CoCA (Center on Contemporary Art), 65 Cedar St, 728-1980.

Catherine Chalmers--Food Chain: Encounters Between Mates, Predators, and Prey is the first substantial survey of the photographs by this New York artist. Playing with scale and heightened drama, Chalmers has photographed various insects she's raised up close and personal during a complex dance through the food chain. Caterpillar eats the tomato... praying mantis eats the caterpillar... tarantula eats the praying mantis, and so on. The insects are behaving naturally, but the range of seeming emotion is startling. Through May 22.

, 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 Sun April 18.

The Hermitage Grou--Eight Russian contemporary artists who work and study at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Through June 6.

, 15th Ave NE at 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.

, 2700 24th Ave E, McCurdy Park, 324-1126

*A Change of Worlds--If you haven't been to MoHI lately, this is the time to go. This knockout exhibition has two distinct purposes, the first being predictable: showing some of the history and contributions of Northwest Native Americans. The show takes a braver approach with its second objective, dealing head-on with issues such as cultural vandalism and the tensions between tradition and change in the lives of Puget Sound Native Americans. Photographs, artifacts, and audio-visual components. Through April 30.

, 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, & visionary Northwest collectors. Through May 9.

, 1400 E Prospect St, 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 flamesames of hell, dragons, cranes, horse-headed demons, and other fantastical visions, both evil and sublime. Through July 25.

1123 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, 253-627-1898.

Sue Coe--A retrospective of prints featuring works from 1979 to the present. Coe is renowned for her hard-hitting, propaganda-filled prints dealing with subjects of controversy and high emotion. The violence of war and rape, the vulnerability of children, animal cruelty, and racial and social injustice are themes she tackles in a somewhat shocking, but always informative way. Through July 18.


SUSAN BENNERSTROM--New pastels by this wildly popular Northwest artist. Landscapes have dominated the previous work, but in Inhabited the focus is shifted inside with depictions of uninhabited interior settings. Davidson Gallery, 313 Occidental Ave S, 624-4588. Through May 1.

WARNER BLAKE--From a veteran Northwest artist, a new and highly personal installation dealing with the life and death of his father, entitled Reassembling Memories: Artworks Evolving from Inherited Objects. Blue Heron Gallery, 19704 Vashon Hwy, Vashon Island. Through April 30.

*BREAKING THE SURFACE--Collaborative works in mixed media by Lauren Atkinson and Donald Green. Large dress forms constructed of cane are covered with wax- impregnated materials, and stand quietly by blurry, disturbingly confrontational photos of staring figures. A simple and powerful show. LEAD Gallery, 1022 First Ave, 623-6240. Through April 30.

MARSHA BURNS--Another terrific collection of work by Burns, entitled Photographs from another place continued.... G. Gibson Gallery, 122 S Jackson St, 587-4033. Through May 15.

*DONNABELLE CASIS--In her second solo show with Howard House, Casis continues her exploration of the human body in paintings that are referential but expressionistically abstract. The work is captivating, with sensuous forms and a beautifully applied thick surface of vibrant oil paint. As difficult as it is to linger on the flameseshy, squishy, organ-like subjects, they provide the strength and mystery of the work. Howard House, 2017 Second Ave, 256-6399. Through April 25.

LAURIE CINOTTA--Some Facts in Nature is filled with familiar detritus collaged into oddly foreign sculptures that are encased in plastic. This sterile treatment ignites the complexities of "personal evidence" rather than the trappings of domestic sentimentality. SOIL, 310 First Ave S, 264-8016. Through May 1.

JAMES COOK--Highly textured and abstracted landscapes and seascapes painted in a grand scale. Eyre/Moore Gallery, 913 Western Ave, 624-5596. Through May 1.

*ROY DeFOREST--Bay Area artist DeForest has been one of the West Coast's most established and celebrated artists for the past 20 years. The work, loosely drawn figures and animals in comical brightly colored landscapes, is still fresh and energetic. Linda Hodges Gallery, 410 Occidental Ave S, 624-3034. Through May 1.

DEPICTION--A debut solo show by Canadian artist my name is scot. Yes, that's his name. The photo-based installation consists of illuminated boxes that require the viewer to stand closely and examine the eerie faces inside. Oculus Gallery, 163 S Jackson, 366-2108. Through May 1.

AMY DIED--Welcome back to one of Capitol Hill's primary exhibition spots for emerging artists. With new digs and a more professional look, R.M. presents large-scale, mixed-media works by Died. Robbie Mildred Gallery, 307 E Pike St, 325-5228. Through May 3.

EN PLEIN AIR--Landscapes by Michael Dailey, Nanci Erskine, Boyer Gonzales, Phillip Govedare, Juliana Heyne, Michael Howard, Ed Kamuda, Norman Lundin, and Spike Mafford. Francine Seders Gallery, 6701 Greenwood Ave N, 782-0355. Through May 2.

*FAMILY: FUTURE POSITIVE--Works by an internationally acclaimed bunch of photographers, stylists, and designers who have all contributed to the hip fashion and lifestyle magazine i-D. The exhibition deals with the "flamesuid" concept of family and includes photographs, projections, drawings, and running sheets., 925 E Pike St, 320-0424. Through April 25.

HEIDI FIECHTER--Manipulated photographs within mixed media works and installations. FotoCircle, 163 S Jackson, 2nd flamesr, 624-2645. Through May 1.

RICHARD GILKEY--Paintings from the 1950s by this veteran Northwest artist. Works by Mark Tobey accompany. Kurt Litke Gallery, 318 Second Ave S, 623-5082. Through May 22.

COLLEEN HAYWARD/MEGAN MURPHY--Hayward, a Cornish instructor, exhibits dark and rich abstract paintings with heavily worked, thickly layered surfaces. In contrast, Murphy's abstract work is light and ethereal, with layers of pigment and silver leaf. Esther Claypool Gallery, 617 Western Ave, 264-1586. Through May 1.

ERIN KEENOY--New paintings focused on the power and vulnerability of being female. Highly stylized and full of personal symbology and social commentary. Zeitgeist, 161 S Jackson, 583-0497. Through May 5.

DAVID KLEINER--Forceful brushstrokes and bold colors figure prominently in the paintings of this Seattle newcomer. The most fascinating series in the show features Kleiner's various interpretations of the famous 1950 Life magazine photo of the Abstract Expressionists posed for a formal portrait. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873. Through April 30.

MAYME KRATZ--Encased in resin, a difficult, laborious & toxic medium, is an entrancing, frozen organic scrapbook. Over 15 sculptures so pretty you could lick 'em. Elliott Brown, 619 N 35th St, #101A, 547-9740. Through May 1.

MADRONA--A group exhibition including the works of 26 artists living in the Madrona community, notably Trimpin, Roy McMacon, Tom Flood, & everyone's favor- ite spreader of good cheer, DeeDee Rainbow. Madrona Automatic, 1435 34th Ave, 329-7869. Through April 25.

GARY NISBET--Sensitive, decorative works in mixed media featuring domestic objects--flamesowers, bowls, vegetables, clothing.... Grover Thurston Gallery, 309 Occidental Ave S, 223-0816. Through May 1.

*BILL OWENS--Kucera gives over his entire gallery to almost 50 photographs from the artist's three main series of works from the 1970s, Suburbia, Our Kind of People and Working (I do it for the money). Owens challenged the idea of contemporary art photography--and garnered international attention with his straightforward approach to capturing average Americans on film and combining the images with quotes from the subjects. Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave S, 624-0770. Through May 1.

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