Visual

To be Continued

Realism and abstraction at MoNA

Attend

What: "The Art and Legacy of Joan Kirkman" and "continuum...continued"

Where: Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St., La Conner

More:

Bellingham

Cost: Entry is free

Info: http://www.monamuseum.org

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The two exhibits currently on display at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner reveal different perspectives of Washington painting in the last century. 

On the main floor, “continuum…continued” includes selections from the museum’s collection that illustrate the best of the Northwest “mystic” artists.

A 1953 Life magazine article introduced Americans to Seattle painters Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, Guy Anderson, and Morris Graves, proclaiming “They translate reality into symbolic and distinctive art [and] embody a mystical feeling toward life and the universe.” 

While the four never admitted to being either a group or “mystical,” they all acknowledged the influences on their work of East Asian art and the landscape of the Pacific Northwest.

By the 1960s, Tobey had become one of America’s most highly regarded artists. In his “white writing” style, he created a painting all at once, as in a performance, giving equal weight to every corner of the canvas. But to those who called him the Father of American Abstract Expressionism, Tobey replied that “pure abstraction” was an “impossibility” for him.

His “Meditative Series, #6” hangs near the gallery entrance. It’s an example of this novel “over-all” painting style. A large canvas nearby—“Wayless,” (1978) by Craig Langager—shows how a younger artist followed in Tobey’s footsteps.

A delightful spoof of the influence of Tobey’s work on two other major painters is Neil Meitzler’s “Birth of Northwest Art,” a triple portrait of Tobey, Graves, and Jackson Pollock. Tobey dreamily blows his “white writing” into the air; Graves gathers it, seeming to wonder how he can use it in his own work, while Pollock hides behind the canvas like a thief in the night.

A few of the painters who shared this inspiration are still with us. Max Benjamin settled on Guemes Island in 1959, where he remains. His “untitled (Kent State),” created in 1995, is one of very few with a program. In this powerful painting a carmine flame sweeps up the center. Does it scoop up skulls and ribs? And, to the left, do anguished faces look on or it is only smoke?

Dederick Ward lives in Anacortes. His beautiful “Dip Slope” bridges the gap between landscape and abstraction. Viewers see a cliff or snowbank, tinted perhaps by the setting sun, beautifully rising into an azure sky.

Upstairs, we are treated to rarely seen work of a regional genius with “The Art and Legacy of Joan Kirkman.” Contrasting with the innovative painters, Kirkman was viewed as a traditionalist. She was a highly regarded fashion illustrator for major Seattle department stores and a figure drawing instructor at several universities. Interesting samples of her commercial work are in the Benaroya Glass Gallery on the main floor.

Kirkman was also a prolific fine art painter. Several dozen of her colorful oils and watercolors line the walls. Her female models recline in a reverie—nude, draped or costumed—amid tapestry, flowers, carpets, furniture. My favorite (none of them are given titles) was a study of a young woman, looking away over lilacs and fruit on a table, a few wayward hairs giving her a decided personality.

More Visual...
Flower Power
The art of arrangement

I’ve long been of the opinion that flower arranging is an art form.

Unfortunately, it’s one I’ve yet to master. My problem isn’t with growing flowers, it’s with what to do with them after I’ve cut them and brought them inside. Typically, I just stick like with like in a vase—red dahlias…

more »
Pottery Party
Fifty years and counting

The summer of 1969 was a busy one. Not only did astronauts land on the moon, but the Stonewall riots became a symbolic force for the burgeoning gay rights movement, Muhammad Ali was convicted of evading the draft, and Woodstock made musical history. Additionally, a cooperative studio space…

more »
Modern Quilts
Making a blanket statement

We hadn’t yet made it into the “Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century” exhibit at Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building when my date concluded he’d already found his favorite piece hanging in the first-floor hallway—where a “Bellingham Modern Quilt Guild Showcase” acts as a welcome…

more »
Events
Today
The Spitfire Grill

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Guided Adventures

12:00pm|Skyline Marina

An Iliad

7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Seaside BBQ

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Ferndale Street Festival

6:00pm|Downtown Ferndale

The Phantom Tollbooth

7:00pm|BAAY Theater

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Dynamic Duos

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Fidalgo Bay Day

9:00am|Fidalgo Bay Resort

Lake Whatcom Park Trail Build

9:00am|Lake Whatcom Park

Twin Sisters Farmers Markets

9:00am|North Fork Library

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Concrete Saturday Market

9:00am|Concrete Community Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market2333

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

The art of arrangement

10:00am

The Flower Festival

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Lynden Farmers Market

10:00am|Centennial Park

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Lummi Island Saturday Market

10:00am

Airfest

10:30am|Bellingham International Airport

Cemetery Tours

11:00am|Lynden Cemetery

Weavings Pop-Up Sale

11:00am|Vida Nueva Rugs

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Modern Quilts Final Weekend

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Sumi Fun for All Ages

1:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Summer Jazz Combo

2:00pm|Jansen Art Center

The Poetic Apothecary with Judith Adams

3:00pm|Upper Skagit Library

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Summer Fun in the Park

4:00pm|Blaine's Marine Park

Janie Cribbs and the T.Rust Band

5:30pm|Heart of Anacortes

Seaside BBQ

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Lummi Island Crabfest Dinner

6:00pm|Lummi Island Grange Hall

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Tomorrow
The Spitfire Grill

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Guided Adventures

12:00pm|Skyline Marina

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

The Phantom Tollbooth

7:00pm|BAAY Theater

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Weavings Pop-Up Sale

11:00am|Vida Nueva Rugs

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Modern Quilts Final Weekend

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Seaside BBQ

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Birchwood Farmers Market

10:00am|Park Manor Shopping Center

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Community Free Market

11:00am|Flora Street

Dog Days of Summer

11:00am|Whatcom Humane Society

Bellingham Handmade Market

11:00am|Goods Nursery and Produce

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Big Band Bonanza

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Skagit History Cruise

1:00pm|La Conner Channel Lodge

Summerfest

1:00pm| Josh Vander Yacht Memorial Park

La Conner Live!

1:00pm|Gilkey Square

Skagit History Cruise

1:00pm|La Conner Channel Lodge

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

International Concerts on the Border

2:00pm|Radost Folk Ensemble

Monday
Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Skagit Tours

10:53pm|Highway 20.

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Bark Week

12:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Camp Korey Classic Golf Tournament

12:00pm|Eaglemont Golf Course

Poetrynight

7:00pm|Alternative Library

Open Mic Night

7:00pm|Village Books

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »