museum in the International District is one of my favorite destinations in Seattle, both for its remarkable contemporary art exhibitions as well as its pioneering museology techniques that engage people of all ages and backgrounds.

    Susan Noyes Platt, Ph.D.

    Susan Noyes Platt, Ph.D. is an art historian, art critic, curator, and activist. She continues to address politically engaged art on her blog

    “Everything has been Material for Scissors to Shape” is on view through April 17, Tuesday through Sunday from 10 A.M. through 5 P.M. at The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, located at 719 South King Street in Seattle, Washington. For more information, visit

  • Wednesday, November 02, 2016 9:05 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

  • Wednesday, November 02, 2016 9:04 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    All This

    I’ve learned to be wary of women who walk up to me with a frown that is not mean, necessarily, but it’s not generous either. And while the downward curve of her mouth would seem perfectly normal had I just addressed, say, terrorism, my talk was about how we can better accept and support each other. Here she comes, I think, arms locked, question loaded. I’ve triggered something. She wants to take me down a notch, there is contempt in her eyes.

    “That was cute,” she said. 

    I just stared at her. And if my mind could have abandoned my feelings, it would have. I could feel a slow hiss seeping out of my pride, like when my bicycle tire rolls over a thorn. I’d just given a talk at the State Capitol for a group of visiting writers. Cute was not what I was going for. I thank God my skin has grown thick. 

    “So, where do you see yourself going with all this?” she said.

    “All this?” I said.

    “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

    I have a limited tolerance for this generic question. I never know if it’s a need to instruct or to compete, but the two always seem joined in people like this. They can’t seem to fathom that life can be less conventional and more entrepreneurial than they know it to be. 

    I wanted to say, this is my soul you are talking about, not an investment portfolio. What you are asking is beside the point. 

    What I did say was, “It hardly matters,” and, after a pause, “because if I’ve learned anything, it’s that there is no brass ring five years from now, because there is no brass ring. ” It was one of the rare times when the words came to me without my having to wait until three in the morning. Mostly because of good advice I received from a colleague: “If you think everyone in the audience is going to be kind, you really need to consider doing something else. But if you stick with it, it’s good to have a few good comebacks up your sleeve. There is nothing more difficult than being clear and honest when you are taken aback.”

    Now, I wish I’d also said: “You know what? When I’m putting myself out there, I’m not the least bit concerned with five years from now, or even tomorrow. I have to be wholly in the present to be effective.”

    Today, I’m lucky to know people who’ve been at this business of writing and speaking much longer than I have, who get paid far more than I ever will. (I can still hope!) And I’m always surprised when, in the green room, they seem just as worried as I am that they will, to quote one, “flounder like a fish and sink like a stone.” 

    I once had so much to prove—to others, to myself—but not anymore. Now, I just want to be around people who find meaningful work reward enough, who have carved out careers with everything they have, raked their insides raw with the effort, who know what it takes to create a creative life, who understand that having work we love is “all this.” And much more. 

    Because the moment is all we have. And it’s everything, all at once.

    But there will always be the naysayer who wants to snatch it from us because, I suspect, they haven’t had one of their own to celebrate in far too long.

    Marylou Sanelli

    Sanelli’s works as a writer and literary speaker. Her latest book is A Woman Writing. She is speaking at Town Hall Seattle on April 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm. Visit her website at

  • Monday, July 11, 2016 5:13 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    Nothing is as it seems in “Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration” at the Schack Art Center in Everett. First, although Close has spent his entire career creating art based on close up frontal portraits, the exhibition is not about portraiture. Second, the subjects of these portraits, his friends, matter little: we see the same faces over and over frozen in time. Third, super-realism, Close’s 1980s “label” as a contemporary artist, also sends us in the wrong direction.  

    To understand and enjoy this show, start with the odd looking “jigsaw woodblock” hanging on the wall near the entrance. Each large piece is a different color. It provides an immediately understandable example of the imaginative approach to traditional techniques and processes — that is the real subject of the show. The jigsaw woodblock, together with other techniques, leads to a dizzying centrifugal woodcut portrait of the artist Lucas Samaras, a proof with fauve colors almost obliterating the face. Although Close begins with a photograph, he departs from photorealism in every imaginable direction. In the case of the jigsaw woodblock, he challenged master printmaker, Karl Hecksher, to create a print from a multicolored painting. Frequently the experiments in printmaking, as in the case of the jigsaw woodblock, come from master printmakers endeavoring to realize Close’s intense and original concepts. Thus the term “collaboration” in the title of the exhibition. 

    “Keith/Mezzotint,” 1972, Close’s first print, presents a seventies guy (big eyeglasses, hair sweeping over forehead), but the fragments of the portrait nearby reveal the intricacy of each detail of the face. When Close created this large print in the early 1970s, the old master medium of mezzotint was out of fashion. Even as an emerging young artist, Close always decided to take a challenging path, turning away from his facility as a painter, a colorist, and an abstract expressionist. In the late 1980s, when he was struck with paralysis, that state of mind saved his career and enabled him to continue to work in ever more complex experiments in media and process. 

    Chuck Close was born and grew up in Everett, Washington, but this exhibition marks the first time his works have been shown there. Created in 2003 in collaboration with curator Terrie Sultan, “Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration,” has traveled the world. The Schack Art Center version spans from 1972–2014. 

    Included in the exhibition are almost 90 wood cuts, silkscreens, lithographs, paintings, tapestries as well as test charts, pulp paper samples, linoleum, and a brass “shim” to create one of my favorite prints, “Georgia,” 1984. Made of air dried handmade paper, its texture suggests an offbeat experiment, inspired, according to the curator, by an accident of chunks of pulp paper falling on the floor. Each segment of the metal shim is labeled with a number referring to the many toned gray scale in the print. 

    Every accident is an opportunity for Close. 

    The exhibition distinguishes European oil-based printmaking, used for “Lucas” and “ukiyo-e” water based prints. (I have always thought that the term ukiyo-e referred only to the subject of pleasure women in Japan). Yasu Shinbata took three years to create 120 color woodblocks for the print based on the oil portrait of “Emma” from 2002. You can see a few of the woodblocks in the exhibition. 


    The tapestries also amaze. Called Jacquard tapestries, they combine the automated loom, created in the late 18th century by Joseph-Marie Jacquard, with contemporary data and electronics to create stunningly subtle tapestries in gray scales as well as a five hundred color self portrait of the artist. 

    One of the joys of the exhibition is that it demands that we slow down and immerse ourselves in order to grasp its complexities. Simply looking closely at a single print, such as “Alex, Reduction Block,” 1993, which has a long backstory about the process, I found myself mesmerized by the fine details. In a way, they are a return to the abstraction that Close rejected so early in his career. 

    Be sure to go to the back of the last wall upstairs to see the woodburytype prints, a luscious black and white process that predates photography.

    Dive in and take your time. Explore. Chuck Close never stops exploring, and here is your opportunity to join him in that adventure.  

    Susan Noyes Platt, Ph.D.

    Susan Noyes Platt, Ph.D. is an art historian, art critic, curator, and activist. She continues to address politically engaged art on her blog

    “Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration” is on view through September 5, Monday through Friday from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Saturday from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., and Sunday from noon to 5 P.M. at the Schack Art Center, located at 2921 Hoyt Avenue in Everett, Washington. For more information, visit

  • Monday, July 11, 2016 4:37 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

    On a quick road trip from Bainbridge Island to Roslyn, I had the pleasure of visiting the studio and darkroom of Glenn Rudolph.  As we sat on the deck and drank almost too much coffee, we geeked-out on old school shoptalk; films and their processing, 50 year old medium format cameras, optical qualities of German lenses, and where all roads photographic lead, to the Light. 

    “I’ve always been fascinated by the transitional light of the Northwest climate. Combining this with real-life props makes the world an interesting place to work,” said Rudolph.

    His work is non-fiction, close in spirit to documentary film, but he conjures much more than the facts. “I feel like I am still part of the WPA photo project from the thirties, with a twist of Constable, Turner, Ryder, Blake, Giorgioni, Titian, and the entire history of Western painting mixed in.” 

    And then we moved from the deck to the workspace to look at the series of images headed to an exhibit at Gallery One in Ellensburg, “Are We There Yet?” 

    Rudolph began photographing the Milwaukee Railroad about 30 years ago. The Milwaukee was the last transcontinental railroad to reach the West Coast in 1908. The western division was torn out and sold for scrap in 1980. “I was curious where it ran. It had a distinct look with its trolley poles marching all the way to Harlowton, Montana.” 

    Describing his work, Gallery One Executive Director Monica Miller states “Using light as his primary medium, Glenn has captured the story of the disappearing railroad and the people and objects that coexist with the spaces left behind.”

    These days Rudolph is more likely to run into mountain bikers than hobos when he and his wife walk the grade near Cabin Creek or Beverly. The biker’s eyes widen when he gives them a short history of where they are riding. These incredible images are sure to open your eyes to that history too, making your next hike or road trip in the area that more meaningful.

    John Holmgren’s body of work uses rivers and man-made structures to highlight boundaries. Through his photo-montages we rediscover our relationship with the natural environment. We are taken on an expedition to somewhere, sometimes unidentifiable yet always defined.


    In collaboration for the past two years with Nick Conbere, “River Relations: A Beholder’s Share of the Columbia River Dams” investigates the presence and impact of hydro-electric dams on the Columbia River. They ask how aesthetic relationships can offer compelling ways to consider human construction that alter natural forces, re-shaping the flow of a river. 

    I asked about their influencesin this layered/collaborative approach. Holmgren stated, “We are inspired by a variety of past works that interpret landscape and experience, ranging from 19th century Romanticist paintings to documentary photography and historic cartography. Our collaboration documentation and interpretation aims to explore parallels among various places and histories along the river, suggesting patterns and relationships, and facilitating documentary, metaphor, and allegory in considering the presence of the dam.”

    Holmgren takes the photographs and Conbere adds the drawings, line, and language. This is a fascinating approach to multi-layered, narrative work. Two artists, collaborating in different mediums, on the same page.

    Not surprisingly when I asked him if he had any particular affinities with contemporary artists he said, “Robert Rauschenberg and Mark Klett,” while emphasizing that he was more influenced by writings about water and the sciences.  

    The works of Glenn Rudolph and John Holmgren/Nick Conbere give new ways to enter into the history and geology of our region.

    Upstairs in the Eveleth Green Gallery, a group show of travel photography includes local and international sites taken by photographers from this region including Nick Bosso, Styler Crady, Lynn Harrison, Chris Heard, Philippe Kim, Ona Solberg, and Laura Stanley. 

    Chris Heard and I had something in common, we both studied with Henry Wessel Jr. “He taught me so much about photography, yet encouraged me to do my own thing which was, and always has been, more landscape oriented,” said Heard. He kept his approach to the landscape very simple with 35mm black and white film, then interpreting what he sees through digital processing and printmaking, using fine art papers and glazes. “As I create my prints, I am more in mindof the drawings of Georges Seurat and traditions of mezzotint prints than I am in the process of traditional photographic imaging.” 

    A drive to Ellensburg to see “Are We There Yet?,” most likely is sure to lead to many more road trips with fresh eyes on Washington State history and geology.

    Joel Sackett

    Joel Sackett is a photographer and writer living and working in the Northwest. 

    “Are We There Yet?” is on view through July 30, Monday through Friday from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. Saturday from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M., and Sunday from noon to 4 P.M. at the Gallery One Visual Arts Center, located at 408 N Pearl Street in Ellensburg, Washington. For more information, visit 

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