Perry and Carlson
A new game in town
What: "The Reconsidered Landscape"
Where: Perry and Carlson Gallery, 508 S. First St., Mount Vernon
WHEN: Through December
Cost: Entry is free
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Mount Vernon has a new game in town. The Perry and Carlson Gallery, at 508 S. First St., adds a high-end art venue to the city and fulfills a lifetime ambition of creative design professionals Christian and Trina Perry-Carlson.
When the couple’s youngest child entered college they saw it was time for a change. Cornish-trained Trina had enjoyed a career as a retail design professional and Christian’s architectural career had culminated with the job of lead designer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s campus in Seattle.
The couple had been scouting the Northwest for a place to integrate city living, a retail shop featuring good design, a working studio and a display gallery. The “intact fabric” of the historic downtown of Mount Vernon appealed to them. When a 6,000-square-foot property opened up, they were ready to move.
After remodeling, it featured the gallery and retail in front, studio and apartment living in back. This past summer and autumn their gallery featured first their own works and then those of distinguished international photographers.
“The Reconsidered Landscape” is their inaugural open, juried show. It was a daunting task to select 18 from more than 600 pieces submitted. The Carlsons chose works from across the country, in different styles and media, to display a variety of artistic answers to the question, “How do we see and use the land?”
An image of a tree scarred by decades of bad pruning sets the tone; its sturdy trunk arises from blood-red soil. “Untitled,” by Maureen O’Leary of Mount Sinai, New York, springs from her desire to illustrate “how wild things are constrained.”
Two large pieces by Mount Vernon’s own Natalie Niblack bracket a range of possibilities: her huge monochrome print, “Wiley Slough,” expresses the harmony of land under cultivation. And the technicolor “Street Explosion?” A lot of hydrocarbon is going up in flames—looking like a really bad day at the refinery.
Comforting are two exquisitely crafted woodcut prints by Sarah Kreuter of Bellingham. “Bends” and “River Branches” are keepers, and supremely affordable.
Nathan Taves began as a cartographer before taking up fine art. The aerial photos and blueprints that burned into his memory now bleed into beautiful compositions which he calls “blending perspective.” “Snow Lake” is a masterpiece of bending shadows on a field of white, culminating in swirls of lime green and tangerine, which, rotated 90 degrees, reveal several surprises.
Although Dawn Chandler usually paints in larger format, the Carlsons chose two small works to illustrate her take on landscape. She brushes on bright, contrasting colors, inscribes fragments of poetry and spatters paint to suggest trees and birds. Her goal is to evoke the memory of landscape. Vertical panels divide the narrative.
The exhibit includes a selection of photographs, which Christian Carlson has chosen for their “mannered approach,” rather than the “usual fine focus.” Scott Herndon’s “Washington, D.C. in Winter” conveys a feeling of cold and inwardness with its black and white diffuseness, while Philadelphia-based Mary Agnes Williams uses a pinhole camera to convey effects of mystery and ambiguity.
In this holiday season, don’t overlook the adjacent shop. It’s tastefully stocked with a curated collection of new objects, artist-made pieces and classic designs from the midcentury and beyond.