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Sometimes it’s the little things in life that catch our eyes: a cupcake with a red cherry on top, a fork or knife on the dinner table, or a chair with a pair of gloves resting on the seat. Ellen Rutledge’s prints capture such objects against various collage backgrounds and bring attention to the details of objects that are at times overlooked.

Ellen’s piece, Little Green Men, is currently shown in our Small Works exhibit. Part of a series of 3, a grid of 9 evenly sized squares depict simple and ordinary objects, the last of which contains the namesake of the collage. As a mother, Ellen has tripped over these little toy men one too many times, and their prevalence in her life are reflected in their presence in others of her pieces, sometimes orange and sometimes red, but smiling happily all the same.

Ellen tells me that she likes things that are more ordinary, and how her pieces tell a story. Each object poses the question of why it was chosen. Her art process involves thought about layering, texture, color, and text, but each of her prints are unique and different, a quality of her art that Ellen enjoys.

Her start in printmaking began in art school. Ellen fell in love with paper, with both its texture and the feeling of drawing; she even suggests that there is a link between the hand and the head that should be studied. Her focus on paper and printmaking has stayed constant, but thematically, her pieces have evolved throughout her art career: Ellen finds that as she grows older, she includes more and more nature in her pieces.

Ellen taught at the Kirkland Art Center for 17 years, and though she no longer teaches, her experiences teaching are no doubt a strong influence on her life. Ellen remarked on how community reframes your thinking process, and how the community in classes helps one to grow in so many ways.

If you want to find Ellen and her work, check out her website and her Instagram @ellen.rutledge.

Small Works From The Artists of Building 30 West opened November 2 and can be viewed through December 16. Also come visit our Open Art Studios event on Saturday, December 2 from 12-4 pm at Building 30 West!

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What does it mean to be an artist? The ability to draw and paint? Simply having the desire to make art? Whatever your definition of being an artist, you may or may not include the criteria that they need to be alive. That’s understandable—the masters are the masters for a reason, and you don’t need to stop appreciating your favorite Monet or Van Gogh painting. But, as the Living Artists Collective’s founding inspiration asserts, we should “support artists while they are alive; the dead ones don’t need your money.” Here, at Magnuson Park Gallery, we want to see Seattle’s very present art community grow and thrive.

This past two months, the Magnuson Park Gallery has had the pleasure of collaborating with the Living Artist Collective (LAC) in presenting 23 pieces by 21 different local visual artists in the exhibit: “Support Artists While They Are Alive”. Pieces were drawn with graphite and colored pencil, assembled with tin pieces, sculpted with epoxy clay and resin, and painted in acrylic, watercolor, and oil (just to name a few mediums utilized by these artists). The variety of mediums is closely tied to the variety of subject matter covered, which ranges from “the mystery of human emotion and behavior” (Joselyn Narvaez) to “the conflict between the joy of creation and the often painful experience of trying to make art into a career” (Jess Ray) to “the ideas of dying and legacy” (Moon Pelton).

In a time where the world can feel less and less connected, it is the candid, vulnerable connection from art that we need the most. While our “Support Artists While They Are Alive exhibition has since closed, if you find that you want to support LAC and experience some of the art featured in this exhibition, you can purchase The ‘Big Pond’ LAC Interview Zine, available on the website! It has interviews with 11 amazing local Seattle artists. Or if getting a zine doesn’t interest you, you can check the website out for a comprehensive digital catalog.

Click below to listen to an interview with Alaina Stocker, the Executive Director of Living Artists Collective on our podcast, The Magnuson Park Gallery Exchange.

The gallery will be closed from October 19 - November 1 to prepare for our next exhibition, Small Works by the Artists of Building 30 West, opening November 2. Please join us for an opening reception on November 18 from 2-5 PM and our Building 30 West Open Art Studios event on December 2 from 12-4 PM.

Blog post contributed by Chantelle Ma, Gallery Intern

Video provided by Tatyana Kurepina

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Ahhhh - the holiday hustle and bustle is behind us, and a new year of possibility lies ahead... it’s time for a collective out-breath, haaaa. Deepen this sense of calm with a January visit to the Magnuson Park Gallery for a new exhibit: The

Window, a collection of beguiling oil paintings by Abigail Drapkin. With a subtle, subdued palette, composed yet casual compositions, and the languid light of winter in the Pacific Northwest, Drapkin’s works allow us a visual exhalation.

Painted during the incipient days and ensuing years of the coronavirus pandemic,

Drapkin depicts and honors a long string of quiet moments that filled our domestic

lives, those times when we shed our public personas and reveled in our mundane,

tarnished selves. Her portraits pull you into the inner lives of the subjects - pushing

private spaces outward for our gaze. Personal places contrast with the public domain as newspapers containing pandemic updates coexist with figures in snail-like postures and relaxed time-outs that serve to refuel, restore, and ultimately renew.

There is a refreshing honesty and simplicity to the “Window” paintings with their unabashedly casual still lifes where a lightbulb lies in a box near a kitchen spoon perched precariously on table edge by a plant spray bottle, or where birth control pills, a can of sardines and fork live. With calm focus and steady gaze, Drapkin creates intimate spaces where the value of less lives, where we savor the unscheduled and find solace with what is in front of us. Her muted palette reinforces a pandemic-induced sense of prolonged time - indeed, weren’t we all holding our collective breaths waiting to surface?

The Window by Abigail Drapkin opens January 19 and can be viewed through February 25, with an artist reception on Saturday, January 21 from 5-8 pm at Magnuson Park Gallery.

SPACE Volunteer Terriko Sommers sits down with Abigail Drapkin to discuss her exhibition The Window. Listen below via our podcast, The Magnuson Park Gallery Exchange.

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