Last year, Seattle-based artist Nikita Ares adorned white-walled galleries and blank front doors with her molten, colorful, abstract compositions. And this year, she's back with a new exhibition, CHADA! at Glass Box Gallery, warming up our drenched, shivering Seattle souls with bright and immersive landscapes that are practically visual permutations of "!!!!!!!!!!!"
Ares says that the title of her show, CHADA!, is a term uniquely used by Kagayanons, people from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, her hometown. It means "wow/nice." The 25-plus paintings and drawings in the gallery embody that exclamation.
She has said that with her work, she's not composing landscapes—rather, environments that slurp up the viewer, entrenching them into its bombastic and energetic space. "I try to make you not only see but experience and feel all these different things with different components: dimension, lines, and color," Ares told me early last year.
One of the centerpieces of the new show is Kasamas Rule the World!, the biggest drawing she's worked on to date. I felt I could truly take a seat in the vibrant oil pastel and colored pencil drawing of this massive, larger-than-life piece. It's hard to know where to look! The orange screams at me while the blue makes me want to float away; the red encourages me to make out with it while the yellow tells me to calm the fuck down. You'll leave this show feeling recharged.