James Brem: Up in Smoke. Installation view, courtesy Kobo at Higo.

First Thursday has become an event unmoored from its raison d’etre. Lots of galleries no longer open their shows on a coordinated schedule, so come the first of the month, many exhibitions are in process, with artist receptions taking place at other times. Still, Art Walk happens. Here are a few recommendations that will take you through First Thursday and beyond.

James Brems: Up in Smoke
Extended thru Nov 8, Kobo at Higo
(open until 7pm First Thursday)

At the always-delightful International District shop-gallery-museum Kobo at Higo, James Brems takes a reverential approach to his work with wood and clay. Mostly he makes smaller-scale sculptural forms, like little household deities that show the squeeze marks of his hands and the chipping of his tools. In his exhibition Up in Smoke, the wafting incense adds a dimension of sensual and metaphoric delight: an ancient way of connecting with the spirits. If the sculptures seem to linger between primitive and modern, the large hanging scrolls show a more tech-savvy approach, reproducing their calligraphic, dusky imagery through scanning and printing. 

Michael Schall: Hinder
Thru Nov 24, Platform Gallery

In his latest exhibit at Platform, Michael Schall pushes graphite to its limits in technically refined drawings with a strong emotional undertow. On some of the work Schall collaborated with a papermaker, incorporating graphite into the wet pulp and giving up control of the line, then taking back the drawing process once the paper had dried. The process reflects the theme Schall says engaged him in this body of work: how humans attempt to dominate and control the natural world, often unsuccessfully. 

Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell
Thru Jan 27, Henry Art Gallery

Seattle’s Jeffry Mitchell has probably never met an art material he doesn’t like. He makes drawings, prints, paintings, and elegant, witty, voluptuous objects of clay, paper, resin, whatever, then combines them in installations that take decorativeness to new levels, referencing art history in postmodern mashups. His exhibition Like a Valentine celebrates a new monograph on Mitchell, published by the Henry Art Gallery and Marquand Books.

The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food
Nov 10, 2–4pm, Francine Seders Gallery

Nibbling on Chinese soul food and looking at art? What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Cookbook author Linda Lau Anusasananan and her brother, Seattle artist Alan Chong Lau, will celebrate their newly published collaboration with a mouthwatering reading from The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food from Around the World (University of California Press, $39.95). Lau’s original illustrations for the book will be on display and samples of the recipes will be served.