Seattle’s Canvas Gallery Blows Minds Yet Again

Since it carved out a hole for itself out of what was formerly the Snowboard Connection, the Canvas Gallery has really set itself apart from other galleries in the Pioneer Square area. Its prime location right below the 619 Building and its selection of diverse artists spanning numerous mediums makes any trip to Canvas an interesting one.

Of particular interest was this month’s show, which had one side of the room largely dedicated to textile art. This side of the gallery housed a complete visual feast.

Take for instance Maura Donegan‘s Memento Vitae I and Memento Vitae IV, shown below.

Memento Vitae I

Memento Vitae IV

As their names might suggest, these pieces are a reflection upon her life, playing carefully on her childhood (and current) love for words. In both pieces, words with special meaning in Donegan’s life were selected to create pieces that are as much experimental textile art as they are an extension of Donegan’s literary mind. The six-sided dice in Memento Vitae IV are in fact six-letter words that viewers must piece together for themselves. Memento Vitae I is a crossword puzzle with carefully stitched boxes filled with yet more words that are vital to Donegan’s memory.

Further down the wall was a piece by Lauren Davis, entitled Me/ You. The piece shows two photographs of hands, each from a different individual. The hands are then permanently linked together with bright red string. A simply idea, sure, but well executed.

Lauren Davis’ Me/ You

Remarkably, though, the most entertaining things for me in the whole gallery were canisters of miniature beads glued onto porous rocks and then submerged in water. Jenny Joyce brought forth four ridiculously creative, experimental pieces that simply utilized water, air, and vibrations in the room to bring forth displays that have the hypnotic entertainment level akin to watching jellyfish swim around a tank.

Jenny Joyce’s Doily

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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May-Britt Joyce
May-Britt Joyce
15 years ago

Is a mother’s opinion viable? Interesting pieces. Wish I could have seen the whole show. Jenny’s doily is mesmerizing.

Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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