Through a unique process of applying thin, translucent layers of monochromatic, acrylic paint to a panel over and over, Travis Louie (HF Vol. 32 cover artist) mimics the effect of 19th-century photography. Though filled with fantastical characters, his works have an effect of verisimilitude much like historical documents from the Victorian and Edwardian periods. For his latest solo show, “Archive of Lost Species,” which opens at Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle on May 7, Louie abandons the studio portrait format we’ve seen before. Instead, his latests works look like snapshots of strange monsters, sometimes observed in the wild and sometimes interacting with their human counterparts.
The feelings of horror and rapture collide at high speeds when viewing Lauren Marx’s work. The St. Louis-based artist creates beautiful vignettes that speak to the cycle of life. Rather than a cleaned-up, Disneyfied verson of nature, her paintings give us raw depictions of birth and death. Influenced my scientific illustrations and the Baroque period alike, Marx’s maximalist mixed-media works present these cyclical phenomena in visually appealing ways, often fusing the chaotic elements of nature into stylized compositions with an emphasis on design. Marx’s solo show, “American Wilderness,” opens at Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle on May 7.
April is a big month for Seattle’s Roq La Rue Gallery, with three shows all opening tonight. In their main room, Peter Ferguson presents a new collection of rust-hued paintings set sometime in the 19th century for his solo show, “Prime Meridian.” In this series, anachronistic villagers and city dwellers encounter increasingly more surreal characters than previously seen in his past work. Monsters invade old-fashioned pubs, schools, and manors — perhaps pointing to the monstrosities of the colonial period, the real-world context his work can’t escape.
On March 5, Seattle’s Roq La Rue Gallery will present two solo shows from artists with distinct aesthetic sensibilities. Sam Wolfe Connelly (who was featured in HF Vol. 32) continues his exploration of the subtly sinister with a new series of drawings and paintings called “And Here I Lay.” Often set in (nearly) empty houses in remote locales, his work takes on the quality of a mysterious shadow one sees in the corner of one’s eye. It has an ambiance of foreboding that can’t be easily explained. The cityscapes in Liz Brizzi’s concurrent show, “Anagrams,” are desolate as well, but her busy mixed-media work departs greatly from Wolfe’s sparse paintings. Brizzi combines digitally manipulated photography, collage, and painting on wood panel to create portraits of unpopulated metropolises that look familiar yet alien because of their stillness.
Dutch artist Chris Berens (featured in our book Hi-Fructose Collected 3) developed a unique painting technique that lends his work a soft focus, as if watching the fantastical world he depicts through a distorted lens. The artist combines age-old glazing techniques inspired by the Renaissance masters with layers of emulsion, plastic sheets one to three inches thick, and paper. The result is a quilted-looking texture that evokes the sensation of seeing his work through uneven layers of glass. The artist has been laying low until recently, and will debut his first US solo show in four years, “Nethermoor,” at Roq La Rue in Seattle on February 5.
The transition from one year into the next inspires us to shed our old attitudes, outlooks, and approaches and start anew. It’s no coincidence that many Pagan rituals around the time of Winter Solstice center around the theme of rebirth and regeneration. Seattle’s Roq La Rue Gallery taps into this theme for their occult-inspired winter group show “Incantation,” featuring artists such as Casey Weldon (covered in HF Vol. 32), Peter Ferguson, Redd Walitzki, Erica Levine, Barnaby Whitfield, Chie Yoshii and others. The exhibition is on view through January 31. Take a look at some of the works below.