Helen O’Toole – RISING in the Nichols Gallery
Rural Ireland. “Rugged limestone rocks lay in the darkness beneath the thin layer of field soil, and so too the deep-seated pain and misery of the past, a compilation of grudges, suspicion, and violence lurked to catch the unwary. O’Toole addresses global issues such as dispossession, oppression, and suppression of indigenous culture and dispossession of land.” She is “interested in – the persistence and tenacity that survives – in a people.”
O’Toole lives in Seattle and is Professor of Art and Chair of the Painting and Drawing Program at the University of Washington.
James Longley LOOKING INTO KABUL – IN THE NORTH GALLERY
Longley follows students and teachers in an old Kabul neighborhood slowly rebuilding from past conflicts. “Interweaving the modern history of Afghanistan with present day portraits, Longley offers an intimate and nuanced vision of a society living in the shadow of war.”
His films, Iraq in Fragments and Sari’s Mother were both nominated for Academy Awards for Best Documentary Features. In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious MacArthur “Genius Grant.” His film Angels Made of Light is being honored at the Friday Harbor Film Festival this fall.
Steve Jensen VOYAGER in the atrium
SOS The Ice Is Melting, Save Our Souls
Steve comes from a long tradition of Norwegian fisherman and boat builders. He grew up on and around his fathers and grandfather’s fishing boats and in the Ballard shipyards.
His best friend Sylvan did a drawing of a boat. When Sylvan gave it to him, he asked that when he passed, would make a boat for his ashes? He died a month later and Steve carved a boat as close to the drawings as possible. When Steve’s father passed, his mother was so moved by the boat she wanted his father’s remains put in a similar vessel. They buried the boat at sea, like a contemporary Viking funeral. Two years later his mother passed and he created a boat for her ashes and buried it with my father at sea. When his partner died, his wish was also to have a boat for his ashes. In the course of eight years Steve had tragically lost and made funeral boats for everyone close to him. His best friend died of AIDS, his father committed suicide, his mother fell apart emotionally, then physically. During this period in what Steve called the nightmare his former partner escaped into alcohol, which killed him. What Jensen is attempting to do is take something that was tragic in his life and turn it into something beautiful.