Whiting Tennis and Sharon Arnold at Ohge Ltd.
  • Whiting Tennis and Sharon Arnold at Ohge Ltd.

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Group shows are what's making Artwalk so huge tonight (with great solo exceptions you don't want to skip, including Chauney Peck at SOIL, Margot Quan Knight at James Harris, and Rachel Maxi at Some Space). This Artwalk literally contains multitudes.

Justin Mata at ArtXchange
  • Justin Mata at ArtXchange
Purists think of them as forgettable fillers that serve nobody but the curators. I've never been mistaken for a purist, but there are good group shows and bad ones. We'll see which is which tonight. A few to consider: Meet Greet Rinse Repeat at Monarch Contemporary, Sense Us 2010: Ten Latino Artists of the Pacific Northwest at ArtXchange, and You're So Cool at Ohge Ltd.

I haven't yet seen Meet Greet Rinse Repeat but the others are two very different types. Sense Us is a huddle of solo shows devoted to individual artists who happen to be collectively concerned with history, community, and heterogeneity. Monoculture is nowhere to be found, on any level. The head of Justin Mata's family-farm cow is an oil painting, the body a drawing on torn cardboard.

Meanwhile, You're So Cool is a total immersion for every work. There's no overt theme, but several emerge as you look. Male/female is an undercurrent. Whiting Tennis's muddy wonder-cabinet is an earthy counterpoint for Sharon Arnold's snowdrift (see pair above). City/wilderness, too: James Johnson's neon sign trapped in a traveling box on the floor is crowded in and paranoid, while Christopher Hoff's abandoned traffic stops are road systems built for nobody at all.

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