Visual Art

First Thursday: June

Sad to say it’s closing time for a few local galleries—last chance to visit.

By Laura Dannen June 3, 2010

Patti Warashina, Play Pals, 2010, low fire clay, underglaze, glaze, steel, 30″ × 35.5″ × 15″ (stand: 30").

As The Stranger reported on Friday, leading contemporary art gallery Howard House will shut its doors on June 12. Understandably, gallerist Billy Howard isn’t too pleased.

"There’s no reason to keep a gallery open if people aren’t buying," he told Jen Graves. "We had that Mary Henry show up for two months, and it was from her entire estate, and it took us 10 months to organize, and nothing sold. It’s embarrassing, and I don’t need to be in a business that’s embarrassing."

Ceramics maven Patti Warashina’s third solo show, Conversations, will close out HH’s 13-year run. Her latest work—whiteware figurines at play—blends wit and whimsy, though there’s something sinister, something Cheshire Cat about those all-knowing smiles. It’s the equivalent of Mona Lisa having a dirty joke to tell, waiting for the right moment…

Pay your final respects to Howard House at 604 Second Avenue; it will stay open past 5 tonight for First Thursday.

Also moving on is Grey Gallery and bar, which will leave its 11th Avenue location on June 19. As Jess Voelker noted yesterday, "owner Erik Guttridge decided to move due to conflict between the building’s owner and landlord, who are currently embroiled in a law suit." The gallery’s current exhibit, 5 × 5 Artists, features work by five local emerging artists: ink-watercolor-graphite drawings by Sean Alexander; a mixed-media installation by Julie Alpert; C-prints by Anna Garner; screenprints by Claire Jauregui; and pig bone sculptures by Sara Owens.

Guttridge hopes to find a new Pike/Pine location for his gallery/bar soon.

The devastating thing about these galleries closing is that the artists who show—regularly or in their debuts—will have to find new homes. I’m not sure survival of the fittest is meant to apply to something as subjective as art; hopefully, a recession renaissance is still in the making.

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