James Martin, Gutton Slammer mit Bees and Prize Potato, 2012, gouache on paper.

Start in Pioneer Square this First Thursday, where Foster/White Gallery celebrates the opening of James Martin’s latest exhibit, a collection of paintings titled Whole Cloth and Mirrors. Expect the Edmonds artist’s usual mind-tickling puns and allusions to pop culture figures, from Picasso to the Lone Ranger. Martin can jam-pack his compositions or pare them down to a stark self-portrait, often poking fun at the mysticism of the Northwest School.

Farther uptown, at the Virginia Inn, art lovers can settle in with a beer while still feeling like virtuous gallery hoppers. In this case the paintings on view—with references from Pop to Playboy—provide a look back over the painting career of Rolon Bert Garner, the artist, mover and shaker who originated Seattle’s art-bar scene (among other things). A cofounder of and/or gallery, the city’s first nonprofit alternative art space; initiator of Artech, the region’s premier art-handling company; a former Washington State arts commissioner and ringmaster of the Two Bells Tavern/gallery, Garner truly transformed the city’s creative topography and helped promote the work of many Northwest artists.

Also new and notable this month:

Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows at Photo Center NW (Thru Mar 23)
JoAnn Verburg: Mid-Career Survey at G. Gibson Gallery (Feb 7–Mar 23)
Chamber Music at Frye Art Museum (Feb 9–May 5)

On the move...

Next month Stonington Gallery, which represents some of the region’s top Northwest Coast Native artists, relocates just up the road from 119 to 125 Jackson Street. That’s the prominent corner storefront that once housed Foster/White (and before that the high-profile but short-lived Meyerson and Nowinski gallery). Stonington will remain open in March during the transition, then host a celebration at the new digs on the First Thursday in April. It’s an ambitious move, but Stonington co-director Nancy Davenport says that after a gloomy spell in the city’s historic district there are new restaurants popping up and signs of rejuvenation: “Pioneer Square is coming up again. People are feeling like we’re over the hump.” We happen to agree.

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