You'll often find Ethan Bickel with a camera hanging around his neck, or a large sketch pad on his lap full of expressive landscape drawings. In each case he creates images that are perceptive and clear. In the unique light offered both in and outside of the Georgetown Steam Plant his evocative photographs truly capture the haunting beauty of this historic structure. Along with his unique vision, Ethan brings a wry sense of humor to the Residency that is equally appreciated. He's just fun to hang out with. We are very glad he's come along with us for the past two years.
Ethan Bickel grew up in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts near the confluence of the Westfield and Connecticut Rivers, and as the youngest of three children, spent a lot of time riding in the car. These experiences have contributed to a life long interest in the cultural landscape as it pertains to the automobile and nature, as well as the familial landscape. Ethan studied printmaking and photography at the Hartford Art School in Hartford, CT and landscape architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI.
Ethan currently resides in Seattle where he has a small design practice. His photographic work is frequently on view at local cafes and coffee houses. He recently participated in the Dwamish Artist's Residency and "Small Voids," and installation of 100 Seattle artists by Todd Jannausch.
Ethan on his experience in 2013:
Exploring the old power plant was a highlight of this year's residency, though at first it felt very disconnected to the Duwamish River itself. In a historical context, however, the river used to flow right by its doors, and the power plant must have been a prominent marker on the Duwamish landscape. It was thrilling to explore the interior space of an industrial building in a landscape that has been so changed by industry and commerce.
We were thrilled when Chris Crites agreed to join us on the Residency in 2013. You might know him as The Bag Painter. He creates exquisite portraits based upon criminal mugshots from the 30s and 40s, often on brown paper bags, though sometimes on tubes from toilet paper or, well, who knows.
Chris was just completing a printmaking residency at Pratt Fine Art Center when he arrived on the shores of the Duwamish River. While he was the only freshman in the group his enthusiasm was infectious. Despite his initial panic about drawing in public rather than cloistered in his studio, Chris was undeterred. He immediately set up his folding chair on the First Avenue Bridge and got to work. He was, he noted, following instructions from a nearby sign that read, "draw bridge".
Education: BA, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA AA, College of San Mateo, San Mateo, CA.
Chris Crites painted his first four mug shots in acrylic on paper bag in 1999. Seriously focusing on the subject matter of arrest photographs since 2002, he has developed and refined his brightly colored, limited palette style.
Adding cultural icons, musicians, commissioned portraiture, mushroom clouds, nudes and firearms to his body of work, Crites has shown and been published across the United States and Europe. His art work is represented in Seattle by G. Gibson Gallery and in San Francisco by Jack Fischer Gallery.
He is also an independent curator and lives in Seattle with his wife and cats.
Chris Crites on his experience at the Duwamish Residency.
It was like being a kid or being in school again. Having the permission to go out, explore and play - doing what is available to all of us, but we just don't. The experience changed the way I look at the world. Later, I was driving across the Montlake Bridge and said to myself "I can draw this!". This residency expanded my thinking about mark and image making and has rekindled the fun of drawing anything.
Sue Danielson is one-half of the two-artist brain trust that created the Duwamish Artist Residency. This comes as no surprise, since her art is intimately entwined with the idea of connections—between memory of the past and perception of the present, between the drafted line and the spatial field, between printed image and painted image. Her gallery shows feature open conversations among artists that explore the relationship of creativity to practice. Not only does she delight us every morning with coffee and donuts but her quiet strength, organizational prowess and charming determination help to keep this residency running.
Sue Danielson is a self-taught Western Washington-based maker of acrylic and mixed-media paintings. Her work describes a critical, devoted attention to accumulation of tangled line and amassed form, built from layers of paint and mixed media. Oftentimes, the work resembles a geographical or city map, thwarting our sense of scale; or cryptic visual cipher which we see to resolved into a recognizable object. Her work has been shown both locally and nationally. Selected exhibitions include Bridge Productions (who represents her work), Out of Sight Art Fair, Seattle Art Fair (2016), Fine Art Museum of Florida State University, and the West Coast Biennial.
Riversong, 42"x37", mixed-media on Tyvek, 2015
"Riverhead", 24"x18", 2015
During the 2015 residency we went in search of the Duwamish headwaters (hint: the Green River flows into the Duwamish River). Gor two nights we camped as far up river as was possible in Kanaskat-Palmer State Park. This painting was inspired by our time exploring there.
Steam Plant Squared I, 12"x12", mixed-media, 2015
Inspired by the Georgetown Steamplant where the residency artists have worked in 2014-15. They will be working there again in 2016 thanks to Seattle City Light.
Steam Plant Squared II, 12"x12", mixed-media, 2016
Inspired by the Georgetown Steamplant where the residency artists have worked in 2014-15. They will be working there again in 2016 thanks to Seattle City Light.
During the Duwamish Residency, Linda Davidson roamed the shores of the Duwamish River on foot with either a small sketchbook in hand or an 8 mm video camera. This last year even with a portable typewriter. She might characterize herself as a painter. We might say she is a visual poet. Her participation is uniquely experiential. The act is the process. When we threw down the challenge of putting all of this into words, Linda responded in her usual eloquent way.
"It gets bigger for me as it goes away."
Linda Davidson received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1982. She worked for several years as an illustrator in NYC before moving with her husband to London and focusing on fine art. Following years in London and Kuala Lumpur, she landed in Seattle in 1997 where she has lived, worked and exhibited for the past 15 years. Her paintings are represented by the G.Gibson Gallery.
Jessica Dodge spent the first thirteen years of her life in the eastern half of the United States, then moved with her family to Seattle in the summer of 1970. She started her fine art training at Cornish College of the Arts in 1977, and continued it at the School of Visual Concepts through 1984; she also studied printmaking at Sev Shoon Arts Center from 2006 – 2008.
Though primarily a painter, most often employing techniques of reverse painting with oils on glass, she also creates art in a variety of other media, including murals and theater sets. Regardless of the medium, she is always looking for the story, and playing with the dynamics of darkness and light in her work.
She has exhibited her work widely in the Northwest, in addition to New York and Spain, and is currently represented by the Jadite Gallery in New York City. You can always see her work at www.jessicadodge.net, and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Cement Plant oil on glass - 2015 40" X 22"
Cement Plant graphite in paper - 2014 18" X 24"
Path Trees #4 colored pencil and pastel on paper - 2012 24" X 18
Path Trees #9 graphite on paper - 2014 7" X 5"
Emily Gherard received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (2002) and her MFA from the University of Washington (2004). Seattle Wa. She paints abstracted piles of rocks and crumbling walls in an attempt to elicit an empathic response from the viewer. Emily was nominated for the Neddy Award in 2013.
We begin with one of our favorite Residency Artists, Robert Hardgrave (but then they're all our favorite).
This summer was Robert's fourth time around on the Duwamish Residency. His studio practice primarily includes an exploration of drawing and painting through varied and unexpected mediums. Sometimes they become three-dimensional. As he roamed about the east side of Duwamish River he set aside his usual tools after the debris of the industrial landscape that caught his eye. The multicolored shapes and pieces of rope accumulated in his bag. Although his specific intention was still unknown to the rest of us we were aware that he collected with purpose. What emerged were several site specific installations that, once photographed, were immediately dismantled. They were playful while still evoking the mechanical industry that throbs nearby.
Here's what Robert has to say about his experience:
Exploring a foreign environment, trying to make sense of what is seen and felt, while trying to synthesize the experience in form and line, brought me to make unusual decisions about how that could happen. Photographing garbage arrangements in select locations while exploring new places feels like play. Applying these discoveries to my current practice, I feel I have ample information to harvest throughout the coming year.
Robert Hardgrave, born in Oxnard, CA, raised in southern AZ, has been a Seattle resident for the past 22 years. He is in the practice of old fashioned drawing and painting. Improvisation is his strength and he enjoys employing "mixed" media whenever he can. Robert has been published in numerous artist survey books and magazines in addition to a monograph of his own work called “Magic Beans”. He is currently represented by Cullom Gallery here in Seattle, WA.
I am constantly in search of those ideas that can be pushed in multiple directions and still push back. I want to be challenged in such a way where the evolution of ideas flow, keeping me excited to stay in the studio day after day.
I change mediums on a consistent basis and process each to a point where I feel proficient. This helps ideas feel fresh and uncharted. Each new medium requires unique allowances; I want materials to guide the work toward what it is going to be, while maintaining a consistent language across media. I believe that by allowing only a few variables to exist, the materials are forced to reveal their nuances. This permits my personal vocabulary to speak louder, conducing cross-pollination between media, where ideas, discovery and surprise reign supreme. This is my ultimate goal.
Visual artist David C. Kane, born in Bellingham Washington, lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, has shown his paintings, drawings and prints in area galleries for over 25 years. He was educated at the University of Washington, most notably under Jacob Lawrence and Michael Spafford. At the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, he invented that organization’s longest running fund raising event, “They Shoot Painters, Don’t They,” a 24 hour painting marathon and auction, and curated “They Came Here First,” a show commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first sighting of flying saucers over Mt Rainier in 1947. In 2007, he was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle curated by Robin Held. He founded the Eidelauer Picture Club in 2009.
Steve MacFarlane is a talented printmaker with enviable draftsmanship skills that are reflected in his astutely observed drawings and prints. His imagery often blurs the line between realism and abstraction, and loaded with expressive marks and color. Personally we love his ingenious sense of humor and wise observations about the landscape along the Duwamish River. It's the type of place where anything might happen, from the sudden appearance of a swat team to a jumping salmon. Steve gives good commentary both off and on the picture plane.Steve's primary focus while working along the Duwamish River is, well, the landscape. He often works in charcoal to create drawings that he translates into monoprints once back in his studio. During an exhibit last fall at the North Seattle Community College Gallery of Residency artists' work, Steve treated us to a demonstration of his process by displaying a series of sketches, drawings and proofs, to finished monoprints of single images.
Here is what Steve had to say about joining the Residency:
When I was asked to join a Residency on the Duwamish River, I instantly said yes. Not only was it an intriguing idea, to spend a week creating art in an area unfamiliar to me, but also a chance to work alongside other artists, seeing what energy and interpretations they would bring to the experience. I had no idea what this was going to be like as I am used to working in the pretty controlled environment of my studio. On the river, I would be subject to the vagaries of weather, light, access to sites and the physical constraints of how to actually create artwork outside of the studio in potentially awkward spaces.
My work also typically focuses on the human figure and now I had this whole industrial landscape to work from - very outside my comfort zone.
There are stretches of the river, once heavily channelized and industrialized, that are surprisingly beautiful - areas where natural forces are reclaiming the riverbanks. What I hope to capture in my work are indicators of the inevitability of Nature's power to break down our insistence and drive to control our environment through the dynamic, ever-changing way it advances, regardless of, and even despite, our efforts.
The Duwamish River Residency, now my third year of participation, has been an incredible journey of creativity and exploration. I credit the other participating artists in no small way for making this happen. The camaraderie and challenge extended by all the participants has made this one of the more dynamic projects to have been a part of.
Stephen MacFarlane is a professional artist based in the Seattle area. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College. His training in fine arts and printmaking comes from Pratt Fine Arts Center and the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle.
His work on paper utilizes a printing press, ink and drawing to create one of a kind art pieces that link the delicate roles line and color play together in evoking emotion. He has shown extensively in the Puget Sound area as well as on the East Coast and is included in many collections both locally and internationally. www.smacfarlane.com stephenmacfarlaneart(at)gmail.com 206-349-9544
Fiona McGuigan is co-founder of the Duwamish Artist Residency. Her energy level is legendary. We give her plenty of room when she's at work on the river or in the steam plant, and even so the whirlwind catches us up and propels us all forward. She's been spotted using a fallen tree trunk as a studio, covering the floor of the steam plant with monoprints, and creating collages under the First Avenue South bridge while a fully armed swat team deploys on the river. We know the force will be with us as long as she is one of the engines driving the residency…and no one stands between her and the coffee box.
Born of Scottish parents, raised in Switzerland, trained in the Netherlands at the de Kooning Academie, figurative painter Fiona McGuigan now resides in Seattle, WA.
Her work has been seen locally at the Whatcom County Museum, Washington State Convention Center, SAM Gallery, Gallery One in Ellensburg, and somewhat east of Ellensburg in Monmouth IL, as part of Eric Fischl’s America: Now and Here, at the Stage Gallery in New York and in Germany. She's a (proud) recipient of the 2014 Artist Trust GAP Grant. Never one to miss an opportunity to retreat, she has done Artist Residencies at Centrum in Port Townsend, at the Atelier Niemeyer Holstein in Germany.
Gene Gentry McMahon
Smart, witty, wickedly talented, enormously generous and a serious fireball of energy. Those are a but few words that come to mind when we think of Gene Gentry McMahon. She has been working on and around the Duwamish River for years both as an artist and an activist. Gene has deep roots in Seattle, having lived here most (or all) of her life. Her participation in the residency the past couple of years has offered a depth of knowledge and experience that has deepened our sense of purpose. Her quiet leadership gives us hope that some day we will know this place all the way down to our bones, just like she does.
Here are Gene's picks and words:
This is one of many sites I loved for the 'scenic' quality. The possibilities for exploration are seemingly endless, as each repeated visit to a sight yields new material. My photos at this sight are very different than last years take.
This is just a sample of the outfalls I photographed this summer. Outfalls interest me both visually and symbolically, as they continue to pollute our river and bay in spite of the ongoing cleanup efforts.
Gene Gentry McMahon received her Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Washington. Since then her work has been exhibited in the Seattle Art Museum, the Bellevue Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, the Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Palm Springs Desert Museum, and numerous NW galleries.
In addition to studio work, she has created numerous public art projects. Her best known piece is the large mural in the Westlake Station Metro Tunnel. The exhibit, “Water Watching: Puget Sound and the Duwamish River,” which opened in 2011, at the Seattle Aquarium, was created with the support of individual artist grants from 4Culture, and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
She has taught and lectured throughout the Pacific Northwest at venues including the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, the School of Visual Concepts, Bellevue College and Lakeside School. She is a founding member of Seattle Print Arts, and currently serves on the advisory board of On the Boards, Behnke Center for Contemporary Performance.
Juliet Shen has a passion for typography that tends to rub off on those around her. It wasn't unusual for her to show up during this year's Residency with a vintage book that got passed around like illegal contraband. Soon a head would bow over pages of letters and numbers. Then an intriguing conversation with Juliet would begin. One evening, after working all day on-site, she went home and made typographic prints that she offered up to the rest of us. "Do whatever you want with them," she explained as we snapped them up.
During the 2012 Residency when Juliet was only able to join us for a few days, she was inspired to begin an ink drawing practice that has since been uninterrupted The resulting landscapes are lyrical. They somehow manage to evoke a typographical presence. You are drawn in, hoping to read the hidden message but are left blinking as the letters dissolve into black. We want to know how she does this!
Juliet Shen was raised in New York City and ran an independent design firm in Seattle from 1989 to 2012. She now spends her time drawing and printmaking. Her drawings are frequently made on top of letterpress printed backgrounds, and she draws en plein air throughout the year. In 2015, following an artist residency at Willapa Bay AiR, the Cullom Gallery and Studio e mounted a solo exhibition of her paintings. Her work is in the collections of the City of Seattle and Tacoma Art Museum.
Juliet taught typography at the School of Visual Concepts for many years and continues to design custom typefaces. Her font for the Lushootseed language was included in "Type Is Beautiful: The Story of Fifty Remarkable Fonts," by Simon Loxley (2016). Her most recent project was AwanZaman, a multi-script font created in collaboration with the designer of Arabic typefaces, Mamoun Sakkal. She holds a masters degree in typeface design from the University of Reading, UK. Website: www.julietshen.com
Juliet on her Residency experience:
I'm in awe of the postings on the blog that show how ordinary, even ugly things are transformed through the artist's eye and become beautiful. For me right now the Residency is an incredible time of fertilization and challenge. It changes my vision. Because the Duwamish is an intertwining of the things I love to draw and things I hate to draw, I am forced to take a stand on what drawing actually is, beyond recording what you see. It goes to the heart of what making art might be for me personally. You also can't help but love what you have observed so closely. This year I finally realized that people will live on and in the Duwamish as they do on rivers everywhere, polluted or not. So we had better clean it up for them.