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Group show 'Painted On' showcases a vibrant local art scene



Published 10:00 pm, Thursday, June 22, 2006


One side of the Hedreen Gallery is windows and the other a long white wall. Not only is the space generous, it's open during the day. Unlike other galleries connected to performance spaces, you don't need to a ticket to be there. Just open the door and walk in.


Hedreen Gallery curator is Carrie E.A. Scott, one of the young art writers and exhibit organizers who in recent years have settled in Seattle and created opportunities from the obstacles they found, greatly enriching the scene.


With "Painted On," her second Hedreen Gallery exhibit, she features 11 local artists, most unknown or nearly so, and some recent imports, better known elsewhere.


Colleen Hayward paints in robust, sweeping motions with the flat end of a broad brush. Her stroke is a kind of weaving, a grid established and partially dismantled. Horizontals pull against verticals, and the horizontals win. There are two Hayward paintings here, each 56 inches high by 60 inches wide, in oil on canvas. Each gains resonance in the other's company.


The first is a dark cranberry with a lighter shade of red underneath: fire under dark embers. The second, in blues, reverses the equation. Blue light bounces off heavy silver granite underneath, refracted instead of plowed under.


Joey Veltkamp hitches his wagon to Richard Prince's star, using some of Prince's strategies to create his own effects. According to Veltkamp, the West was won with toys and sewing. His painting, "How the West Was Won," features a stencil-like cowboy on his stencil-like horse, both smeared with jittery energy onto a tan/gold field. Veltkamp sewed clouds in the sky and a fence in the ground. He's using doily-cute methods to achieve rugged ends, a neat trick.


Collin Shutz's "Nomad" is an empty-eyed rabbit made of inky-black pools. The ink looks furry, as if it's really beard stubble. The angst of the image is both funny and unnerving.


Catherine Eaton Skinner found a new use for old teabags, letting them mark space in a waxy blue composition. Unfortunately, her "Time Without Measure III" seems all too measured; overplanned and underfed.


Brian Murphy, with a suite of three watercolor portraits of his face, is his usual brilliant self. His fat flesh floats. Even though his features appear to be suffering from a retroactive mutation, this tragic undertow cannot keep him from rising.


Francisco Guerrero paints pouty women in thick enamel. The paint looks as if it were poured in quick, nervous pulses, and the figure emerges slowly but with great authority.


Bradley Biancardi's "A Room" in oil could be what Dennis Hopper's character in "Speed" saw as he looked into an elevator shaft: an interior to explode.


Fred Holcomb's oil/tempera abstraction is a series of suns turning or tires crashing, with a rudimentary suggestion of a structure that is overwhelmed by all that spinning form. Not for a second does one inch of his energy flag.


I love Scott Foldesi's "Bus Stop," 45 inches high by 54 inches wide in oil on canvas. The shelter in thick black lines was painted lightly and pushed against the picture plane. Behind it, a tree bursts into bloom, dripping gold and green with the blue sky dripping underneath it.


Edward Matlock's "The Real Estate Boom" is an air-conditioned nightmare, 60 inches square in acrylic on birch panel. In the center stands a nuclear family, outlined lightly and hollow inside. Behind them is a row of green barracks. What grows beside them gives new meaning to the Bible's burning bush, partly a bloom and partly a mushroom cloud.


Troy Kendall might be tired of painting the faces of models for Barneys, his day job. Here, he paints accidents, splashes and drips of faded color on molded paper that wouldn't look out of place as trash on the street. Ornate frames set them up as art. Like the inexplicable frames around photos of dead terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi at a military briefing last week, they fail to convince.


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