Roq La Rue held its first Lush Life group exhibit back in 2009, using the show — and the official statement that accompanied it — to reinforce their focus on “the more formal, Symbolist -inspired painters” within the underground contemporary/pop-surrealist art movement, while rejecting the trend of gravitating toward more street art and pop-culture oriented works, that many other galleries operating within that world had begun to adopt. With the Lush Life 2 exhibit, the following year, that aim remained intact, albeit while opening up the platform to include sculptural works. As owner/curator, Kirsten Anderson explained to us back then, the intention was to highlight artists “who worked with a bit of an opulent or lush tone, either in subject matter or in technique.” The press release further elaborated on the “guideline” as requiring “tight technical craftsmanship, as well the use of opulent and decadent imagery.” This Thursday, August 6th, Roq La Rue returns with the opening of their 5th installment in the Lush Life series, embodying the core principals of the Seattle gallery and making a strong case for revisiting the theme with more regularity.
Titled “Reverie,” this time around, the show is intended to be “a celebration of the ripe, fertile feeling of late summer.” The slightly more detailed breakdown is as follows:
“These are the longest and hottest days – overgrown, sun-lit, lush, and opulently verdant. This spectacular collection showcases a decadent glimpse into the beautiful stories each artist creates about this most languorous season.“
So… there are those key words again: “lush” … “opulent.”
Depending on who you are and how you interpret Anderson‘s approach, if not simply the way that she vocalizes it via her mission statements, it’s possible that it might come across as a bit posh, or exclusive — at worst, elitist, and limiting and restrictive, at best. That being said, the idea of having a clear, unwavering focus is not only appreciated in this climate, but is actually fairly vital, in my opinion; especially, in regards to group exhibits, where, far too often, curators and galleries can be guilty of not employing enough quality control, and diluting them, overall, as a result. In fact, the most surprising thing about the Lush Life shows are that they have consistently managed to provide a tonal continuity among the respective works, while still encouraging diversity in style; even more so than a many of the more hyper-specific themed exhibits promoted elsewhere. The concept may sound vague on paper, but if one were to follow Lush Life from year to year, you would recognize a clear difference in the pieces being showcased in Reverie. And among these pieces are contributions like the dark, brooding, sensual work of Sam Wolfe Connelly; Kazuki Takamatsu‘s trademark, almost digital-like supernatural, apparitions; and another intricate and interactive kinetic work by Seattle‘s own, Casey Curran.
Lush Life: Reverie technically went on display with a selection of pieces on July 30th, but this August 6th event will be the official opening festivities featuring the full selection of contributed works. If you’re in the Seattle area, make sure to stop in and check this out.
[Pro tip: if get down there really early, check out the sandwich shops in the area.]
Adrian Cox, Amanda Manitach, Ashley Eliza Williams, Casey Curran, Casey Weldon, Christian Rex Van Minnen, Eric Wert, Erin Kendig, Esao Andrews, Helen Bayly, Jeff Soto, Jonathan Viner, Kazuki Takamatsu, Lauren Marx, Laurie Lee Brom, Marco Mazzoni, Peter Ferguson, Ryan Heshka, Sam Wolfe Connelly, Scott Hove, Tyna Ontko
Check out preview images for the exhibit below the following event details…
Roq La Rue Presents:
Lush Life: Reverie
Thursday, August 6th, 2015
Roq La Rue Gallery
532 1st Ave S.
Seattle, Wa 98104
Opening is ALL AGES w/NO COVER
Exhibit will be on view until August 29th, 2015.
The gallery is open from 1 – 5pm from Wednesday – Saturday.
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1444762719183424/