Visual

Body and Soul

Similarities to reality

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WHAT: Trish Maharam’s “One Continuous Body”
WHEN: Through September
WHERE:Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St., Mount Vernon
For more info: http://www.perryandcarlson.com

WHAT: Drie Chapek’s “Soul Juice”
WHEN: Through Sept. 29; attend an Artist Talk at 4pm Sat., Sept. 21
WHERE: i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court, Edison
INFO: http://www.ieedison.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Abstract art evokes emotions by teasing our minds to look for similarities to reality.

Two accomplished artists offer fine abstract works at Skagit Valley galleries this month; Trish Maharam at Perry and Carlson in Mount Vernon and Drie Chapek at i.e. gallery in Edison. They represent opposite approaches to materials, color and composition.

Maharam descends from a family of fabric entrepreneurs. In her art, so natural to her that she compares it to breathing, she knits, felts and hand-stitches on silk and linen. The finished work is spare and attenuated, her use of color restrained. She observes, “the pieces which most compel me are the ones which take me by surprise.”    

She headlines her work with a poem, “One Continuous Body.” The exhibit is an amalgam of stitchery and text; her own, plus quotations from her favorites, including Rilke and Proust. 

“We make a home,” she writes. “In mine are many rocks, shells, mounds of glass. Fabric, books.” Her choice favors unbleached white linen or silk, sometimes bound up with tiny treasures. “Like a Child” features glass fragments burnished from years of churning in surf, bound with silk thread. The analogous “torsos found” incorporates eroded fragments of shell. 

Many of her works are fragile, especially the intensely personal “hair beads.” She rolled up the 360 “beads” from strands found in the shower. Initial panic for hair lost “gave way to wonder” as the hairs compacted and felted, clinging to each other ”like a small head.” 

Maharam offers many versions of circles of thread on linen or silk.  Breasts come to mind. A series entitled “Gradations of Grey” employs dark knots rising to a point. “Circle of Words” suggests lines of type.  Staring at her spirals of “Spring Green” evoked a feeling of falling into desert ziggurats.             

Chapek has previously shown her paintings at i.e. With “Soul Juice,” she’s at the peak of her game. She paints big, in oil, and surprises by leaving thin washed canvas in pale hues next to thick impasto. She pushes somber blues against pink and faint marigold, orange against green.

Each of her substantial compositions is a rich visual experience. She creates depth not only by impasto, but also by juxtaposing light and dark. “Pleasure” features an irregular, rosy field streaked with red, framed by black on all sides. “Aloft” suggests a mountain peak backed with indigo, sun-washed glaciers tumbling down the front.

Chapek’s “Grounded” mesmerized me. Shrouds in white, yellow, crimson whisper power and majesty—an uncanny congruence to Velasquez’s 1650 portrait of Pope Innocent X.

She is at her most ambitious with “These Times.” There’s no pictorial hook for the imagination here. Sinews stretch across the canvas, framed by viridian to one side and blood red, the other. Was this what another reviewer described as “fully alive and beautifully decomposing?”

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Today
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10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Salish Sea Early Music Festival

7:00pm| Fir-Conway Lutheran Church, St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Cinderella

7:00pm|Lynden Christian Worship and Fine Arts Center

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A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

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Opera Scenes

6:00pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Levity

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Greyson Chance

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The Good Doctor

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

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Tomorrow
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10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Cinderella

7:00pm|Lynden Christian Worship and Fine Arts Center

Winter Dances

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Davis

8:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

They come in peace

12:01am

A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

The Good Doctor

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Lynden Breakfast

8:00am|Lynden Community Center

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am

Pruning 101

10:00am|Blaine Library

La Conner Birding Showcase

10:00am|Maple Hall

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Basic Pruning Methods with Plant Amnesty

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Deep Forest Experience

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A Taste of India

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Jennifer Scott Trio

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Space Trek

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