[This show will be running side by side with Andy Kehoe’s “Inner Mystic.” Preview HERE]
One issue that I’ve sometimes found with my home city of Seattle– and with its music and art scenes, specifically–is in regards to how often it parallels the greater underground contemporary art and pop surrealism worlds, in general; people are often far too supportive and not critical or discerning enough about what they endorse. If you witness enough large group art exhibits from enough galleries, it becomes hard not to wonder why some of the more derivative and less skilled contributors made it through the approval process alongside others who are displaying much stronger pieces, after awhile. The same is true with music festivals. My assumption is that this is based off of the principle that a handful of sticks are more difficult to snap than just one and that this unity in a burgeoning art community will strengthen the scene and visibility for all involved. But what about that old proverb which states that “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link“? For every uninteresting indie neo-folk singer-songwriter and disposable joke rap act, there is a Perfume Genius or Astronautalis (who eventually just relocated to Minneapolis) that goes under recognized in this city, because people are too concerned with hyping any and everyone that hovers within their immediate circle. A faulty ambassador only weakens the overall image of what’s being produced. In other words, it’s the Danny Browns of the world that make people want to delve further into what a scene may have to offer, not the Macklemores. The same goes for promoting the derivative work of any pseudo-competent visual artist that’s pushing little more than the same played out anti-MacDonalds pop culture references that we’ve seen for years, without providing so much as a new spin on them.
Over the last two decades, low brow and pop surrealism have proven their increasing appeal and marketability, and the pool of artists eager to contribute works that fall under such banners has grown exponentially, so there’s really no reason not to have someone watching the gates at this point.
Seattle‘s Kirsten Anderson, has been heavily involved in the underground contemporary art movement since the 90s, even assembling and publishing the book Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art back in 2004. Throughout that time, she has never wavered from her focus of promoting only the most forward thinking, high quality, and impressive artists and content available. It is that consistency and discerning eye that landed her the position of editor-at-large for Hi Fructose magazine, a publication that mirrors her penchant for exhuming and highlighting amazing talents, rather than simply offering up everything in an unfiltered mixed bag of whatever’s trending. But what I appreciate most is what she’s done and continues to do with Roq La Rue, the gallery that she founded back in 1998. Not only does it provide Seattle with a world class venue to view some of the most consistently impressive work that the underground contemporary and pop surrealist worlds have to offer, but Anderson also makes it a point to showcase local talent which is undeniably deserving of the platform and exposure. These aren’t artists whose only redeeming quality is being from the area, but artists that we are actually lucky enough to have in the area, and which Anderson and Roq La Rue are simply perceptive enough to recognize and aknowledge. This Thursday June 5th, the latest local talent to exhibit a full on collection of new works will be Redd Walitzki, someone who we’ve actually been aware of for quite some time.
I’ve seen Redd‘s work floating around for a few years now. She’s popped up with standout pieces in group shows, did another great solo exhibit at San Francisco‘s Modern Eden gallery back in December, and, I believe, even attended Cornish School of the Arts with a handful of people that I know. Even as a casual observer, I’ve seen her already impressive work continue to evolve and progress. Much more than an artist that simply has “potential;” she fully embraces her abilities, while continuously expanding them, proving that the potential is limitless for those that are willing and driven to push themselves, motivated by exploration and whatever possibilities might lay ahead for both their own skills and the potential of art itself. One example is the multi-faceted creation process that she employs to achieve the aesthetic that she does with her work. I never knew exactly what she was doing before, but now that I do (details below), I’m even more fascinated by it. Even an unabashed hater like myself feels a sense of pride in having her represent the area, and in such a world class local gallery as Roq La Rue. The truth is that there are some really great things coming out of this area and it would be difficult not to appreciate the reminder.
Read the following information from the press release, check out the preview images below, and then, if possible, get yourself down to the Pioneer Square art district of the city to see this stuff in person and experience it up close. This show will be running until the 28th.
Via the press release:
Redd Walitzki will be showing a brand new series of her mixed media paintings on decorative laser cut panels. This series celebrates the beautiful moment of ecstasy on the cusp of entropy. Drawing inspiration from some of the themes of the indie band Neutral Milk Hotel’s lyrics, her figures are decadently breaking apart, or merging with the lush environments around them, creating a euphoric vision we can’t quite hold onto. Her dreamlike muses are at one with their surroundings and they bring to life a compelling world of fleeting beauty, made more poignant by the aura of loss that emanates from these painted sirens. They invite us to an illusory world we may never fully enter and remind us that the complexity of our natural world is slowly disappearing.
Walizki employs a laborious creation process. She initially conceptualizes an idea, then selects a model and shoots her own reference material. She then creates a watercolor sketch and then scans it and transfers the scan to rice paper, which she then affixes to a panel which has been laser cut to her design. She then begins building up layers of oil glazes and the final pieces is then varnished.
Check out the preview images for the exhibit below the following event details…
Roq La Rue Presents
“When We Break“ – New Painting by Redd Walitzki
Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Roq La Rue Gallery 532 1st Ave S. Seattle, Wa 98104
Opening is ALL AGES w/NO COVER
Exhibit will be on view until June 28th, 2014.
The gallery is open from 1 – 6pm from Wednesday – Saturday.
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/637923249634883/
[click images to enlarge]
“Let Your Skin Begin To Blend Itself With Mine”
oils over mixed media on laser cut wood panel
23″ x 34″ (with extension 34″ x 36″)*
*extension is a separately cut piece of sturdy curved material that attaches easily to back of painting panel – you can see it in the above piece.
“When All Is Breaking”
oil over mixed media on laser cut wood panel
23″ x 34″ (with extension 28″ x 38″)