ArtSEA: Seattle starts 2023 with a scream

Lose yourself in art

The best art experiences are those that pull you out of your current time and space and transport you elsewhere — to a different place, feeling, memory or connection. In those instances, numbers like 2023 can seem somewhat arbitrary. And that’s a good thing.

Try it out at Linda Hodges Gallery, where local artist Fred Holcomb’s large-scale paintings sweep the viewer up into landscapes showcasing the lonesome drama of the Pacific Northwest. In Beachscapes (through Jan. 28), we see “haystack” rock formations, driftwood logs rolled up onto sand, dark evergreen forests marching down to expansive seas, clouds, mist, and water bodies that blur into sky. The paintings encourage you to pause, pull in your paddles and drift for a spell.

Also in Pioneer Square, where the first First Thursday Artwalk of 2023 kicks off this evening, you’ll find more encouragement to release yourself from the shoulds — from the shape you feel pressured to take in 2023 — and instead sink into immediate experiences. At J. Rinehart Gallery, As If (Jan. 5 – 28) is a collection of very large grayscale works by Seattle artist Lakshmi Muihead. Made with graphite, acrylic and plaster, these pieces sometimes resemble slashing rain, sometimes geologic rock formations, but always something too large to fit within our customary human boundaries. 

At 4Culture Gallery, Erin Elyse Burns asks us to Obliterate the Subject (Jan. 5 – 26) with a photo and video exploration of “internal struggles with selfhood,” “pandemic purgatory” and the color black. While over at Greg Kucera Gallery, Anthony White’s Extended Warranty (Jan. 5 – Feb. 11) presents a collection of new works made with the artist’s polymer-pen technique, in which each image is crowded with pop-culture clutter — including Wheaties boxes, “coexist” bumper stickers and Energizer battery packs. White also obliterates the subject, but with a maximalist approach.

One more way to welcome the new year: a curious installation called Mel’s Hole (Jan. 5 – 28) at SOIL Gallery in Pioneer Square (Jan. 5 – 28). Created by the Punch Projects artistic collective, based in Thorp, the piece is inspired by the urban (er, rural) legend of Mel’s Hole, allegedly located just outside Ellensburg.

In 1997, area resident Mel Waters claimed he’d found a hole in the earth that was “bottomless,” not to mention paranormal and capable of reanimating dead animals. The simulated dark and mysterious hole at the back of the SOIL space may or may not be bottomless, but you can certainly use it as a metaphor for the new year — whether throwing out the old or finding endless, unexpected possibilities in the new.

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