May 4, 11, 18, 25, 2024

Fatal Abstraction

This May, PUNCH presents a survey of work by six (mostly) regional artists, who individually approach the notion of abstraction in their own personal and inventive ways. And though our clever exhibition title might lead one to believe otherwise, this show has absolutely nothing to do with a 1980’s psychological romantic thriller about a lawyer and his scorned mistress. But rather, this exhibition has everything to do with the visual vocabulary of non-figurative representation, made by six female-identifying artists who excel in their own territories of butt-kicking bad-assery.

Catherine Cook approaches the canvas with no preconceived plan; for her, the act of painting determines the final outcome. Her keen eye knows what to include and what to leave out. For Cook, everything we see around us becomes part of us. Cook lives in Roslyn, WA, where she spends as much time as possible in the woods, walking and looking. But rest assured she doesn’t live a cloistered life; she serves as a council member for the City of Roslyn where she’s been moving and shaking things in upper county for multiple terms. She has a BFA in painting from the University of Washington as has received notable recognition and awards including a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Seattle Arts Commission. Her work has been included in shows at the Bellevue Art Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum and in galleries in Seattle and Ellensburg.

Maria Cristalli has been a blacksmith since 1992 and lives in the woods outside of Cle Elum, Washington. After getting a BFA in photography from the University of Washington she fell into forging hot metal. She creates custom ironwork, which marries function and form, makes purely sculptural works and also creates large-scale public art. Her public works can be seen in Bellevue, WA and the Morrison/Soundview station for MTA Arts for Transit Under New York, at the Hotel Windrow in Ellensburg and Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. Her studio work has been shown in numerous galleries including the National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, TN, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and currently has work at the Museum of Northwest Art in the exhibit “Silva Cascadia: Under the Spell of the Forest.” Her aim is to push the boundaries of traditional blacksmithing thoughts and techniques to create original works based on her observations of the world around her.

Jen Erickson is an artist, a Professor of Art at North Idaho College and one of PUNCH gallery’s original members. She holds an MFA from Central Washington University and a BFA from the University of Montana. Erickson has recently exhibited her work at the Gonzaga Urban Arts Center, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane and Emerge CDA in Coeur d’Alene. Her paintings explore issues of memory, the visualization of data and scientific theories. She uses watercolor and oil combined with graphite to create subtle paintings of nuanced, atmospheric layers of information. For Erickson, her infinitesimal pencil marks appear as flying and fleeting bug-like swarms and serve as stand-ins for her own feeble attempts to capture and hold onto it all.

Kathy Guss has been an active studio artist and art educator since graduating from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BSE in Art Education. A nationally exhibiting artist, her work has been shown at Baylor University in Texas, Lincoln Arts in California, Native Soil in Chicago and Lancaster Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. Guss has been a resident artist at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine and at Red Lodge Clay Center in MT. She also spent four months working and researching at the Center for Ceramics in Berlin and at Guldagergaard in Denmark. In addition to her studio practice, Guss teaches at Gallery One and at Discovery Lab in Ellensburg. According to Guss, the collection of work at PUNCH has been informed by her exploration of slip-glazed terracotta pottery produced in Italy and southern Gaul during the Roman Empire. These vessels were often embellished with stamped imagery or barbotine decoration. In most ordinary households, they were used daily for food and drink. The forms, patterns and images are derived from those ancient Roman pieces. For Guss, the textures of the stamped and raised areas surfaces are meant to contrast and complement the smooth finish of the colorful terra sigillata.

Robin Mayberry is self-described intuitive artist, a spirit whisperer and a transformation agent. Her artistic practice revolves around intuitive exploration, particularly through encaustic paintings. The combination of pigments and hot wax, with its tactile and fluid nature, allows Mayberry to delve into subconscious depths, navigating the interplay of colors, textures, and forms. It’s a dance between intention and spontaneity, where each brushstroke or mark embodies a moment of introspection and discovery. Through her work, Mayberry invites viewers into a realm where the boundaries between the conscious and unconscious blur, encouraging one to embark on their own journey of interpretation and reflection. Aside from her art practice, Mayberry is a Licensed Message Therapist, a Cognitive Behavior Psychotherapy, a BodyTalk practitioner and transformational coach whose work guides you into your own wild heart.

Christina Miller studied both at Cornish College of the Arts and at Pratt Fine Arts in Seattle where she was a printmaking tech. She has taught at Discovery Lab in Ellensburg and currently serves as the head of Community Engagement at Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg. Miller has titled her recent body of mixed-media work “Lovesick Landscapes” because, for her, starting these new drawings and paintings felt a little bit like the beginning stages of falling in love; the first steps felt awkward and awful, but full of anticipation. Within her work, Miller chases that sweet spot where nature and architecture coalesce. For Miller, obsessing over little details and replicating the parts that she finds most compelling has become her modus operandi. By combining walnut ink and paint on paper and plywood substrates, Miller develops new arrangements between the linear and the organic, courting visual stories and the charged emotions behind them.

Please join us for the opening of Fatal Abstraction on Saturday, May 4, from noon until 4 pm with live music from Roslyn’s own Micah J from 2-4pm on the PUNCH Stage.

Upcoming Events on the PUNCH Stage:

5/04: Micah J [classics and originals], 2-4pm

5/11: Mikey & Jen (formerly of Planes on Paper) [indie-folk], 2-4pm

5/18: Chords and Keys [jazz, soul & joy], 2-4pm

5/25 [Last Saturday]: Plant Food [experimental noise],
Nothingland [heavy indie/ shoegaze],
Crazy Eyes [subterranean UFO abduction piano-punk], 6-8pm