Olympia’s annual Spring Arts Walk is one of the city’s biggest events, with over 100 artists registered, and many more participating unofficially. Here is a collection of artists that we recommend who are presenting their work at this year’s Spring Arts Walk, which is set for April 24 and 25. Hopefully, you can check out their work in person during the event. Many of the art shows happening will be kept up through the weeks following Arts Walk. Be sure to keep an eye on these talented Olympians.
NATHAN BARNES will show his distorted, grotesque mixed media portraits at Salon Refu for his new exhibition “Strangely Familial.” The Olympia artist fits broadly into the genre of pop surrealism, where cartoonish assemblages make up uncannily warped scenes. In the new series, 3D collaged faces melt away horrifically, revealing biological mechanics and toy store bric-a-brac. In one piece, a frightened man encounters a cross-sectioned heart, circumscribed by a utilitarian red electrical cable. In another, skin is cut away to reveal computer hardware, while oversized teeth chomp aluminum cans. The effect, perhaps, is to highlight the dehumanizing ideals of industrialism, in which the organic is subsumed by the machine. ISSAC SCOTT
114 N Capitol Way
JULIA ZAY is an Evergreen visual and media arts faculty, as well an extraordinary artist in her own right. Zay is currently teaching the Mediaworks program, and will be teaching the Art and Archive program this fall. Her work is currently on this issue’s front and back cover.
Zay will be showing new work in her show “De Facto,” which will be up at Stable Studios and Gallery through May 22. The work being shown is a mix of drawing, photography, and print-making. The work appears to be about form, using a shallow depth of field to present angular objects that appear to be suspended in space by some kind of optical-illusionary magic, masterfully using light and shadows in her favor.
As part of the show, Zay will be conducting a series of site-specific drawing performances with dates and performance times to be announced. BLAINE EWIG
Through May 22
607 5th Ave SE
LILAH ROSE & JEAN NAGAI Last weekend, when I went to talk to them about Arts Walk, Olympia artists Jean Nagai and Lilah Rose were working on what is to become a kite-inspired, air-filled nylon sculpture, on their porch on the Westside. It was a beautiful sunny evening, and they were sewing colorful nylon diamonds into a complicated pattern into what was to become a “three-headed hydra,” a mythological snake, for reasons that were somewhat difficult to discern.
“I don’t know much about it,” said Rose, “I think it might be something that guards the gates to the underworld. That might be that dog thing though.”
“I think people should also feel good about the world, if they want to,” Nagai said. “There are things to be grateful for and I think sometimes art can convey that. That there’s more than just yourself and what you know of.”
Whatever the intention behind it, we’ll all be able to witness the final piece first-hand at the downtown ambassador’s office at Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street (across the street from Dumpster Values) during Arts Walk. Nagai also has work on canvas and paper up already at Caffe Vita. PHOEBE CELESTE
Downtown Ambassador Program
301 4th Ave E
ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO’s work has been featured on the walls of local cafe Obsidian, so if you’ve been out and about in downtown Olympia, you’ve likely seen his work before. His highly-experimental music pairs well with his paintings—both are strange, yet appealing in how endearing and absurd they are.
Dionyso’s work is often simple, foregoing foreshortening and using pronounced brushstrokes and organic lines to create human figures, mythical animals, and surreal scenes. His works seems to take place in a dream world where bird heads find themselves affixed to human bodies. His work is sometimes sexually-explicit, so viewers should be prepared for this possibility.
Arrington de Dionyso’s paintings will be showing at the Capitol Theater Studios during Friday evening of Arts Walk. BE
607 5th Ave SE
SCOTT YOUNG’s photography has been pretty well represented in Olympia in the past year; his work has been shown at Caffe Vita, and he was featured on one of the Cooper Point Journal’s covers. His band TransFx also has also become known around town for their cooly strange live performances. Beginning this Arts Walks, Young will be showing a series of work consisting of primarily digital and medium format photography prints at Dumpster Values through the month of May.
Young’s work is clean, but manages to not be clinical or antiseptic in aesthetic. His work has an absurdness to it that is sometimes jarring, but all the while enticing with its vibrant colors which tend to be presented against clean white backdrops. The themes of his work vary but there is often something bodily about what if being represented in his photographs. Viewers can expect to see an element of playfulness that still brings up serious ideas.
Young has also curated another Arts Walk show consisting of paintings and collages made by three-year-old Ruby Murillo titled “Sparkely Sparkely PoPo PoPo,” which will show at Little General rough the month. BE
302 4th Ave E