The Spring Arts season is upon us, and this month’s First Thursday gallery walk meanders from the familiar to the strange.
Stonington Gallery debuts in a prominent new location at the corner of Jackson and Occidental, celebrating its 32nd year representing primarily Native artists with Facing Forward: A Mask Exhibition and Hib Sabin: Small Pieces, a collection of miniatures from animal sculptures to masks and amulets. Farther uptown, at Traver Gallery, one of the Northwest’s preeminent Native artists, Preston Singletary, shows a new body of work in glass, called Listen for the Raven (Apr 4–28), that he says “is a direct reference to the important role that Raven plays in my culture as storyteller, but to me it symbolizes something greater than that: it symbolizes how we learn the secrets of our world.”
Greg Kucera introduces the work of an 87-year-old New York artist, David Byrd, whose eye to the world is untainted by art-world trends and concerns. He paints scenes that seem to have drifted loose from another era in a show called A Life of Observation (Apr 4–May 18).
At Davidson Galleries, a perennial Northwest favorite Susan Bennerstrom exhibits a new series called Sojourn (Apr 5–27), a move away from the interior spaces she has focused on in recent years and back to the countryside. Inspired by travels in the Scottish Highlands, Bennerstrom sees “light as a metaphor, a weighing of possibility, or a reminder of that which is not present.” After decades of working in oil pastel, Bennerstron has switched to oil paint, so expect a different surface and technique. Also at Davidson this month, see a full set of Francisco de Goya’s fantastical etching series Los Caprichos (Apr 5–27).
The vast reaches of the desert inspired Matt Sellars’ carved wood and cast terra cotta sculptures, along with drawings and a video installation at Platform Gallery. A meticulous craftsman, Sellars conceived a series of spare abstractions for this show, titled Formation(through May 4). “The desert is poetry, but more importantly, it is the pause between stanzas,” he notes.
Artist, writer and deputy director of the Northwest African American Museum, Barbara Earl Thomas has been at work on two new series of prints: The Reading Room and The Book of Fishing. Selections from both appear in her exhibition at Paper Hammer, including block prints from 2006–2013. Thomas studied with Jacob Lawrence at the University of Washington and, like him, kindles a sense of narrative in her subdued but dramatic figurative imagery.
In Pike Place Market, Lisa Harris Gallery features the oil-on-copper landscape paintings of Kent Lovelace, a master lithographer who discovered that copper plates also make subtly reflective surfaces for paint. Spending time in the idyllic countryside of Occitania(also the title of his latest exhibit, Apr 4–29) in Southern France led him to paint this atmospheric new work.