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Only Connect

The drip is here to stay and each painter in "Connect/Disconnect" embraces it. Mary Mitsuda's acrylic on canvas paintings entitled "White Woods" and "Chronos" consist of wide, horizontal and translucent bands whose lower edges drip paint that has become 'the carrier and the thing carried.' Agnes Martin would have admired these spare works that revel in subtlety, works whose sluiced indigo, mahogany, ochre and white feel clean, as though Mitsuda has elegantly taken a squeegee to Modernism's clotted surface. The premise of this small, well-edited show is that the works by these artists - who are from Cuba, Hawaii, New Zealand, New Orleans, Portland and Seattle - make evident similarities and differences in the idea of place, qualities that both connect and disconnect them to each other and the world. The press release asks, "What ties a person to the natural environment, an urban space, their homeland, or other humans in the world community?"

One tie could be water, hence the drips. New Zealand artist Stuart Tume's large painting entitled "Titokowaru" presents both a historical narrative of a brutal military strategist in the Maori land wars of New Zealand in the mid-1800s and also addresses a contemporary narrative of the artist's bi-cultural identity. The canvas is dominated by a cross of two ribbon-like banners decorated with Maori designs and the likeness of a Prussian cavalry sword. The cross is used, writes the artist, as both a symbol of Christianity and of colonialism. This is a stunning painting partly because of the juxtaposition of the graphic cross that sits atop a swirling whitewash that covers more lyric designs. Beneath all of this, at the bottom of the canvas, a red orange blood down rains. Cuban artist Adela Gonzalez seduces nature into clean conceptualism in her sculpture entitled "Growing." This is a sexy piece whose wooden body could represent a rearing whale that wears a jacket of molded hay. Stuck on top of a steel pole, this successful sculpture gets in your face in more ways than one. Deanne Belinoff's oil on panel paintings "Precision II" and "Precision III" are incised circles on panel that could, at first glance, be a Google Earth search. For the past eight years the artist has been using the circle as a metaphor for sacred space, the curvature of the earth, and also to suggest the basic underlying connection among all things in the universe. That’s heady stuff, so let's get closer: Belinoff drills various sized holes in her surfaces that break the illusion of illusionism. She scrapes away then carefully paints glossy medium within those shapes, embellishing the unintentional. And all the while her under plaster flashes through here and there like purity. Kloe Kang's series of three, butted-together canvases entitled "Babbling Thoughts" depict her omnipresent rice bowls seemingly blown about by wind. The artist writes that what was mundane in one country can seem exotic in another. Her bowls swarm like fishes, all pastel colored against fields of beige and brown. One pale pink, life-size bowl had a brush chock full of mint green paint pushed into it. Can you find the lizard and the pairs of flower cutting shears? These emerge over time, like figures in a Bonnard. Joan Stuart Ross's "Meander," in the gallery window, boasts thick 'C' shapes that turn back and forth down their triptych panels creating the look of a highly abstract and meandering path. Made with wax, these red paths are wildly scored – with an energy made of anger or glee? - down into a layer of intense yellow while blues and greens bleed through at the paintings' rims. Mo Sato's polyester resin sculptures are woozy grids, sea surfaces with human measurement forced deftly upon them. We can't escape - with GPS tracking there is no place left to get lost as we are always in someone's site. Sato's dark sculptures are like models of nature, of water scored deeply by parallel lines. How they portray elegance, intelligence, dread and a sense of humor all at once is a testament to this artist's talent. Andree Carter's painting "The Yellows Make Me Brave" is anything but subtle. It hits viscerally before dipping a toe in your soul. At 60 by 60 inches this mixed media on canvas represents Carter's most ambitious work to date. Perhaps the shingles that lay in rows down the surface are cut up paintings on paper? This piece is about color, which the artist believes has the "irresistible power of chocolate or opiates." Mauve and Pepto Bismol pink, moss and bottle green, aqua and cobalt blues squawk beneath tilted seas of dripped dull pink and beige while light bops off glossy, varnish blobs. This is a kicked up march, a virtual Mardi gras that epitomizes the spirit of this New Orleans native. Molly Norris Curtis Molly Norris Curtis is an artist and art writer living in Seattle, Washington.

"Connect/Disconnect" is on view through April 22 at the Patricia Cameron Gallery, located at 234 Dexter Avenue North in Seattle, Washington. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11A.M. to 5 P.M. and Saturdays from noon to 5 P.M.and by appointment. For more information, please call (206) 343-9647, email buyart@qwest.net, or visit the website http://www.patriciacamerongallery.com/.

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