Seattle artist Nicholas Nyland has been introduced before, in single pieces here and there. But now, for his first major solo show, he invades the midcentury modern architecture of the OHGE Ltd. gallery—the brand-new space in the front of the Lawrimore Project building—with an alternative world of exuberant blobbiness and rainbow-colored geometry in a palette of cheerful to gaudy (stopping just short of pain inducing). In addition to being a painter who plays multiple techniques against one another like accomplices to make them talk, Nyland humbly pinches clay and folds paper. He is a materialist of a high order.

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The gallery is small, with two rooms, floating white walls, and a low wood ceiling. Aside from the tiny quotient of decorative fun in the pegboard behind the reception desk (a nod to the site's former incarnation as a sign company), the environment is stylishly restrained. Nyland's ceramic, paper, and papier-mâché sculptures and watercolor/acrylic/spray-painted paintings, by contrast, are sweet messes. Hedge is a pile of pinched and pulled unglazed brown ceramic bits formed into the vague shape of a hedge, an object not trying to be a hedge so much as pointing out the absurdity of anything trying to be like anything else. It's one of several sculptures—though "sculpture" sounds so much more formal than they are—set in a clump on a low table in the middle of the gallery. Each one could be held in the palm of your hand. Some look like crumpled-up balls of paper with brightly colored glazes pooled in the nooks and crannies; in others, the clay has been camouflaged by the imprinted weave pattern of canvas, so that the object reads as a torn painting. Some hang on the wall like necklaces on colored chains. They resemble ruins or Chinese scholar's rocks, flirting with the desire to be naturally occurring. They bring to mind artists as diverse as Hannah Wilke (her folded vaginal ceramics from the 1960s), Jean Dubuffet, and Anna Sew Hoy of Los Angeles.

In two dimensions, Nyland seems to fight for three. Two large paintings in the show, especially Sampler, are mashups of just about every action you can imagine a painter making, concentrated histories of seeking. A series of watercolors called Reticulum—a word meaning a network formed by hexagonal units—look like glowing X-rays. The building blocks are left empty, but their outlines glimmer and vibrate. recommended