ArtSEA: Bird Art for Seattle’s Summer Heatwaves

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Mysterious animal stories resurface Favor/White Gallery at Pioneer Square this weekend, where Seattle ceramicist Georges Rodriguez presents a new collection of Zodiac Ships (until August 20). Rodriguez’s take on the zodiac mixes stories from various traditions, so don’t expect all 12 sun signs. Instead, you’ll find something far more surprising: the expressive clay faces of a monkey, donkey, chihuahua, grasshopper, jaguar, iguana, and other animals, including, yes, a bird – an “águila” or eagle of approachable appearanceanother remarkable national bird.

Each vessel is crafted in Rodriguez’s signature style, in which he painstakingly layers small ceramic pieces in patterns as tightly configured as feathers. The result is figures with thick textures and rich colors that resemble a 3D mosaic. (If you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to reach out and run your hand over the surface but, alas, don’t.) This show is ending soon but follow Rodriguez on Instagram to see his fascinating progress on “Let the Music Take You,” a series of larger-than-life ceramic jazz figures he is creating for Kansas City International Airport.

Also at Pioneer Square, at Greg Kucera Gallery This weekend, an exhibition of recent works by a longtime North West artist Ross Palmer Beecher generates a similar tiled and tactile feel. Quilts and Assemblages (until August 20) exhibits the artist’s incredible wall hangings, woven, wired and sewn together from unconventional materials, including aluminum cans, Chinese checkerboards, military crests, lotto tickets, stained glass and silk ties.

Beecher incorporates bats and bees into some of the pieces, and of course she has a way with birds too. In “Red Crow/Yellow Crow”, she paints the creatures on woven gum wrappers and wired tin. The same goes for “Purple Crow” and “Blue Crow”, pieces in which she also adds sections of real trumpets, bringing horns to the chorus of birdsong.

And nearby Stonington Gallery, Remembering Thomas Stream (until August 27) honors the life of artist Sun’aq Aleut, who died a year ago. He may be gone, but his vivid paintings of hummingbirds, wrens, woodpeckers and warblers still flit and wobble in their frames.

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