A magical resonation

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In “Evidence,” the current show at Smith & Vallee Gallery, two exceptional artists give us their views—David Blakesley, of a world that might have been or what it might become, and Kathleen Faulkner, images of the forest, examined close-up and transformed by the creator’s eye. Although each artist’s medium and conception are vastly different, the works the gallery has chosen resonate magically together.

Both Blakesley and Faulkner have long been identified with Edison and the Skagit Valley. Blakesley is well known for his popular eatery, Tweets, and his gallery/store, Shop Curator. Faulkner is an Anacortes resident whose art recently earned her a place in the book 100 Artists of the Northwest.

Visitors are met at the entrance by an assembly of wood blocks studded with cut nails—Blakesley’s “Portals.” Subtle angles of the salvaged wood align in a satisfying way. The scars of past uses under the white paint convey a sense of endurance and the drilled holes might be welcoming eyes. You’re in the presence of a master designer.

Several more constructions are upside-down baskets armored with hard plaster. Their names, “Hunger Lodge” and “Crystal Skeep” (Dutch for “ship”), imply shelter, perhaps from some distant past. They are bleak refuges, armed with spines and shards to protect shadowy interiors. The feeling of loss and isolation continues in a nearby gouache drawing of a writhing tree trunk with amputated limbs.

Blakesley’s “Head Forms” are at once whimsical and menacing.   Nails, again, pounded into salvaged hat-makers’ forms, as if a row of hedgehogs had punk haircuts. You may chuckle, but the sharp edges of the nails give an undertone of violence.

Above them flies “Hour Town,” an expansive drawing suggesting a futurist city. Its tan and white harmonize with the sculptures, but this vision of geometric dwellings filled with angles of pure light shifts the mood to one of peace and harmony.

Set off against these abstractions are Faulkner’s realist meditations on nature. Her touchstone piece is “Under Story,” a dreamlike forest of moss tendrils, ferns alive and decayed, dead branches and leafy ones, all shrouded in mist, happily brightening in the distance. The scene is painstakingly constructed from thousands of overlapping strokes of multicolored oil pastel.

Faulkner can document nature with clinical exactness and great beauty, as in her “Horse Tails.” She’s equally open to abstract possibilities: “The Afternoon Breeze” is a zany capture of a wind-driven tree channeling modernist sculpture. 

And then there is her “Evidence,” the namesake work of the exhibit. Evidence of what? Not a mushroom or slime mold. Let’s just say Faulkner is able to contemplate and portray beauty even in the transformation of all organic matter from one form into another.

More Visual...
Native Son
The life and art of James T. Pickett

Pencils and paper were scarce commodities on the remote Mason County homestead where James Tilton Pickett grew up, but that didn’t stop him from drawing.

Instead of filling sketchbooks and stretched canvasses, he committed his lines to a variety of repurposed barnyard materials. Charcoal…

more »
Creative Control
Logan McQuaig goes solo

Among the eye-catching paintings Logan McQuaig will be debuting at his upcoming “Creative Control” exhibit are a stern buffalo with a bird on its shoulder and a gun held between its hooves (“Stand Your Ground”); a hapless guy munching on a McDonald’s Big Mac while a nuclear bomb lights up…

more »
Salish Spotlight
People of the sea and cedar

If the title of the exhibit “People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey through the Tribal Cultures and History of the Northwest Coast” sounds familiar, it might be because Whatcom Museum has been offering a similarly named program to Bellingham and Whatcom County students for more than 20…

more »
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Dog Day Afternoon

3:30pm|South Whatcom Library

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Try Something New

6:30pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Back to School Night

6:30pm|Lynden Library

Books on Tap

7:00pm|North Fork Brewery

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Comedy Open Mic


Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

2020 Solutions Sept 2017
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Peaceful Poetry Workshop and Contest

4:30pm|Village Books

Women's Rock Climbing Basics


Exploring Vegan Flavors

6:30pm|Whatcom Humane Society

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Autumn Soups for the Body and Soul

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Seattle Quartet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Lynden Farmers Market

12:00pm|Front Street

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Together for Peace


Stream Tour

6:00pm|Whatcom Creek

Trash Talk

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Chuckanut Radio Hour with Nancy Pearl

7:00pm|Village Books

Travel Talk

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Authentic Illusionist Jay Ownehouse

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

MBT Janis Joplin Village Books 2020 Solutions Sept 2017 Bellingham Farmer’s Market BOB_2017 Trove Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1