February 22, 2013
Prographica's 'Bleak Beauty': fine art from the 'unpromising' Michael Upchurch Updated February 22, 2013 at 7:01 am
Seattle artist Norman Lundin, a University of Washington professor of art emeritus, has created something quite special with his Madrona gallery, Prographica/Fine Works on Paper.
The small group shows he curates there have thematic unity and vitality, yet also show his participating artists to their best advantage.
Prographica's latest exhibit, "Bleak Beauty: Artists Who Find Beauty in the Unpromising," is one of Lundin's finest selections. It features five artists (three of them locals) who explore realities that may be off-putting or so much a part of our surroundings that they're often neglected in art. As Lundin notes, "A kind of beauty can be found in work with unpromising subject matter."
The two out-of-towners, David Bailin (Arkansas) and Sandow Birk (Los Angeles), take different approaches to the "bleak." Bailin's charcoal drawings, with subtle watercolor embellishments, sometimes depict solitary male figures in suits and ties gauging problematic situations. "Seedling" makes the strongest impression, with its protagonist perched on a stump surrounded by stacks of logs, peering at a spindly, leafless, vulnerable sapling rising from one of the log piles.