*Hey! Many galleries close between mid-December and early January. The Stranger recommends that you call before making art-viewing plans during this time.*
FRYE ART MUSEUM
704 Terry Ave, 622-9250
REPRESENTING L.A.: PICTORAL CURRENTS IN CONTEMPORARY SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WORK
An exhibition of California representational art that opens up the term "realist" to welcome work all along the spectrum from the very real to the conceptual, portraiture to landscape, narrative to still life. There's work by 70 artists--Alison Saar, Enrique Martinez Celaya, and Jim Morphesis among them--in this, the first show to conceptualize and gather together work in this stylistic vein. Through Feb 11.
Prints that combine the techniques of etching, silkscreen, embossing, and collage. Tift's realm is everyday objects, rendered with an Asian feel. Through Feb 4.
HENRY ART GALLERY
15th Ave NE at NE 41st St, 543-2280
BEYOND NOVELTY: NEW DIGITAL IMAGERY
An interesting little one-room show featuring artists who work with digitally manipulated images, some of them quite stunning. This is the logical extension to the question that photography poses about truth-telling, and about trusting what you see. Through Feb 4.
GRAPHIC DESIGN IN THE MECHANICAL AGE: SELECTIONS FROM THE MERRILL C. BERMAN COLLECTION
Covering the years around and between the World Wars, a time when design as we know it was born and really began to influence the way important information was seen; the styles that developed during that period still have currency today. Everything--the posters, the books, the ephemera--seems so elegant, and so powerful. Through Feb 18.
An installation designed and controlled by digital technology, and meant to change, or at least challenge, our ideas about the space contained by a gallery, as well as the use of technology in art. Developed by a group of artists with the support of CARTAH (the UW Center for Advanced Research Technology in the Arts and Humanities), Terraform contains a computer-generated structure that creates a new topography for the gallery, plus projected light, sound, and video. Through April 19.
*UTA BARTH: IN BETWEEN PLACES
Barth is the best thing ever to happen to the still life. She returned the truth to the phrase, highlighting both stillness and life in her photographs of the places people tend to ignore. Corners, door frames, fields, light moving across the floor--these peripheral areas are events in Barth's eye. This, the first museum survey of her work, features photographs from her famously blurred series Ground and Field, as well as her latest projects, nowhere near and ...and of time. Through Jan 21.
NORDIC HERITAGE MUSEUM
3014 NW 67th St, 789-5707
TREES OF LIFE
This set of three installations by local artist Steve Jensen shows masks the artist created with kids from the Ballard community, wood sculpture, and a series of funeral boats. Jensen draws on both natural and mythological symbols to connect with his Norwegian ancestors. Through Jan 28.
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM
100 University St, 654-3100
CREATING PERFECTION: SHAKER OBJECTS AND THEIR AFFINITIES
An exhibition examining the Shaker culture through its furniture, textiles, and tools, as well as photographs, prints, and drawings. A selection of non-Shaker objects shows the influences absorbed, and rejected, by this simplicity-embracing group; an adjacent display of modern works traces a similarly strict formalism that artists use to create structure in the chaotic modern world. Through April 29.
*LANGUAGE LET LOOSE
A tiny little exhibition on the incorporation of text into the visual world. The show's centerpiece is Gary Hill's video installation House of Cards; there's also work by Walker Evans, Ed Ruscha, Alice Wheeler, and a set of Robert Heinecken's Recto/Verso pieces, complete with intelligent but unrelated commentary. Through April 29.
GINNY RUFFNER: MIND GARDEN
As part of the Documents Northwest/PONCHO Series, Ruffner has transformed a gallery into a metaphorical map of the brain, using dried rose petals, steel, and glass. Through Feb 25.
*JOHN SINGER SARGENT
This show, curator Trevor Fairbrother's swan song, pulls together an extensive representation of the work of Sargent, the premier portrait artist of his period (1856-1925). Included are a dozen of his famous portraits of the Wertheimer family, along with a good deal of his less famous works: his charcoal studies of male nudes and the watercolors he produced near the end of his life. Through March 18.
SEATTLE ASIAN ART MUSEUM
1400 E Prospect St, Volunteer Park, 654-3100
THE ART OF PROTEST
Social and political issues addressed through a variety of media, including the photography of Walker Evans and the mordant commentary of Jenny Holzer. Fang Lijun's enormous woodcut, No. 19, dominates the exhibition. Through Jan 21.
TACOMA ART MUSEUM
1123 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, 253-272-4258
CLEARLY BRILLIANT: A DECADE OF PILCHUCK GLASS SCHOOL'S EMERGING ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE
There's some work here that might make the argument that this medium has moved beyond the Studio Glass movement dullness: Lise Autogena's bolted spine, Mitchell Gaudet's fetishistic objects (his chandelier-type sculpture of repeating Christ figures hangs at Lead Gallery, right over the wine bar), and Deborah Dohne's neon-adorned engine. Through Jan 1.
VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC, 604-662-4700
PICTURES, POSITIONS, AND PLACES
The idea of place continues to fascinate artists, no matter how much it's been done, and done, and done. This exhibition explores that idea using work that's mostly photography, video, and installation, and draws from the gallery's permanent collection. The show includes work by major Canadian artists such as Stan Douglas and Jeff Wall. Through Feb 18.
WING LUKE ASIAN MUSEUM
407 Seventh Ave S, 623-5124
THROUGH OUR EYES
An extensive exhibition of Asian American photography of the Northwest, from journalism to fine art, including the photography of Frank Matsura and the contemporary work of Dean Wong and Jessica Kim. Through April 8.
WRIGHT EXHIBITION SPACE
407 Dexter Ave N, 264-8200
*THE WRIGHT COLLECTION
Virginia and Bagley Wright have devoted one gallery entirely to their great collection of '60s and '70s color field paintings, and introduced a large David Salle oil and the John Baldessari piece Two Onlookers and Tragedy to the mix. Other highlights include a Robert Longo, Eric Fischl, a huge Warhol Rorschach, and Jules Olitski's Thigh Smoke. Open-ended run.
STEVEN FEY, MALCOLM EDWARDS
Two kinds of environments caught by the camera: Fey trains his lens on the sandstone canyons of Utah, and Edwards documents the construction of the Seattle Chinese Garden (currently underway near South Seattle Community College). Benham Photography Studio/Gallery, 1216 First Ave, 622-2480. Through Jan 27.
New painting and sculpture from Africano, who reaches back to the spare style and high sheen of Greek statues, and then (it seems) can't resist the postmodern twist. His figures always seem rather lost in time. Winston Wächter Fine Art, 403 Dexter Ave N, 652-5855. Through Jan 10.
A strangely glowing garden of patched-together portraits. Amundson's suggestive and organic shapes are mounted on dowells, giving them the stalk-like grace of insects. See Stranger Suggests. Seattle Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery, 1334 First Ave, 654-3240. Through mid-January.
Movement and instability captured by a pinhole camera mounted on a motorbike. FotoCircle Gallery, 216 Alaskan Way, 624-2645. Through Dec 30.
LANNY DEVUONO, MIKEY WALSH
DeVuono paints landscapes onto boxes, with the odd result of the outdoors as object; Walsh's figurative ceramic sculpture calls upon both folk art and the long history of formal sculpture. Esther Claypool Gallery, 617 Western Ave, 264-1586. Through Dec 30.
An installation by Dillbohner, who has been working and showing internationally in this genre since the '70s. About Sippwells and Other Places is an earthy reconstruction of the process of imagination and drawing on the unconscious. Suyama Space, 2324 Second Ave, 256-0809. Through Jan 19.
DOGS OF MEDINA
Vital 5 is artist Greg Lundgren, whose conceptual takes on art's business end range from the gently satirical to the scathing. His new space's inaugural show features works by 25 artists, all of dogs photographed in the Medina neighborhood. Who would refuse a portrait of their beloved pup? That's what we're going to find out. Reviewed this issue. Vital 5 Productions, 2200 Westlake Ave, 254-0475. Through Jan 10.
Paintings inspired by Op Art with more than a little dose of psychedelia. Bryan Ohno Gallery, 155 S Main St, 667-9572. Through Dec 30.
Works in oilstick on canvas that explore time spent waiting. ArtsWest, 4711 SW California St, 938-0339. Through Dec 30.
Posters by The Stranger's own cartoonist and documentarian of the strange and underground. Glo's Diner, 1621 E Olive Way, 324-2577. Through Jan 6.
GROUP SHOW/2001 PREVIEW
Work by Hiro Yokose, Ciao Fonseca, John Bowman, Philippe Cognée, and Tony Scherman. Winston Wächter Fine Art, 403 Dexter Ave N, 652-5855. Through Dec 24, then Jan 2-10.
CHERYL H. HAHN, MICHAEL DICKTER, SCOTT FRISH
Hahn's installation Form Language/Handwriting is Disappearing addresses the emotional changes wrought on language by the new modes of information exchange; Alphabet, a series of 26 panels, addresses the strength of words when rendered in one's own hand. With paintings by paintings and lithographs by Dickter and Frish. Atelier 31, 122 Central Way, Kirkland, 425-576-1477. Through Jan 9.
Paintings and prints of women in private and in public. I Capolavori, 2519 Fifth Ave, 448-2825. Through Jan 19.
I HEART MOM
Here is work based on the imagery and feel of tattoos, but in painting (David Tupper, Jena Scott) and sculpture (Kirsten Easthope, David Duet) and even glass (Kelly and Nanda Soderburg, Bill Akers). Roq La Rue, 2224 Second Ave, 374-8977. Through Jan 1.
Knorr's paintings, which combine found images with created ones, are savvy about the world and tend to make the media (in all its manifestations) their subject. Of late, Knorr has been moving toward images from the natural world. Gallery Unpublished, Methodologie, 808 Howell St, Sixth Floor, 623-1044. Through Feb 7.
*LOOK BOTH WAYS
The Fuzzy Engine folks are back, this time exploring themes of safety and the ways we've chosen to insulate ourselves from danger. The works include a loaded gun encased in cement, and "unsafe toilet paper." Fuzzy Engine, 2801 NW Market St, 720-1767. Through Jan 7.
Two video installations, entitled Medicine Tent and Touched by the Tears of a Butterfly. Sacred Circle Gallery of American Indian Art, Daybreak Star Arts Center, Discovery Park, 285-4425. Through Dec 31.
In an installation entitled Balls and Binoculars, Mansfield references biology, exploration, physicality, and humor. King County Art Gallery, 506 Second Ave, Room 200, 296-7580. Through Dec 29.
Work that explores work, in a show of mixed-media sculpture entitled Everybody Wears Jeans: Hard Skills and the Nature of (New) Labor. Oculus Gallery, 216 Alaskan Way, 366-2108. Through Dec 30.
Where a lot of graphic designers seem content to watch the form slowly infiltrate the art world, McGinness takes a more kamikaze approach (for example, sneaking into major museums and covertly stuffing his own postcards into the sales racks). This show features his work in paintings, models, and skateboards. Houston, 907 E Pike St, 860-7820. Through Jan 27.
Vivid paintings of food, with an emphasis on the nifty creations of the fifties. Victrola Coffee and Art, 411 15th Ave E, 325-6520. Through Dec 31.
Work by 24 artists on the theme of the package: vessel, concealer, commodity. Trapeze Gallery, 1130 34th Ave, 329-3363. Through Jan 5.
New photographs from Vietnam, by the photographer best known for his local music-scene images. Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave E, 675-2055. Through mid-January.
Paintings and drawings that recall Cy Twombly's passionate scribblings, but here arranged and colored to suggest bits of discrete--but unreadable--information. Patricia Cameron Fine Art, 108 S Jackson St #207, 343-9647. Through Jan 31.
*SARAH ST. ONGE
St. Onge deals with her personal ghosts by placing brass memorial plaques (with terse sentences recalling events, such as one at the airport reading "We were slow dancing to boarding calls") and then photographs them. Here is memoir both nostalgic and tart. Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave. Through Dec 31.
SCATTERED, SMOTHERED, AND COVERED
Recent acquisitions of folk, self-taught, and so-called outsider art from gallery owners Karen and Marcus Pina's trips through the Deep South and Midwest. Garde Rail Gallery, 4730 35th Ave S, 760-3720. Through Jan 31.
ROGER SHIMOMURA, MARK NEWPORT
Shimomura's paintings and assemblages use iconic images from Japanese culture to explore the idea of being Japanese in America. Newport embroiders comic-book covers, combining very male images with a traditionally female touch. Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave S, 624-0770. Through Dec 30.
MARIAM AZIZA STEPHAN
New work, in an exhibition entitled surround: surrender. Zeitgeist, 171 S Jackson St, 583-0497. Through Jan 3.
A selection of early 20th-century ikat kimonos, in fabrics that would make Versace blush. Honeychurch Antiques, 1008 James St, 622-1225. Through early Jan.
RON VAN DONGEN
More sensual close-ups of flora, but these are more Blossfeldt than Mapplethorpe. G. Gibson Gallery, 122 S Jackson, 587-5751. Through Jan 14, then Jan 21-27.
CALLS FOR ARTISTS
GLASS ARTISTS TAKE NOTE
Submit proposals for glass design, in the theme "Clear Innovation" to the Steuben Design Group, in a competition held in conjunction with the Glass Art Society. The deadline is April 16; for information, check out www.glassart.org or call 382-1305.
First Light: An Illuminating New Year's Eve at the Bellevue Art Museum includes music, dancing, dining, and performances by UMO, Cirque du Flambe, the Typing Explosion, and the Dusty 45's. There is promise of "an illuminating special effect at midnight." Ticket price includes food and beverage. For information, visit www.bellevueart.org. Bellevue Art Museum, 510 Bellevue Way NE, 425-454-3322, 9 pm, $50-$250.