Emily Pothast, First Word
  • Emily Pothast, First Word
The heart of last Thursday's Pioneer Square Artwalk was a giganto-show in honor of Morris Graves's upcoming 100th birthday, meaning that several spaces inside the Tashiro-Kaplan building were stacked with Gravesiana.

Erin Shafkinds self-portrait after Graves
  • Erin Shafkind's self-portrait after Graves
We're talking paintings upon paintings of birds entangled in webs of stringy light, and earth tones as far as the eye can see, and wood carvings of owls, and certificates of proof of inclusion in Charlie Krafft's kooky Mystic Sons of Morris Graves clan, and shrines, and Ouija boards (the official seance is August 28 at 9 pm), and parodies of the above, and parodies of parodies, and one thing I particularly loved: a sweet, fat-bellied bird painted in black ink (or printed) repeatedly on a roll of toilet paper, by Paul Young (he called it Visionary), an artist who's new to me.

The two works that struck me most were Emily Pothast's First Word, a portrait of an eye in honor of what was supposedly Graves's first word as a child—"see," and Erin Shafkind's takeoff of the famous long-necked pink Graves self-portrait. Shafkind managed to make a portrait that's an unmistakable reference, but feels and looks like her.

And in that vein, I can't help but call out Joey Veltkamp's portrait of fellow artist Gretchen Bennett in pigtails, just down the hall at SOIL in the Xanadu show. (I am still trying to figure out what I think about that show; there are some great individual works, but somehow the theme of Xanadu leaves me cold.)

Who doesnt love Gretchen Bennett?
  • Who doesn't love Gretchen Bennett?