Wickwire's Women

Contemplating the Nature of Things


What: "Contemplating the Nature of Things"

Where: Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St., Mount Vernon


WHEN: 11am-5pm Thurs.-Sun. through October


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Maria Wickwire has become well known in the Skagit Valley since relocating from Portland, Oregon. Her cheerful personality is in striking contrast to the anguish on the faces of the sculptures she creates.

In her latest work—an exhibit dubbed “Contemplating the Nature of Things,” which can be viewed through October at Perry and Carlson Gallery in Mount Vernon—Wickwire offers 11 half-scale female torsos, each distinct in material and process, but all displaying excrescences, discoloration, loss of limbs. She says the pieces “Reflect what has been on my heart; pandemic, social unrest, forest fires raging all around us, experiencing what it’s like to be endangered.”

“Dopo l’incendio,” (ceramic, glaze, encaustic) means “after the fire.” Even though she’s singed, she calmly seems to say, “Is this what we have to endure?”

Graceful, dark “Autumn Cascade” is adorned with bronze leaves and pheasant feathers. Punctuated by uncomfortable protuberances, she wears a resigned expression. Her neighbor, “Nilamegh,” (pictured) seems a kind of sea creature—or perhaps has been consigned to a watery grave. Her torso, arms and head are colonized by barnacles and her sad expression appears to say, “Why me?”

“Karya,” too, expresses resignation. She’s growing leaves. Branches sprout from her head. Her neighbor, “Pina,” suffers a similar fate—perhaps isolated from companionship so long that she’s turning into a pinecone (or tree).

Look closely at the statue of “Trenggiling.” The most trafficked and endangered species in the world clings to her head! The artist wants you to discover the pangolin on your own and pronounce its melodic, Malay name.

“You See More than I” is a commanding ceramic and wire sculpture. The subject’s hair is spun into horns. You sense that a clear-eyed person inside is peering out at the incrustation overwhelming her. Nearby, “Mother, Mother Ocean” focuses on a savage chain which binds her wrists. Don’t touch; the chain is entirely ceramic.

Next up at the gallery in November will be Christian Carlson’s meditations on landscape. He treated me to a preview to demonstrate how last year’s encaustic miniatures have grown to wall-size.

Over and over, he crafts his vision in paint, returning to the horizon line, the possibility of a seascape, a sky, then translates it to an abstract version, scores the panel with a china marker, which he then attenuates with a wiping rag soaked in an odorless solvent to give the work an appearance of crackling from age. There’s something to be said in favor of a steadfast vision, like Monet, who painted his waterlilies over and over again.


A GUILDED GALLERY: Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild’s “Art Aloft” exhibit will be on display from 11am-5pm Wed.-Sat. through Oct. 29 in Stanwood at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St. NW. The second in a series of ongoing juried shows features new works by dozens of regional artists in a variety of mediums. All works are for sale.
For more info:

ALLIED ARTS: “Magnificent Emotion” shows from through Oct. 31 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The exhibit features paintings by Tanya Tjoelker, Jean Ferrier, Lori Hill, and Jamie R. McPherson. Gallery and thrift store hours are 11am-4pm Tues.-Fri. for the foreseeable future. Safety guidelines are in place.
For more info:

ARTWOOD: Hours are currently 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Fridays, and 11am-6pm Saturdays at Artwood Gallery, 1000 Harris Ave. Please wear a mask when entering the gallery; gloves will be available for guests who need to handle the merchandise.
For more info:

GALLERY SYRE: Peruse “David Syre: Envisioning a Better Future” from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Thursdays (and by appointment) through Nov. 7 at Gallery Syre, 465 W. Stuart Rd. The works Syre created during quarantine have a unique language and message for a better future. Mostly abstract and painted with powerful colors, these recent canvases inspire people to take a leap into the unknown, to think about new forms of living together—and a new world in which humans can coexist with nature again.
For more info:

GOOD EARTH: “Kindled Spirits” will be featured from 11am-5pm Thursdays through Saturdays, 12pm-4pm Sundays, and 11am-5pm Mondays through October at Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave. The juried exhibition of wood-fired, soda-fired and salt-fired ceramics features works by invited artists Lindsay Oesterriter, Lorna Meaden, Liz Lure, Jan McKeachi Johnston, Neil Celani, and Simon Levin, as well as 61 atmospheric-fired works selected through the competitive jurying process.
For more info:

I.E. GALLERY: “Less: Presence in Absence” can be seen from 11am-5pm Fridays through Sundays through Nov. 29 in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The group exhibit emphasizing the significance of absence as a shaper of knowing features works by Marc Wenet, Barbara Sternberger, J.W. Mahoney, Margy Lavelle, Galie Jean-Louis, Joe Goldberg, Ed Bereal, and Sharron Antholt.
For more info:

JANSEN ART CENTER: Mike Bathum’s “Emerging Nature 2,” “Through the Eyes of the Beholder” by Malissa Perry and Christen Mattix, a Whatcom Artist Studio Tour showcase, a Juried Exhibit, and the annual “Cup Show” can be viewed in person through Nov. 28 at the Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St.
For more info:

MATZKE GALLERY: Peruse approximately 100 pieces of fine art in a variety of mediums as part of an annual “Art Auction” exhibit from 11am-5pm Fridays through Sundays through Oct. 31 on Camano Island at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, 2345 Blanche Way. “Bid or buy” the artworks by coming to the gallery or previewing the works online.
For more info:

MONA: “The Barn Show,” an exhibit commemorating the annual art shows held at the Reims’ farm on Fir Island starting in 1987, can be seen from 12pm-4pm Thursdays through Sundays in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 First St. Following CDC and state guidelines, only 20 people at a time will be admitted into the galleries.
For more info:

QUILT & FIBER MUSEUM: “A Tradition of Friendship” and “Colors of Our World” are currently on display at La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Reservations are required for entry.
For more info: NEW ONES?

SCOTT MILO GALLERY: Landscapes by oil painter Keith Sorenson will be featured from 11am-4pm Wednesdays through Fridays through Nov. 3 in Anacortes at Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave. Also showing are Anacortes-based artists who would’ve been taking part in what was to be the 98221 Studio Tour month, including Lanny Bergner, Les Eelkema, Kathleen Faulkner, Lewis Jones, and Joella Solus. The show can also be viewed online.
For more info:

SMITH & VALLEE: View works by painter Rob Vetter and bronzes, cast glass and original sculptures by Peregrine O’Gormley through Nov. 1 in Edison at Smith & Vallee Gallery, 5742 Gilkey Ave. The works focus on themes of roads—and ties between landmark, landscape and journeys.
For more info:

WHATCOM ART MARKET: Works by Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Sundays at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Due to public safety concerns, masks are required for all customers, and hand sanitizer will be provided.
For more info:

WHATCOM MUSEUM: “Anatomy of a Collection: Recent Acquisitions and Promised Gifts” is open to the public (with limited capacity) from 12pm-4:30pm Wednesdays through Sundays at Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building, 250 Flora St. This exhibition reflects the longstanding relationships with artists, institutions and donors who have helped shape and expand the museum’s collection through gifts of art, and marks 10 years since the Lightcatcher’s construction. Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall and Museum Store are also open.
For more info:

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