BELLEVUE ART MUSEUM, 301 Bellevue Square, 425-454-3322
*Fresh Flowers--BAM hosts an international survey of painting, sculpture, glass, video, and installation art that uses flamesowers and flamesoral imagery. Curator Brian Wallace explains that the exhibition will "refer to the delicate tensions between the seductive and the disturbing--that is, to the vital force lurking in the idea of beauty." In addition to international artists like Pippilotti Rist and Jack Pierson, such outstanding Seattleites as Juan Alonso, Wendy Hanson, Susan Dory, Jamie Walker, and Jeffry Mitchell are included. Through April 11.
CoCA (Center on Contemporary Art), 65 Cedar St, 728-1980.
*Catherine Chambers--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, Chambers 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.
FRYE ART MUSEUM, 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 April 18.
HENRY ART GALLERY, 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.
MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND INDUSTRY, 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.
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM, 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, and visionary Northwest collectors. Through May 9.
SEATTLE ASIAN ART MUSEUM, 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.
TACOMA ART MUSEUM, 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.
WING LUKE ASIAN MUSEUM, 407 7th Ave S, 623-5124
Golden Roots: Korean Americans in Washington State--The exhibition is divided into four major sections: an overview of background history and environment, profiles of Korean immigrants and their life experiences in the U.S., contributions to American life, and prospects for the future. Through April 11.
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. Sat April 10 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. Fri April 9 through May 2.
MAYME KRATZ--Encased in resin, a difficult, laborious, and 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. Sat April 10 through May 1.
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.
*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. ARO.space, 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.
INTRODUCTIONS '99--Works by nine artists new to the gallery: Deanne Belinoff, Susan Bremmer, Denyce Dohrmann, Betsy Eby, Karen Liebowitz, Mick Newham, Sarah Savidge, Lois Silver, and Lana Sundberg. Seattle Art Museum Rental/Sales Gallery, 1334 First Ave, #140. Through April 10.
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.
MADRONA--A group exhibition including the works of 26 artists living in the Madrona community, notably Trimpin, Roy McMacon, Tom Flood, and everyone's favorite 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.
KEN PARKER--Large-scale monoprints of industrial containers. Inside the clearly defined edges of the vessels is a dense network of lines and splotches that indicate the age and corrosion of the object. Ballard Fetherston Gallery, 818 E Pike St, 322-9440. Through May 4.
PONCHO AND PRATT FINE ART AUCTION PREVIEW--Seafirst Gallery hosts the annual preview for two of the finest auctions in town. Expect to see donated works by Dale Chihuly, Vernon Fisher, Italo Scanga, Robert Lyons, and many more. Seafirst Gallery, Columbia Seafirst Center, 701 5th Ave, 3rd flamesr, 585-3200. Through April 15.
*POP--This new gallery, a branch of an existing one in New York, opens with a show of later paintings and prints by artists associated with Pop Art, including Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Jim Dine, and Roy Lichtenstein. Winston Wächter Fine Art, 403 Dexter Ave N, 652-5855. Through April 10.
ROCK STARS = ART STARS--A group show with musicians who are also photographers, filmmakers, graphic designers, and sculptors. Curated by Nicky Thomas of Mavis Piggot and Milky World owner De Kwok. Milky World Gallery, 111 Battery St, 374-0933. Through April 30.
JOAN STUART ROSS--The encaustic medium can either look rich and vibrant, or like a muddy mess. There's both going on in this work, but Ross manages to create a symbolic dialogue between clearly defined quilt-like segments, and for the most part rises above the inherent difficulty of the medium. Friesen Gallery, 1210 Second Ave, 628-9501. Through April 30.
SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE--This is the only gallery in the Northwest dedicated to the works of self-taught artists. This month Verna Weatherly, who began painting after praying to God and then feeling a white light engulf her body, shows bright acrylic paintings of divine heavenly creatures. Ralph Auf der Heide taught himself how to paint after retirement, and produces paintings on the reverse side of acrylic Plexiglas. Garde Rail, 312 First Ave S, #5, 623-3004. Through April 30.
*MEGHAN TRAINOR/ERIC ANTHONY HARTE--In Pugetopolis Trainor silkscreens images from Seattle's past onto sheets of metal. The provocative images are of moments that have been all but forgotten, like the opening of the first black-owned family business. In stark contrast is Harte's photo exploration of old pinball ma- chine art--which, by the way, was at one time even more explicitly sexist and racist than it is today. Roq La Rue Gallery, 2224 Second Ave, 339-6952. Through April 22.
THE TRANSFERRED IMAGE--Twelve artists exploring new directions in printmaking. Phinney Center Gallery, 6532 Phinney Ave N, 783-2244. Through April 30.
TRES FLORES--Prints, drawings, and paintings by three of Mexico's leading female contemporary artists. Tule Gallery, 316 First Ave S, 748-9904. Through May 31.
*WES WEHR--A show not to miss. Wehr, a figure in Northwest art since the grand days of the mystics, has a new body of drawings entitled Creatures I Have Known. His delicate and playful small pieces are always fresh, and are deceivingly and satisfyingly complex, with off- kilter compositions and thoughtful line work. Collusion Unlimited, 163 S Jackson, 2nd flamesr, 652-5209. Through April 17.
Call for Artists--Bellevue Art Museum's 1999 Pacific Northwest Annual will be juried by Jon Tupper, Director of Walter Phillips Gallery and Associate Director of Creative Residencies in Media and Visual Arts at the Banff Center for the Arts. Submit six slides, a one-page artist's statement, and $25. Deadline is April 23. Information: 425-454-3322.
Washington State Lawyers for the Arts--Every second and fourth Monday from 6:30-8:30 pm, volunteer lawyers specializing in arts and entertainment law are available to answer questions. Artists may receive a private session for a suggested $15 donation. First-come, first-serve; arrive early. For information call the Arts Legal Clinic at 328-7053.