BELLEVUE ART MUSEUM, 310 Bellevue Square, 425 454-3322.
*"Fresh Flowers"-BAM hosts an international survey of painting, sculpture, glass, video, and installation art that uses flowers and floral imagery. Curator Brian Wallace explains that the exhibition will "refer to the delicate tensions between the seductive and the disturbing-that is to the vital force lurking in the idea of beauty." In addition to international artists like Pippilotti Rist and Jack Pierson, outstanding Seattleites included are Juan Alonso, Wendy Hanson, Susan Dory, Jamie Walker, and Jeffry Mitchell. Through April 11.

THE FRYE ART MUSEUM, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250
Steven Assael -- A Decade of Drawings and Paintings is full of realist works of high drama. Slices of life like subway scenes, or the fitting of a wedding dress, share space with more formal portraits. Assael studies the ordinariness of his subjects, and the result is a dark and romantic celebration of the diversity of humanity. Through April 18.

HENRY ART GALLERY, 15th Ave NE and NE 41st St, 543-2280.
Coming to Life -- The Henry has featured a series of exhibitions focusing on the figure in art since the mid-century. This, the final installment concentrates on the figure in American art with works by Diane Arbus, Willem DeKooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Philip Guston, Lucas Samaras, and more. Through June 13.

*Josiah McElheny Renowned conceptual artist and glassblower McElheny was commissioned by the Henry to create a new installation. The result is An Historical Anecdote About Fashion which includes dresses and textiles from the Henry collection alongside the artist's glass sculpture. One is wrapped in a web of deceit upon entry into an exhibition of the fictitious possessions of Italy's Paolo Venini and his couture-clad wife. Through May 30.

Allan Sekula -- Fish Story is a perfect exhibition for Seattle -- a series of photographs examining labor, life and technology in port cities around the globe. The images are familiar, but not inviting; instead a forceful, cool examination. Through May 16.

SEATTLE ART MUSEUM, 100 University St, 654-3100.
*Chuck Close -- Washington native and UW graduate Close exhibits 80 portrait paintings spanning 30 years. He gained international fame in the 1970s with a series of large-scale non-emotional airbrushed likenesses of his artist friends and family, and has continued to capture attention by remaining true to the portrait format while exploring a wide range of techniques and mediums. Working in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and pastel paintings, lithograph, serigraph and woodblock prints, paper pulp, fingerprints, and even woven silk, Close's obsession with the face has taken him from photo-realism to figurative abstraction to minimalism. This exhibition travels here from the Museum of Modern Art. Through May 9.

*The Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection of Modern Art -- Over 100 works collected by these passionate, aggressive, and visionary Northwest collectors. See review this issue. Through May 9.

SEATTLE ASIAN ART MUSEUM, 1400 E Prospect, Volunteer Park, 654-3100.
Flights of Fancy -- Screens, scrolls, and lacquers pulled from the museum's collection in this exhibition about natural and supernatural imagery in Japanese art. Heads up for the flames of hell, dragons, cranes, horse-headed demons, and other fantastical visions, both evil and sublime. Through July 25.

WING LUKE ASIAN MUSEUM, 407 Seventh Ave S, 623-5124.
Golden Roots: Korean Americans in Washington State -- The exhibition is divided into four major sections: an overview of background history and environment, profiles of Korean immigrants and their life experiences in the US, contributions to American life, and prospects for the future. Through April 11.


JOHN ATKINS/HEATHER WERNER -- New work by local artists. Atkins is a member of the successful local band 764-HERO. Milky World, 111 Battery St, 374-0933, through March 30.

LEONARD BASKIN -- Fifty Years is a survey of sculpture, drawings, and prints. Baskin is an American great who never shies away from tackling the darker side of humanity, with subjects ranging from the holocaust to atomic radiation. Davidson Galleries, 313 Occdental Ave S, 624-4588. Opens Fri March 5, through March 27.

DEANNE BELINOFF -- Works on Mylar, paper, and wood: spinning, whirling forms by a Northwest up-and-comer. Eyre/Moore Gallery, 913 Western Ave, 624-5596. Opens Thurs March 4, through March 29.

*CRIS BRUCH -- Paper Wealth is an exhibit of two and three dimensional works in paper by a gifted mid-career Seattle artist. The exhibition -- part formal, part studio recreation, and part works in progress, gives a rounded view of a working artist, and effectively shows off his delicate and ephemeral works. Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market St, 425-822-7161. Feb 11-March 27.

THE COMMON PLACE -- Four artists, Ryan Berg, Chris Birnie, Mandy Greer, and Laura Keil, investigate the potency of everyday occurrences and familiar objects. SOIL, 310 First Ave S, 264-8061. Opens Thurs March 4, through March 28.

JOHN DIVOLA/J. JOHN PRIOLA -- A sublimely simple show of Divola's photographic installation of hallways and mirrors, and Priola's round photographic portraits of sweet objects. G Gibson Gallery, 122 S Jackson St, Suite 200, 587-4033, through March 27.

MALCOLM EDWARDS -- Rich black-and-white photographs of the Tuscany region of Italy from abandoned villas to contemporary scenes of Florence. The Underground Gallery, 214 First Ave S, Studio B-12, 340-9395, through March 30.

MARGARET FORD -- Another show of stick people. Foster/White Gallery, 123 S Jackson St, 622-2833, through March 28.

JENNIFER GARDNER -- In straightforward documentary fashion Gardner photographs personal possessions, food, and objects that stand in for other things, exploring what is real and what is not. FotoCircle Gallery, 163 S Jackson, Second flr, 624-2645. Opens Thurs March 4, through March 27.

MARY IVERSON -- Slightly surreal landscape paintings of Seattle spots. My favorite is an ant's-eye view of the dinosaur cranes at the end of Elliott Bay. LEAD Gallery, 1022 First Ave, 623-6240. Opens Thurs March 4, through March 27.

CLAY MARSH -- The Practice of Silence/Cathedra includes 14 new paintings and sculpture that deconstruct the crucifix. Kurt Litke Gallery, 318 Second Ave, 623-5082. Opens Thurs March 4, through March 27.

*CAMERON MARTIN -- Billy Howard opens his new Belltown gallery with a show of landscape paintings. Howard says of the work in The Future Lasts Forever, "Martin's paintings encourage us to consider our own sense of place and non-specific intimacy within such settings." The industrial paint used changes the appearance of the painting from various viewing angles, ranging from metallic photographic sepia tones to a dark and eerie spectrum of color. Howard House, 2017 Second Ave, 256-6399. Opens Sat March 6, through March 28.

NEW PHOTOGRAPHY -- Traditional techniques as well as photo collage, hand-tinted prints, toy camera images, and images on vintage film by seven Seattle-based artists. Zeitgeist Art & Coffee, 161 S Jackson, 583-0497, through March 28.

*POP -- This new gallery, a branch of an existing one in New York, opens with a show of later paintings and prints by artists associated with Pop Art, including Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Jim Dine, and Roy Lichtenstein. Winston Wdchter Fine Art, 403 Dexter Ave N, 652-5855, through April 10.

*PIKE POWERS -- Powers' last exhibition transformed the gallery into a circus of wonderful oddities caught in glass jars and trapped on little canvases. This time she takes us into the world of the ancient mariner. Leviathan features specimen jars filled with monstrous and fanciful creatures of the deep, and her signature tiny paintings capture a mysterious tempest. Elliott Brown Gallery, 619 N 35th St #101A, 547-9740. Opens Sat March 6, through April 3.

PROCESS -- Sincere and insincere works exploring process, by nine artists: Randy McCoy, Jean Louise Paquin, Leslie Clague, Lance Thornton, Patrick Holderfield, Jamie McMurry, Enrico Gropius, and Demi Raven. Project 416, 416 Occidental Ave S, 749-9220, through March 28.

CORDY RYMAN/ERIC CHESEBRO -- Ryman shows a new body of painted mixed media works. Chesebro is an artist whose concepts and rigorous mathematical calculations are more captivating than the resulting sculpture and drawings. William Traver Gallery, 110 Union St, Second flr, 587-6502. Opens Fri March 5, through March 28.

MARLA SWEENEY -- A look at small-town America through the eyes of an award-winning Texas-based photographer. Portraiture and landscape works. Photographic Center Northwest, 900 12th Ave, 720-7222, through March 30.

HAKIO TAKAMORI -- Northwest ceramic artist Takamori has been contractually tied up with his East Coast gallery, Garth/Clark, for years. Finally we have an opportunity to enjoy one of the great artists of our region at a Northwest gallery. His new porcelain and stoneware figures stand alone or in small groups, but still contain the surface energy of his previous vessels. Grover Thurston Gallery, 309 Occidental Ave S, 223-0816. Opens Thurs March 4, through March 27.

TRES FLORES -- Prints, drawings, and paintings by three of Mexico's leading female contemporary artists. Tule Gallery, 316 First Ave S, 748-9904. Opens Thurs March 4, through May 31.

SEAN VALE -- Abstract monotypes that are simple but not plain -- a degree of messiness adds to their appeal. Madrona Automatic, 1435 34th Ave, 329-7869. Opens Sat March 6, through March 28.

*DARREN WATERSTON -- The young and widely collected Waterston's work has taken a delightful turn with the addition of fairy-like figures. Rather than being simply beautiful, his new paintings are woven with a mysterious narrative that helps them transcend their tendency toward the decorative. Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave, 624-0770, through March 27.

*WES WEHR -- A show not to miss. Wehr, a figure in Northwest art since the grand days of the mystics, has a new body of drawings entitled Creatures I Have Known. His delicate and playful small pieces are always fresh, and are deceivingly and satisfyingly complex, with off-kilter compositions and thoughtful line work. Collusion Unlimited, 163 S Jackson, Second flr, 652-5209. Opens Thurs March 4, through April 17.

TAW WON YU -- The gifted musician (Kicking Giant), graphic designer (he's largely responsible for the look of K Records), and painter (his work has graced the cover of Built to Spill's last two albums, as well as the occasional Stranger cover) shows a series of his colorful, elegantly crude paintings. Re-bar, 1114 Howell, 233-9873, through the end of March.


Gardens of Art -- Local floral designers enhance the museum's galleries with elaborate floral creations. Lectures by Northwest gardener Ann Lovejoy (11 am) and John Loring, design director for Tiffany & Co (1 pm). Seattle Asian Art Museum, March 19. Information: 654-3122.

*The National Association of Artists' Organizations -- NAAO is holding a "town hall" meeting for the regional arts community. NAAO is an organization devoted to nurturing the next generation of artists and arts professionals ages 30 and under. The intention of this forum is to encourage dialogue between established and the future leaders of our arts community. Presented by NAAO and 911 Media Center. On the Boards, Sat March 20, 1-4pm. Information: 682-6552.


Call For Artists -- Bellevue Art Museum's 1999 Pacific Northwest Annual will be juried by Jon Tupper, Director of Walter Phillips Gallery and Associate Director of Creative Residencies in Media and Visual Arts at the Banff Center for the Arts. Submit six slides, a one-page artist's statement, and $25. Deadline is April 23. Information: 425-454-3322.

Artist Slide Show -- Every year SAM's Pacific Northwest Art Council has an evening of slides for viewers ranging from artists to curators, gallery directors, and collectors. This event is not curated, and the first 150 artists to submit are in. Deadline is March 30. For more information call the council office at 654-3119.