BELLEVUE ART MUSEUM
510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, 425-454-3322
*LUMINOUS: LIGHT AS MATERIAL, MEDIUM, AND METAPHOR
Light as an architectural element is one of Steven Holl's most famous tropes, and this exhibition was assembled to examine it further. It happily includes work by some of the artists you would expect to be represented: Dan Flavin, Joseph Kosuth, Tokihiro Sato, and Iole Allesandrini. Through June 17.
CENTER ON CONTEMPORARY ART
(at Consolidated Works) 410 Terry Ave N, 728-1980
The show's title, laboriously translated from its semiotic roots, signals an inquiry into photography-as-truth, a deconstruction of its authority. In this show: Yauger Yauger, Timothy Ringsmuth (Ms.), Miguel Edwards, Travis Winn, and Deborah Coito. Curated by Dan Kany. Through April 8.
410 Terry Ave N, 381-3218
This new exhibition is the touring Altoids Curiously Strong Collection--tied rather loosely to the Consolidation Series theme of public and private thresholds, but we'll forgive it for bringing some good contemporary work by 25 emerging artists. Through April 8.
HENRY ART GALLERY
15th Ave NE at NE 41st St, 543-2280
*WOLFGANG LAIB: A RETROSPECTIVE
Laib's work resides in the delicate realm of contemplation and nature: pollen sifted into piles and large color- field--like squares, "milkstones," forms built of beeswax. This is the first American survey of Laib's work--a touring show that has been shown at the Hirshhorn in Washington D.C. and will travel to San Diego, Houston, and Munich. Through May 6.
Selections from the Joseph and Elaine Monson Photography Collection, chosen by the collection's curator, Michael van Horn. The idea is to demonstrate the medium's flexibility--from documentary to staged, entirely fictitious scenarios--but the upshot is just really good work by some of the best artists around. Through June 3.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF JOHN GUTMANN: CULTURE SHOCK
Images from the '30s through the '50s selected by the photographer before his death in 1998 comprise this exhibition of American street life. Through May 27.
NORDIC HERITAGE MUSEUM
3014 NW 67th St, 789-5707
*BETWEEN SPACE AND TIME: CONTEMPORARY NORWEGIAN SCULPTURE AND INSTALLATION
It's hard enough to keep up with American and British contemporary art; what's going on in Norway tends to be a big hole for all of us. This touring show of six mid-career Norwegian artist--which was seen in Moss, Norway, and Atlanta and moves on to New York--includes Per Barclay's oil-room installations and Bård Breivik's delicate mesh forms. The theme of the show in no way proscribes it, proving that even in a place as isolated as Norway, regional aesthetic takes a back seat to the personal one. Through April 1.
PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTER
200 Second Ave N, 443-2001
*MATHEMATICA: A WORLD OF NUMBERS... AND BEYOND
The original version of this exhibit, an exploration of mathematics, created by the furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames, was one of the Pacific Science Center's first shows. Through April 29.
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.
*JOHN SINGER SARGENT
CLOSING SOON! 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.
Sculpture by six local artists (Rachel Brumer, David Chatt, Alison Gates, Wendy Hanson, Sara Lanzillotta, and Keith Yurdana) who work with textiles and sewing. The idea is the transformation of unusual, non-traditional media--rose petals, animal gut, doilies--into contemporary art that rises above issues of labor and women's work. Through July 22.
SEATTLE ASIAN ART MUSEUM
1400 E Prospect St, Volunteer Park, 654-3100
THE EMBODIED IMAGE: CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY FROM THE JOHN B. ELLIOTT COLLECTION
There really isn't any equivalent of calligraphy in American culture--a merging of art and poetry that is highly revered in Chinese culture. Elliott's collection, one of the best outside Asia, includes scrolls, album leaves, and other works, seventy of which are on view in this exhibition. Through May 27.
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.
COVERING THE NEW YORKER
Forty covers from that East Coast literary behemoth, from the good old days of William Steig and Saul Steinberg to the controversial work of Art Spiegelman. D'Adamo/Hill Gallery, 307 Occidental Ave S, 652-4414. Through April 4.
*S.M.S. PROJECT, LOUIS MUELLER
It stands for "shit must stop," and is a collection begun in 1968 by the painter William Copley, who invited artists to submit work to be sold to subscribers in portfolios, with all the commercial work (the replicating, the selling) done by artists. See Stranger Suggests. Elliott Brown Gallery, 215 Westlake Ave N, 340-8000. Through April 14.
There's a special place in my heart for book art, and Blocker takes up a lot of it. Her works combine art and text in ways that challenge the very idea of the book; her new one-of-a-kind books are being shown with a limited edition card game called The Badge Mount Set. Wessel and Lieberman Booksellers, 208 First Ave S, 682-3545. Through March 31.
BOOKSA FUZZY LOVE TRIANGLE
Three artists salute pop-Japanese cartoons: Martin Ontiveros, Bwana Spoons, and Saiman Chow. Roq La Rue, 2224 Second Ave, 374-8977. Through March 31.
Work by Kenn Brooks, Angelena McQuarter, Kip Miller, and Conswella Uriola. Walden's Art Gallery, El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave S, 323-1273. Through March 31.
GEORGE CHACONA, THERESA BATTY
In Sorrows of Isis, Chacona takes the old and recombines it into something new; Egyptian drawings, text, photographs, and etched tile; the result is Egyptian pop art, more or less. Battey is involved with her own alchemical process, merging photography and glass. Esther Claypool Gallery, 617 Western Ave, 264-1586. Through March 31.
CUBAN SPLASH/SALPIC"N CUBANO
Work by four Cuban-born artists: Ariela Boronat, Adela E. Gonzalez, Tatiana Garmendia, Tomas Oliva. Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market St, Kirkland, 425-822-7161. Through March 28.
Curtis favors materials in decay--wax, resin, oil, metal--to contain images of the world passing by. Eyre/Moore Gallery, 913 Western Ave, 624-5596. Through March 31.
The Los Angeles-based Duffy takes an askance--but somehow still respectful--look at mod culture in an exhibition that will fill both Billy Howard's gallery and the furniture store that houses it. Duffy's targets are context, consumerism, and retro poaching; what's not to love in an Ikea table modified to look like a Benzedrine tablet? Howard House, 2017 Second Ave, 256-6399. Through March 31.
Ferris' paintings--with a personal iconography of birds, eggs, and crowns--feel like Medieval miniatures: detailed, cryptic, otherworldly. Two Bells Tavern, 2313 Fourth Ave, 441-3050. Through April 4.
New paintings, in a show entitled Form. Art Reach Gallery, 1405 Boylston Ave, 329-2722. Through March 31.
In her skilled re-representations of consumer products, Franz takes apart ideas of appearance and identity. This show, entitled Neara's Crown, features new work. Highline Community College Gallery, Building 25, 2400 S 24th St, Des Moines, 878-3710. Through March 31.
It's been too long since we've seen a show of French's work; he's been hibernating for a while, dispensing his curatorial and art-activist skills instead. This show, entitled Transparence, includes previous and new work, including his gorgeous bubble prints and some black-and-white road photography. See Bio Box. Nico Gallery, 619 Western Ave, 264-1710. Through March 31.
I make it a point never to quote press releases, but I loved the metaphysical description of Ganz' paintings that arrived through the mail: "A bit of whistling in the cemetery." Lovely! And true: Ganz combines slapstick cartoonish characters with layers of paint, both translucent and aggressively opaque, on a large, inescapable scale. The humor is apparent; the darkness sneaks up on you. Grover/Thurston Gallery, 309 Occidental Ave S, 223-0816. Through April 1.
New work by Garza, whose abstract paintings on panel combine the best of minimalism with a kind of fun and feeling not usually associated with that movement. Ballard/Fetherston Gallery, 818 E Pike St, 322-9440. Through April 4.
New sculpture by Heishman, who recently returned from a fellowship working with Charles Ray. SOIL Artist Cooperative, 12th and Pike, 264-8061. Through April 1.
Work by Rod Appleton, Barbara DePirro, David deVillier, John Jenkins III, Gemma Molera, Laura Ross-Paul, Junko Yamamoto, and Hamid Zavareei. SAM Rental Sales Gallery, 1334 First Ave, #140, 654-3240. Through April 7.
Digital projections that suggest water and other personal imagery. Sacred Circle Gallery of American Indian Art, Daybreak Star Arts Center, Discovery Park, 285-4425. Through April 1.
Fuzzy Engine's core artists take on excess, obsession, and cultural enthusiasm. Fuzzy Engine, 2801 NW Market St, 789-6951. Through March 31.
Mixed-media sculpture using, among other things, dried pig snouts and ears, architects' templates, and crayons contained in wax, plaster, or found containers. Francine Seders Gallery, 6701 Greenwood Ave N, 782-0355. Through April 1.
MO YUN SHI
It means "Ink Rhythm Poetry," and includes work by five Chinese artists from the Anhui Province. Bank of America Gallery, 701 Fifth Ave, Third Floor, 585-3200. Through March 30.
Pattern and order as seen through our inner selves--in this case paintings of the complex networks of biological things happening under our skin. Mary Vitold Gallery, 110 S Washington St, 624-9336. Through March 31.
The seventh annual exhibition of artists who work in the Pound Gallery's darkroom. The Pound Gallery, 1216 Tenth Ave, 323-0557. Through March 25.
Remember those paintings with the holes where the heads should be? And you'd put your head into the hole and have a picture taken as the bearded lady? Puccinelli is reviving this sideshow tradition with full-scale paintings that offer photo ops of a much more disturbing kind. Vital 5 Productions, 2200 Westlake Ave, 254-0475. Through April 4.
Large-scale paintings based on Polaroids--the transfer of the instant-gratification portrait to the lasting object of contemplation. King County Art Gallery, 506 Second Ave, Room 200, 296-7580. Through March 30.
JACK SPENCER, SETH THOMPSON
Photography from Mexico and Cuba. G. Gibson Gallery, 122 S Jackson, Suite 200, 587-4033. Through March 22.
Walega uses pinhole photography to meditate on other forms of photography: portraits, landscapes, and animal studies. Photographic Center Northwest, 900 12th Ave, 720-7222. Through March 30.
An auction of work by local and national photographers (Carolyn Krieg, Eva Sköld Westerlind, Phil Borges, Spike Mafford) benefiting Youth in Focus, a photography-based empowerment program (yep!) for urban kids. Thurs March 15; silent auction begins at 6 pm and live auction begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $55 in advance and $65 at the door at the Arctic Building's Dome Room, 700 Third Ave, 723-1479, www.youthinfocus.org.