Shortly after I moved back to the Pike/Pine corridor, I started noticing how this little storefront next to Sal's Barbershop had really interesting things to look at. I’d walk past hurriedly on my way to somewhere else and make a mental note to come back, but every time I came back I had to peer in the window because chances were I was late to another thing and I’d curse under my breath for lack of time. It’s the story of my life, the need to slow down.
I remember one particularly arresting show of portraits I wanted to inspect more closely, and I also remember noticing every time I walked by there were people hanging out together, inside and out, laughing—obviously a tight knit group. I remember feeling a sense of approval, that this is what places showing art should be like. Well that gallery is called pun(c)tuation, and you really need to spend some time there and this is why (and I'm an out-of-practise blogger so this is a total ramble):
In the last couple of years, Capitol Hill has forged a small art presence, on the edge of what I hope is a boom. Grey Gallery (now on hiatus) was the first, followed by Vermillion, to combine efforts of a community hangout (read, BAR), gallery space, and music. I agree with this strategy and want more. While Grey is gone for the time being, the combined efforts of Amanda Manitach and the folks at The Living Room have brought art to their intimate high-ceilinged space with their first opening, It Is Happening Again, a solo show by Joey Veltkamp. And while Crawl Space is now a distant memory, Ghost Gallery has revived what I found to be an awkward but endearing space to have a show; complete with enclosed lawn, people spilling out into the street, and an impromptu barbeque.
Which brings us back to pun(c)tuation. It’s an artist’s cooperative, opened November of last year, and seems to find that beautiful combination of fine art, craft, and folk roots to bring us colorful, intricate, process-based works by artists. Their statement says simply:
A co-operatively owned mixed use space
Focused on sustainable consumption
A home to all seekers of good taste
Incubator for Making and Doing
We are here to do one thing and one thing only: Share
I like this newly surfacing verbiage, of calling one’s self a maker, a tinkerer, a cobbler. It’s come to my attention through various conversations that while we understand we’re artists making art, it doesn’t always sit very well, nor does it taste quite right. When confronted with that prickly question of “what do you do” and answering “I’m an artist” I have to find some negotiable way of also saying “no, I’m not a painter or a sculptor, I make large scale paper shit that hangs from floor to ceiling made to look like soft fur but that also feels slightly dangerous and before you ask, no, nothing ever sells” and that’s a cumbersome way to introduce yourself. Rather perhaps I could say “I’m a maker of things”.
So this month’s featured maker is Stacey Rozich, a local artist with Slavic roots. Her imagery is rich and intriguing in the way that only creatures from the dreams Croatia can be. Sparking a memory, her work is evocative of another Slavic-inspired artist, Rachel Budde, who’s pro-cum-ant-agonists have become ever darker, bleeding over the fringe of our subconscious if only to remind us that those monsters are real and actual mirrors of ourselves. The difference is just that – Rozich’s creatures are more friendly reflections; perhaps ourselves in costume as more sinister archetypes. They cross over with Gala Bent’s strange menagerie; they bear two or too many legs, fur, aren’t quite right but aren’t terrifying beasts of the psyche.
Rozich’s own pull towards the irresistible allure of creatures and folklore has led her to pursue images and stories outside of the former Yugoslavia and delve into the worlds of Russia, Scandanavia, West Africa, and Native American mythology. Through her work, we see the threads which combine the elements of human fears, dreams, and storytelling.
Perhaps reminders are simply there to gently inspire us to do or be better, and don’t need to be so frightful as to make us look away. In sensing my own trend towards faerie tale inspired mythology and folklore, I’ve noticed a pull towards the quietly abject: long soft falls of hair, patterned swaths of fur, triangles for teeth, and a consistent recurring theme of danger belied by beauty. I don’t really know why so many of us are going there but I know it’s frankly irresistible.
Patterns of Renewal by Stacey Rozich opens tonight at Pun(c)tuation, 8pm-11pm @ 705A East Pike Street, Seattle WA 98122 and will be up through August 18 2010