Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shoes and toes

The past few days, I have been off island, visiting the studios of gallery artists, taking in a few beautiful gardens on Whidbey Island, and getting to the Bellevue Art Musuem to see the show of Shoes by Beth Levine.

The show is presented in the 2nd floor gallery and divided into various grouping. Looking at her shoe designs from the 1950's to the 1970's, her shoes have a beautiful sculptural quality, as in the shoe above created out of paper in the 1960's. Many of her shoe designs are timeless. With her husband, Herbert, they introduced the stiletto heel into the United States. Beth's love and use of varied materials has placed her as one of the most influential show designers. Beth was the predecessor of comfort and high style for your feet, movement. Looking at her works today, there were a few pairs I would love to own!

Over her long career, Beth popularized such styles as mules, stilettos and fashion boots, and her shoes became favorites among designers and celebrities alike, from Halston to Geoffrey Beene, Marilyn Monroe to Cher, as well as four of America’s First Ladies. A true visionary of the fashion world, she was honored in 1967 and 1972 with the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award, and was the only shoe designer ever to win the award twice. 
Featuring ephemera and over 100 pairs of shoes and boots, this first-time retrospective explores the unbridled energy and creativity behind one of the greatest designers. Bellevue Arts Museum is pleased to be the premier US venue for this exhibition.

The show is up till June 6.Beth Levine Show
[Inspired me to go get a pedicure and paint my toes pink!]
The other event I want to make folks aware of, both on island and throughout the area is the Museum of Northwest Art's Annual Auction Fundraiser.

This Museum located in La Conner, does a great job taking on the task of showcasing art created in the Pacific Northwest'.

 The Mission of the Museum of Northwest Art is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art by Northwest artists.

The date for the Auction is June 19,here's the website for more information:

A few artists represented by waterworks gallery have been generous in their donations to the museum's fundraising auction, including, David Eisenhour, Lisa Gilley, Kathleen Faulkner, Catherine Eaton Skinner, and Cathy Schoenberg. 


Monday, May 17, 2010


This weekend was sunny and very amazing. The arts do flourish in a small way..

At the waterworks gallery in Friday Harbor, the show, Art Hansen - Celebrating 80 opened.
This show was wonderful to curate as I chose images that were created from the mid 70's to the most  recent watercolor' s of 2009. Black and white etchings, color etchings, lithographs and watercolors.  A steady stream of folks coming in to meet and visit with Art Hansen. Good conversation, Art, Food and Wine. Thanks to all who chose to spend the their time at the gallery.It was wonderful.

At 80, many things have constrained to slow Art Hansen down including the absence of his wife, best friend and companion of 50 years Gerta. She is now institutionalized as she suffers from Alzheimer's. Art visits her weekly. He has two grown sons, one lives in NY and one in Seattle. He is a grandfathers a few times over.
Art continues to bike, even after a severe bicycle accident a few years ago. He stays active in both mind and body.

I was introduced to Art 15 years ago by another artist I was showing at the time. I was intrigued by Art's work as he takes everyday scenes, of places in the landscape that he loves.The northwest. He paints the  view from his studio window on Vashon Island and visits his favorite places in the Skagit Valley. His love of gardening is evident as he paints roses with the thorns as a major part of the composition including the pruning cuts. His poppies make us remember the poppies of Georgia O'Keeffe.

His watercolors are a fusion of the stylization and simplicity of East meets West. The line's painted in his watercolors are deceptively simple. Yet each line repeats and builds on the previous line. The repetition of pattern creates the land. We can feel the weight of the barns, the prickliness of the rose's thorns, and the down on the stem of a poppy. He is masterful in his use of the dry brush and watercolor. 

This show is on display at the gallery till June 6
Art Hansen Show.http://www.waterworksgallery.com/artistbios/hansen/hansen.shtml

The following day, myself and my good friend, Laurie Paul went to Seattle to see the newest opera from the Seattle Opera Company, Amelia. As that area of Seattle is all under construction we parked downtown and decided to take the monorail to Seattle Center.

We sat facing with our backs to the route ahead.  This feeling of being seated the wrong way allowed me to see the building at the Seattle Center in a total new way. It was a beautiful sunny day and the light on the Music Experience Building was all reflected bronzes and yellowy sunlight.It was different. I saw  the monorail reflected in the building was intriguing.This experience changed my perception of that building and my ability to be delighted by that experience was evident.

If you have not heard about the newly commissioned opera Amelia. I will only convey a few details. The first difference to traditional opera is that this one is sung in English, yet still uses the Super Titles over the stage. This is a good, as the singing is still very large , sometimes once is so entranced by the sound that one does not even realizing that the language is in English. This makes for a different perspective and different perception.

This opera is also set in a America in fairly recent times.
America of the 60's, Vietnam in the 1960, and a America in recent past tense.

The story is based on letters from a Vietnam era Commander Pilot father to his daughter, the Greek myth of Daedalus and his son, Icarus, and the female flier,Amelia Earhart. The theme of flying and flight is inter woven into a story line about a mother's need to know her unborn child is being brought into a world that is safe and she will be loved." Love is worth the risk."

The sets are brilliant as is the staging.
The music is hauntingly beautiful.
The storyline complex and compelling.
Now that I have seen it once, I want to see it again.

This opera, while non traditional in time frame and in language, fulfilled me.

What is an opera? It is a story that embraces, love, death and war celebrating the art of opera.

This opera  helped me see the world of opera in a contemporary manner.
It was wonderful. Making me wonder about other opera story lines being presented in a current time line.
To me opera, is the ultimate vehicle for suspending one's beliefs.

In the darkened McCaw Hall, we allow the magic to embrace us.
This opera will only run another week, I would see it!