City Hall Lobby Gallery &
Anne Focke Gallery
600 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104
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Monday - Friday
7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
The Gathering Exhibit
July 1 — September 5, 2014
The Gathering Exhibit is the result of an interactive event, Breaking the Pane, designed to creatively explore the stories of the Rainier Beach community and identify collective and individual steps to address the negative perceptions of the community and reduce youth violence.
For one week in April, Breaking the Pane engaged the Rainier Beach community in storytelling to explore themes of community identity and perceptions. At five outdoor workshops, community members were asked to simply illustrate the words/feelings/or images that came to mind when they thought of the exact Rainier Beach location that they were standing in. These clear window-like "panes" on one side illustrate how community members experience the five different intersections of Rainier Beach while the other side depicts statistics of violence. The aim of this installation of assembled panes is not only to give voice to the variety of perspectives regarding the Rainier Beach neighborhood, but also to be the centerpiece that turns these stories into action. The culminating event called, "The Gathering," took place on May 31, when over 150 local residents experienced the project through art, video, a photography exhibit and live storytelling, and then challenged themselves (and the wider community) to let the stories inspire action.
The Gathering Exhibit also features a photo and text series from Rainier Beach residents by Zac Davis entitled, "The Rainier Beach Project: Overcoming Displacement," created in conjunction with Breaking the Pane. which explores urban renewal and gentrification occurring in the Rainier Beach/Rainier Valley community. All of the photographs and accompanying quotes were gathered in 2011 and 2012 from the individuals interviewed during the photo shoot. Each participant's words reflected their emotions, memories, and insights pertaining to the issue of gentrification and community development.
"The Gathering" event and Breaking the Pane are the result of a unique partnership between United Story, an organization that uses a story-telling platform to foster community-owned action, and Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth, an innovative, community-led initiative to address youth violence through non-arrest approaches funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
September 9 — October 31, 2014
To understand the complex motivations that drive Tatiana Garmendia, Milan Heger, and Jasmine Iona Brown is to wrestle with questions of ethics, meaning, and loss. Their works inquire into the existential nature of their vocations. Garmendia's drawings and paintings explore notions of pietà, ritualizing the act of mourning and commemoration. Veterans who made it back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pose for those that died. Brown's meticulously painted tempera portraits are haunted by the mute lamentations of children lost to violence. Painting in a technique reserved for the portrayal of saints, martyrs, and angels by the Orthodox Church, the artist imbues her portraits of interrupted lives with a timeless quality that quietly urges meditative remembrance. For Heger, the act of drawing itself is the act of seeing through the layers of pretense and disillusion that oppress society. He turns his discerning gaze at the precarious state of our personal and communal freedoms.
Garmendia's Commemoration series is painted directly on technical fabric currently used by the US military. In Commemoration 5, a three-tour veteran in battle gear stands in for his fallen best friend. The tactical camo grounds his image, that like the existential suffering of those who have worn the uniform in war, can never come off.
Brown's portrait of 8-year old Tanaja Stokes, who was gunned down by another youth while jumping rope in front of her house in August 2010, is a haunting symbol the continued marginalization of the urban underclass in the US. This reverential memorial to the murdered child serves as an antidote to her dehumanized portrayal by the mainstream media, and a society that often treats such tragic loss as a crime statistic.
Heger's mixed media drawings quiver with anxious questions. In I Can Still See the World the urgency of his gestures, the incising effect of smudges, lines, and shapes make broad statements about freedoms of the mind, of the spirit, and of the body's ability to move out of its own volition.
Tatiana Garmendia's work synthesizes formal concerns and a humanist engagement with history and culture. Born in Cuba after the Bay of Pigs, the artist remembers playing in abandoned missile trenches as a girl. A child of revolution and political asylum, she's always looked to art for hope and realization. Educated in Paris and the US, Garmendia's moved by narratives embedded in cultural legacies. Her work is a meditation on national and private histories and explore the eternal struggle between love and hate, for these are the stories we tell others and whisper to ourselves. For the past five years, Garmendia has collaborated with veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to create a series of meditations on the effects of war. Her models are all survivors of extreme experiences—They have survived war; have killed, or sustained attempts on their own lives. For the works exhibited in Queror, the artist directed seasoned soldiers to assume postures of human exaltation or despair mapped out by Michelangelo's masterpiece, The Last Judgment.