In January the galleries seem to rev up after a sleepy holiday season—or time away showing at Art Basel Miami Beach. But these First Thursday openings are the ones not to miss.
Surface: Contemporary Wet Plate Collodion Portraiture
Photo Center NW, Jan 5–Feb 15
Wet plate collodion photography dates back to the 19th century, and requires the subjects to sit still for one (very) long minute in order for the image to set on a glass panel; the strain is often reflected in the models’ hardened faces and posture. For this group exhibit, five contemporary artists dabble in this alternative process technology. Daniel Carrillo is known locally for his delicate ambrotype portraits of Seattle artists and art critics. Savannah’s Ellen Susan captures Army soldiers with the same photo process used during the Civil War. National Geographic photographer Robb Kendrick shows images of contemporary cowboys in America, Mexico, and Canada. Jenny Sampson’s tintypes feature skateboarders at rest, while Joni Sternbach’s capture surfers on rocky beaches. Artists’ reception Jan 12, 6-8 pm.
Greg Kucera Gallery, Jan 5–Feb 18
For his Seattle solo debut, the Bay Area photographer muses moodily on landscapes in the half-light of dusk. Ivy snakes up tree trunks, all rich greens and shades of black, while a mess of brambles and thorns nearly suffocates. Opening reception Jan 5, 6–8pm; artist talk Jan 7 at noon.
Suzanne Opton: Soldier/Many Wars
Platform Gallery, Jan 5–Feb 11
Opton’s photo portraits of soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are as sad as they are startling. She focuses on their faces—heads resting sideways on the ground, and some with such vacant stares you fear for where their thoughts lie. Artist’s reception Feb 2, 6-8pm; artist talk Feb 3 at Henry Art Gallery.
View the slideshow for images from each exhibit.