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This Is The Way

Aug 07 – Sep 27 2014

Flynn Bickley, Serrah Russell, Joana Stillwell

Reception & Artist Talk:
Thursday August 28th, 6:00-9:00pm

This Is the Way brings together work by Seattle artists Flynn Bickley, Serrah Russell and Joana Stillwell.

Flynn Bickley’s handmade dolls are perhaps what people would look like if their histories, secrets, dreams, and genders were plainly visible on their faces and bodies. Human forms (though possibly with antlers or hooves) are created with sculpey, painted with acrylic, and then dressed intricately in tiny handmade clothes. A female to male transsexual whose innocent childhood rebellions included chopping Barbie’s hair and putting her in Ken’s clothes, Bickley uses the dolls as a way to see himself in the world and empathize with others.  The dolls are not stock characters—there is no villain or princess; each doll is a unique embodiment of the subtleties of human conditions.

Serrah Russell’s collages capture moments in time in the abstract parallel world where ocean might be taped to sky or hands might hold the longing of an airplane window. Her use of the medium of collage is fluent and expansive, and includes cut and pasted found imagery, instant film and digital photography. Reckoning absence as much as the tangible world, she seamlessly extends collage into three-dimensional sculptural space, time, and memory.

Joana Stillwell’s videos are meditations on what she finds herself doing when she’s not doing anything; in turn, they become thoughtful examinations of the medium of video, of herself as a self-conscious subject, and of her activities as stand-ins for herself. In Trying to Find Joy in the Studio, light-refracting bubbles float through a textured white wall looking in on itself. In Diamond Dust, we are inside the night sky of a snow globe that is shaken by the artist. The videos sanction playful boredom and transform it into another place—one where we are reminded of the everything in nothing.

What prompted the inclusion of these three artists in this exhibition was a sentiment that all three expressed in their artist statements of their work being simply, and non-judgmentally, a recording of what they encounter in themselves and in their worlds. The title comes from the song This Is the Way by Devendra Banhart, which goes: 

This is the way

I share my breakfast
This is the way
I serve my sentence
This is the way
I’m always leaving
This is the soft
Voice of the evening
This is the way
I hear my father
These are the flames
That drown the water

 

– Susanna Bluhm, Gallery Director