OCTOBER IS TACOMA ARTS MONTH! Moss + Mineral will be open Sat., Oct. 17, for the open-studio tour featuring painter Cathy Sarkowsky, and metalsmith Matthew Coté! October marks the 14th anniversary of Art at Work Month – a community celebration of the arts that includes more than 300 community-hosted arts and culture events, exhibits, and workshops for all ages. The festival includes music, theater and dance performances; visual art exhibits; film screenings; literary readings; lectures; cultural events; and hands-on workshops. All events are open to the public and many activities are free. Check out the lineup at TacomaArtsMonth.com.
M+M is showcasing 2 very different artists, both employing style and adornment as vehicles for exploring deeper themes of history and identity.
Seattle-based artist Cathy Sarkowsky says of her series of paintings, in/visible, “This is a very personal series. It is about vulnerability and strength, fragility and toughness, tenderness and rage….It relates to feminism and the effort to find a comfortable balance between being female, honest and real with society’s expectations and demands.
“Fashion serves to cover our bodies and to express ourselves, with canyons of possibility between those two concepts.” Read more about Cathy’s charged body of work, and how clothing reveals/conceals, in my interview with her, here. in/visible will be on view through Nov. 21, 2015.
Matthew Coté is a ridiculously talented young metalsmith who tells noir stories of Tacoma history in jewelry form. His debut collection,“The Hidden Agenda” is being extended at M+M through Oct. 17 by popular demand. Matthew plumbs the underbelly of the City of Destiny, exposing scandals and articulating his ideas on pop culture to politics in hand-rendered compositions and engraved enamels marked by their technical mastery and dark, complex narratives. Read the fascinating backstory of this show in my interview with Matthew here. His work will be on view at M+M through Oct. 17, 2015.
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In September, I rolled out a collaborative installation, LODGE(D), with Barbara De Pirro at the Surge Festival, Museum of Northwest Art. This exhibition, curated by Barbara Miller, brought together artists and environmental researchers in exploring the effects of climate change on coastal communities and ecology. Needless to say, this summer’s record-breaking heat and wildfires created a sense of immediacy as we whacked, stacked and drilled piles of wood for our project – a life-size beaver lodge. It was our privilege to consult with Dr. Greg Hood and Dr. Dave Peterson of the Skagit Science Climate Consortium about estuarine wildlife and ecology – they provided in-depth information and even levity to the grim news coming from eastern Washington, day after day.
Why beavers? Once hunted to the edge of extinction, the North American beaver is nature’s best engineer, and a keystone species whose presence improves the health and complexity of entire ecosystems. By channeling the flow of water through their hydraulic wizardry (dams, lodges, canals, pools, ponds and meadows), beavers help to expand wetlands, recharge groundwater, stabilize habitat, and provide a temperature refuge (deep ponds) for young salmon. So important is this species to wilderness ecology, that the US Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service have created a project to reintroduce it to the Methow Valley. Our installation is a tribute to the resiliency of the beaver, and its ability to adapt to environmental challenges.
After deinstalling LODGE(D) at MoNA, we transported our immense woodpile to Matkze Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park on Camano Island, where we reconfigured it into a soaring sculpture lodged in the crotch of a tree. Leaving this work made of reclaimed material to decompose in the stunning woodland setting is our way of returning to nature what belongs to her.
Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?
(By Lisa Kinoshita. Please note: Moss + Mineral is open Saturdays noon-5, and by appointment. I am frequently called to work offsite so please give a shout before visiting: 253/961-5220; http://www.mossandmineral.com. Cheers!)