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- Written by Sally Vermillion, SPACE Volunteer

A triple treat awaits you at the Magnuson Art Gallery where “Inside, Outside, Undersea!, an exhibit of 3 painters, is currently on display. As students of Valerie Collymore’s Oil Painters Atelier, the painters couldn’t be more different with their distinct styles and themes. The exhibition is free to visit Thursdays & Fridays 11-3 pm and Saturdays 12-3 pm, now until June 18th! Join us for an artist reception on Saturday, June 4, 1-5 pm during the Building 30W Open Art Studios Event.

Colleen Hoffenbacker

How do antique statues, a fountain, giant vases, an ottoman, stylized tables, chairs and bookcases, oriental rugs, a bird bath, garden trellis, and a tray with tea cups all exist harmoniously in a verdant, flower-filled interior space? Come see Colleen Hoffenbacker’s Ufloria collection of paintings to find out! Reminiscent of Henri Matisse’s Impressionist scenes, Hoffenbacker’s exuberant canvases are celebrations of vibrant color, decorative elements, and textile patterns. Each painting is a kind of mini still life that invites us to enter a garden of delight. Plant lovers will be enchanted by the profusion of flora such as hydrangea, orchids, irises, climbing roses, amaryllis, orange trees, and more. But there’s more - magic awaits in these intimate spaces where a guitar is strummed, a dancer pirouettes, or a butterfly takes flight. For in Hoffenbacker’s paintings, THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS! With a background as a classically trained painter of still-lifes, as well as a digital artist, Hoffenbacker explores the intersection of art/technology/nature. Her lush canvases are virtual environments where the use of computer animation and her color energy theory enliven imaginary compositions. Download the Artivive app to view floralscapes and garden follies become multidimensional experiences of augmented reality, perhaps leaving one to ponder: Is it a still-life if it moves?

Leigh Fulwood

Leigh Fulwood loves the stories old buildings tell. In her Gothic Barns series, currently on display at the Magnuson Art Gallery, we are treated to visual narratives of our region’s agricultural past. Built in the 1930’s, the barns are characterized by iconic ogival roofs, a feature of the Gothic period. Fulwood’s 7 barn paintings introduce us to architectural relics that inhabit nearby Snohomish Valley. As a cyclist on those rural roads, Fulwood has witnessed these monumental 90 year old farm buildings gradually deteriorate. Her paintings are a kind of historical record harkening back to a time when life on working farms was more commonplace. Spend some time with these paintings, and the barns become as old friends, full of personality and character. It clear that Fulwood cares about these old buildings - the past they represent and their continuity into the present. With titles like “Old Protector,” “Sentinel,” and “Heart of the Barn,” we can appreciate the connection Fulwood feels to her “elderly” subjects. Each barn garners a personal identity that makes you curious about life in the Northwest when speed, distraction, and the machine-made were not a matter-of-course. Fulwood uses the buildings’ massive scale, textured brushstrokes, and the magical light and shadows of our region to create figurative narratives that celebrate a legacy of time and place. After viewing her paintings at MAG, you might be inspired for a spring excursion to behold the Barns!

Christine Krauss

After seeing “Aquaria” you’re going to want to pull on a mask and snorkel, don rubber fins and a wet suit to plunge under the water’s surface, to enter a deep undersea realm. Christine Krauss’ collection of paintings provide a gorgeous window into the magical marvels of marine life. Her colorful canvasses make immediate the ecological conditions of a salt water world - the incessant pull of a tidal current and the life-giving light that supports unique symbiotic relationships. In the surge and swirl of rhythmic wave action you find tangled bull kelp, colonies of resplendent fish, and the otherworldly botany of our oceans. Indeed, you might begin to sway with the kinetic effects of the surf standing in front of the painting “Kelp Forest I: Sea Stream.” Krauss’ paintings reveal a fascination with the interplay of light and shadow, how light diffuses in water and how the sun’s rays diminish with depth revealing less to our eye, and perhaps carrying more imaginary weight. A fan of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, Krauss similarly explores the line between abstraction and representation using point of view in painting marine foliage. These aquarium-inspired compositions (Monterey Bay Aquarium is a favorite source of inspiration!) go beyond depicting our planet’s oceanic inhabitants. They are captivating aquatic reveries that enlighten the many mysteries of the ocean’s bounty. Swimming gear in tow or not, you won’t want to miss seeing gorgeous Aquaria!

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SPACE Volunteer Terriko Somers sits down with artist Mukul Soman to discuss his exhibition, Winter Northwest.

Soman’s wildlife photographs bring their subjects to life. Utilizing a delicate sensitivity towards light, Soman observes animals in their natural environment, perfectly capturing their emotion, strength, and fragility. Soman’s photography and great love of the wilderness inspire change and builds awareness about wildlife conservation.

The artist and gallery will donate a portion of the sales from the exhibition to the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) to be distributed to organizations in Ukraine and neighboring countries that are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of pets, zoo animals, and wildlife affected by the war. Financial support will be directed toward private and public shelters, veterinary clinics, zoos, rescue, and rehabilitation centers.

You can view Winter Northwest in The Magnuson Park Gallery now through April 23rd. Join us for a reception and artist talk on April 9th, 2022 at 5 pm in the gallery.

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- Written by Sally Vermillion, SPACE Volunteer

Ever wondered what a bison’s wind-weary shaggy mane or water repellant otter fur feels like? Step into the SPACE Gallery for our new exhibit, Winter Northwest, by fine art wildlife photographer Mukul Soman, and you’ll be in for a sensory treat! Stand in the gallery space and you will be surrounded by large scale prints of coyote, eagle, fox, and owl, each pulling you into their world. Soman’s spare compositions serve to highlight each creatures’ realism in gorgeously rich detail - a curled tongue extending from a snow-encrusted bison’s muzzle, the burnished copper feather pattern of a Wilson’s snipe, each distinct spiky whisker of a red fox facing a wind gust, a coyote’s steady calculating gaze.There is levity amidst the gravitas in Soman’s wildlife vision as his lens captures his animal subjects in the course of their wintry lives. The photos at the Magnuson Gallery are a culmination of years of work. They represent the work of a lifetime, a combination of learning and experiences in the field, and speak to the deep love and respect Mukul has for the natural world.

As a child growing up in Southern India where the naturally rich and diverse tropical environment around Kerala abounds with rivers, lakes, ocean, forest, rainforest, and mountains, Mukul was surrounded by birds and animals. He remembers being fascinated by his mother’s zoology sketchbooks, studying her intricate pencil sketches of fish, birds, insects and mammals. Spending time at his school library pouring over National Geographics magazines Mukul connected his love of nature with the artistic expressiveness of wildlife photography. Along with these early inspirations was a father who encouraged Mukul on his journey towards a career in art. Equally significant to his aesthetic vision is his admiration for the work of Nat Geo photographers Paul Nicklen and Brian Skerry, as well as the work of Brazilian social documentary photographer, Sebastiao Salgado. Closer to home, Mukul credits his wife, Mary Dee, for her deeply constructive critique as a fellow artist and Alejandro Thomas, Seattle Central Community College photography professor, with his generous support, encouragement and caring guidance. When I asked Mukul to turn the tables and offer some advice to those undertaking this challenging field of photography, he shared how much he enjoys experiencing nature and being out in the field as a gatherer, less as a hunter, of the perfect photographic moment.

Part of the narrative behind Mukul’s photographs on exhibit highlights the physically and technically demanding aspect of capturing animals in the wild. You imagine patient hours, alone in the freezing cold temperatures of the greater Yellowstone region, waiting for nature to gift him a rare opportunity, waiting to receive the special moment. Mukul’s art process has brought him close to the importance of environmental conservation and habitat preservation. He urges respect for the wilderness and care with our actions in nature, whether we are photographing animals or entering it for our enjoyment. To hear more about Mukul Soman’s photographic philosophy, you are invited to the Artist Reception on Saturday, April 9th from 5pm - 8pm.

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