Purveyors of literate smart-assery, Parquet Courts spit their art school poetics over kraut-drone instrumentation in such a confrontational manner that it almost feels like performance art—and maybe it is. This is not the dumb kind of punk.
Theoretics recently transitioned from a dual-MC-fronted live hip-hop act to an experimental live-electronica project. Along the way, they ditched rapping for a rotating cast of soulful Seattle vocal talent and released a single a month in 2015 and ended up with a new full-length entitled Fugue State. The band’s flexibility and sense of experimentation stems form a core group of UW-educated, jazz-savvy players.
Whether you’re singing along with the songs that made you feel big feelings in high school or you’re a new devotee, Built to Spill are always a worthy live experience. With eight studio records, more than two decades of touring and enough guitar power to justice to that 20-minute cover of “Free Bird,” the Boise veterans are still a benchmark in flannel-clad indie fuzz.
Dr. Dog borrow heavily from McCartney-stamped 1970s rock, but the Philly five-piece are faithful students, not simple imitators. There’s no higher proof than a Dr. Dog live show. To get a taste, listen to their last release, Live from the Flamingo Hotel. But you’re best served by being there in person.
Rick Araluce is uproariously bombastic, clever, larger than life. His work is small. Trained to build sets for the opera, the Guggenheim Fellow and architectural auteur is a master of funhouse scale, building teensy, tiny miniature sculptures to mimic grand things or constructing mysterious smale-scale buildings that lead to nowhere. For the past three months he’s been plugging away in the sizeable MadArt Studio, constructing a replica of a 111-year-old train tunnel that telescopes from cavernous to thimble-size, boring its way into the infinitesimal void. Artist talk on Jan. 24.
Fiber artist Mandy Greer and performance artist Alice Gosti—both superstars of the Seattle art scene who excel at carving out surreal, visually intoxicating experiences through means of sprawling costumes and operatic, time-based performance—collaborate for an evening to draw the audience into their vision and smash that wall between performance and viewer. The duo’s piece is geared for both adults and children, but if you do have kids in tow, arrive earlier in the day for artsy activities designed just for the young ones.
Whether it take the form of large-scale, painterly collage or carnival-esque, interactive installation, Julia Freeman’s work emanates a colorful, tactile messiness bursting at the scenes with sensuality. Her exhibit Quiet Alter examines the history and impact of psychopharmacology and the pharmaceutical industry through a series of collage, sculpture, video and—appropriate to Freeman’s offputtingly whimsical style—a board game. Downstairs, Maggie Carson Romano offers a meditation on the “benefits of erasure / passing time's starring role in the process of healing / forgetting / remembering / the ebb and flow of losses and gains when wellness is no longer effortless...” Romano’s work consistently offers viewers fragments of dense, meaty ideas while dancing with and playing in the ink-blotty shadows, light as a feather.
The internationally acclaimed, award-winning Trimpin works on a synaesthetic plane. As a sound artist, he engineers kinetic sculptures in the form of vast machinery that look like a jangling, life-size game of Mousetrap. His mechanical armatures crank out robotically rendered drawings triggered by human prompts. His simple mechanical peep show pieces bate the viewer to interact in playful, unexpected ways.
Tim Cross may be one of the city’s more underappreciated and under-exhibited artists, but that’s likely to change soon. Finally you can get an eyeful of his spectacular twist on collage, which occupies a deliciously liminal space somewhere between paintings, textile and works on paper. Images are printed by hand onto large-scale panels of silk—sort of like Xerox transfers— only the pigments are transferred onto shimmering, gauzy canvas. The result is a composite graphic bric-a-brac that uses patterns, vignettes and nonsensical ephemera to make lush, borderline abstract dreamscapes populated with tilting towers, the hulking trunks of trees or crashing cartoon waves upon waves.