The Travels of Winslow Homer

The Henry, like many art museums, loans art to our fellow museums for their exhibitions. In addition to loans in Washington to Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and the Washington State University Museum of  Art, our Winslow Homer painting “An Adirondack Lake” been out on loan 23 times in its history, traveling with tours and retrospectives to Chicago, Kansas City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Vienna. Think of the multiple audiences who have visited our Homer! Artist Philip Koch saw “An Adirondack Lake’ in Indiana in the early 70s. The guest post below is how a piece from the original Horace C. Henry collection made its way around the world and into artists’ and the public’s heart.

Winslow Homer’s Gentle Push by Philip Koch

First published on Koch’s blog on February, 24, 2014

Winslow Homer, The Trapper, oil on canvas, 19 x 29 1/2″, 1870, Colby College Museum of Art. This oil likely served as a preparatory canvas for the larger oil below.

Today (Feb 24) is Winslow Homer’s birthday (Am. 1836 – 1910). I was reminded of this by the Colby College Museum of Art‘s Facebook post wishing that old master of American Realism the best this afternoon. Accompanying their good wishes was the painting at the top, The Trapper, from their Collection that Homer painted in 1870.  It probably served as a preparation for a larger work Homer painted expanding on the subject that’s now in the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. (I had the good fortune to tour the impressive and recently expanded Colby Museum last summer and got to see The Trapper in the flesh).

Winslow Homer, An Adirondack Lake, oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 36 1/4″,
1870, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle.

Way back in 1970 I graduated as a studio art major from Oberlin College in Ohio, packed my odd collection of student paintings in a van and drove over to the adjoining state to spend the next two years in Bloomington at Indiana University in their MFA Painting Program. I arrived there passionate to do some serious painting with no real direction at all. I actually did a number of canvases of what I imagined the surfaces of undiscovered planets might look like (as it turned out, I had little idea myself and the paintings were pretty unconvincing).
The Indiana University Art Museum had a small bookshop. Browsing the stacks of books my eye was caught by the figure of a tall man holding an even taller paddle. I had stumbled upon the catalogue for a show that had concluded at the Museum only months before I had arrived - The American Scene 1820 – 1900 organized by Louis Hawes, an art historian at Indiana University in honor of the school’s Sesquicentennial. Though I missed the show, the catalogue’s 144 pages of black and white photographs of Hudson River School and American Impressionist paintings drew me in and held me. This was a branch of the art world I knew almost nothing about.

Cover of exhibition catalogue for the 1970 show The American Scene featuringa detail from the Henry Art Gallery’s version of Homer’s painting.

Here were images that seemed painted by artists who had fallen in love with their subjects. Their embrace of the natural world seemed so straight from the heart and utterly lacking in any ironic stance. Most of all, so many of the paintings reminded me ever so much of the wooded hillsides of northern Lake Ontario where I had lived from four until I was eighteen. Maybe I was a little homesick, but these paintings hit home in a way my surrealist inspired imaginary planet paintings never would.
The worn cover of Hawes’ exhibition catalogue should give you a clue I didn’t let the book out of my sight for months. It gave me that last little shove needed to start me down the landscape painting path I’ve followed the last 42 years. Louis Hawes is gone now, perhaps joining Winslow Homer up in art heaven. To each of them I’d like to say a heartfelt thanks.
This article was republished with the author’s permission from his blog Philip Koch Paintings.
Philip Koch standing outside Edward Hopper’s S. Truro, MA painting studio in Oct. 2012 during his 14th residency in the studio.

Philip Koch standing outside Edward Hopper’s S. Truro, MA
painting studio in Oct. 2012 during his 14th residency in the studio.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Finals week is here and we want to remind you of two things:

1) Yoga reduces stress

2) Molly’s has the best coffee on campus.

We have what you need to stay calm or alert (depending on your needs) so stop on by.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindful Awareness is the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental, and emotional experiences. Meditations begin promptly at 12:30 Thursday March 13.

Critical Collaboration Session: Design Review

This is the last session so make sure you come in to see what the College of Built Environments has done to our test space. Also, if you know who put up the mystery (no one saw who did it!), be sure to tell them thanks. The session starts Thursday at 4:30 PM.

Now Open: New Exhibitions!

Take a break from your studies and check out our two most recent exhibitions:

The Brink: Anne Fenton showcases the art of the 2014 Brink Award winner.

DSC_8680

 

Parallel Practices: Joan Jonas & Gina Pane features the selections of sculpture, photography, video, drawing, installation, and performance from these two proto-feminist performance artists.

Gina Pane.

Gina Pane. Saint Sébastien, Saint Pierre, Saint Laurent – Partition pour trois portraits [St. Sebastian, St. Pierre, St. Lawrence – Partition for Three Portraits]. 1986. Glass, copper, ink on wood, lead, chalk, photograph. Collection M.F., Bassano del Grappa, Italy. Photo: Paul Hester.

 

 

“HITS of Sunshine” Comes to the Henry Tomorrow!

The Henry is excited to host HITS of Sunshine in the middle of this cold snap. We caught up with Lisa Schonberg and Allan Wilson from the group for a quick conversation.

Henry: First off, you are coming to dark, cold, Seattle so let’s start with an important question: How do you take your coffee?

Lisa: Black, and in one of those taller ‘regular’ mugs, rather than in one of those broad saucer things.

Allan: Decaf.  Exciting, no?

Henry: Seattle is cold, like bone-chilling cold, lately. Portland, where you live, has had similar weather. In weather like this, what part of Joshua Tree do you miss most?

Lisa: It is definitely cold here. We’ve been “snowed in” for a few days now; all it takes is a few inches and everything gets canceled, since they do not have the infrastructure to handle it. I often miss the consistent warmth and dryness of Joshua Tree. I am much more adept at dealing with excessive heat than cold (my extremities shut down if they get too cold), and I never mind an intense sweat, whereas I get pretty grumpy when it I am cold for too long. I loved hiking in the desert in the sun, as long as I prepared myself with sunscreen and a wide hat. I also loved how the sand got into everything; my skin was different there, and my hair has this nice consistency and would hold itself in braids without any hairbands, and i just felt good – my circulation and my systems were functioning more smoothly. My energy levels were consistently higher and I did not experience the midday slump that is typical for most people I know in the Pacific Northwest. It is near impossible to bring that feeling to the cold damp Pacific Northwest unfortunately, but I just remember to get out in nature as much as I can regardless of the climate, and to walk aimlessly on trails. Even though I can’t replicate the feeling of sun or sand or open skies, and might need an espresso to keep my energy up, I can definitely still get the pleasure of walking in wild areas and the good feeling that always brings to me.

Allan: We spent an autumn month there (October 2012), which is a warm, pleasant time to visit.  So this week especially, Joshua Tree feels like a memory from a distant past on another planet.  I miss it all, really: the company, working everyday in Andrea’s studio, the boulders, the campfires, the smell of the creosote bushes, the outdoor kitchen and encampment, our wagonstations (where we slept), the stars, sunrises, sunsets (my lord, the sunsets!!), the various bugs and critters with whom we literally crossed paths every day… even the scorpions and rattlesnakes I miss, and now sincerely thank for choosing to leave us and our friends unharmed.

Here is a video of their experience so you can check out what Lisa and Allan are describing.

Henry: Watching this movie, it seems like place was a big part of the art and presentation. Will the Henry’s space be utilized as fully for the performance here?

Lisa: Well, there’s no way to replicate bouldered hillsides obviously, and sound will carry much differently in a closed space. We’ve already put on the performance at an indoor venue, Disjecta in Portland, and so we have dealt with some of the limitations, but also have benefited from the advantages of using an indoor space, such as being able to more easily control the movement of sound. Volume levels will come across more consistently and we do not have to deal with the elements of noise from wind or things like that. We will not have a full setup of speakers like we did in Joshua Tree, since there isn’t the same sort of space to walk around in to get the full effect of that sound installation and the spread of different samples coming at you from different points. And we don’t have the boulders to project visuals on. So we will instead be focusing on the music and fashion, sound collages and field recordings, and adding a new element of dance to our performance. Like Disjecta, Henry will offer us the advantage of a more concentrated space where it is easier to hone in the audience’s focus. We will be presenting our sound collages and field recordings in a new and interesting way at the Henry; they’ll be projected through the speaker system throughout the museum. I am excited about that!

Allan: Definitely. We decided to expand on what we did in the desert, and will be incorporating dance into parts of the performance. Fortunately, the sound system at the Henry will allow us to create a sort of “surround sound” environment, using the field samples we recorded in JT that form the core of many of our compositions. We’re also considering utilizing video projections during the performance.

Henry: Is there anything else you are looking forward to while you are here in Seattle?

Lisa: The library! And visiting with my old friends.

Allan: I guess I love Dick’s.  You know, the hamburger place.

Henry: Thanks, Allan and Lisa, we look forward to this weekend! get your tickets here for HITS of Sunshine.

Here are a few resources to get to know the creators:

Lisa’s website is frequently updated and she just got back from a similar trip in Hawaii.

Allan’s band !!! is currently on break from touring to create new music.

The third member of Hits of Sunshine, Heather Treadway, couldn’t join us for this chat but you can see her fashions at the event and on her website.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

 

Art Break Tour

On Wednesday at noon join Justin Jesty, Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, for a 30-minute free tour through Haegue Yang: Anachronistic Layers of Dispersion.

installation image credit: R. J. Sanchez

installation image: R. J. Sanchez

Critical Collaboration Session: Development

We continue our Thursday night charrettes in the Test Site as part of Design Lab: An Open Sketchbook on Aurora which are offered as part of a new course titled Critical Collaboration: Tools for the Contemporary Urban Environment. Check out this blog from UW Design Lab which will be updated throughout the project.

Visual Inspiration: Hugo at the Henry

Last chance to sign up for this class with Anca Szilágyi from Hugo house starting Thursday night. Read more about the class here in a recent interview with the writer. She also has a public reading coming up in conjunction with AWP, a national writers conference being hosted in Seattle in late February.

INCITE•INSIGHT: Lecture with Katinka Bock

Join Paris-based German sculptor Katinka Bock for a discussion held in conjunction with her first major U.S. exhibition, Katinka Bock: A and I, this Thursday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Are you a Henry Patron or Contemporary member? If so, join us for a special Patron Preview at 5:30.

Artist Katinka Bock

Artist Katinka Bock

What are you wearing to the Henry Gala?

Artist Ann Hamilton suggests wearing your “white possibles” to Blank Page, White Cloth: The 2014 Henry Gala on February 8th. What does that mean to you? Be creative and have fun with it! Here are some photos from last year’s gala to inspire you. Images by Robert Wade.

Eric Frederickson & Betsey Brock

Eric Frederickson & Betsey Brock

Leo Berk & Claire Cowie

Leo Berk & Claire Cowie

Guests mingling before dinner

Guests mingling before dinner

 

Experience the 60′s

Life expenses 50 years ago compared to today:

1964 versus 2014

Numbers give you a reference point, but don’t share an experience.

Danny Lyon. Cal, Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

Danny Lyon. Cal, Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

The exhibition Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders brings the 60′s forward in time. A decade of self expression, rebels, hippies, and activists, Danny Lyon takes us deep into his 1960′s with the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club. Lyon rode with the Hell’s Angels from 1963-67 and documented their lives from the inside with photographs in the style of what is now called “New Journalism.” Objectivity is not a byword for New Journalists, these cutting-edge writers and photographers — including writers Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion and Tom Wolfe — immersed themselves and participated in the life they documented.

Lyon’s first book, a photography collection titled The Bikeriders, was out of print for a decade and is now being reprinted with images from negatives he thought lost for 30 years. We invite you to visit the Henry and immerse yourself in his world (feel free to dress as your favorite character from the movie Easy Rider, which was inspired by Danny Lyon’s work).

Henry Behind the Scenes: Portrait of the Staff as Artists

Do art museums attract artists as staff? Do you need an affinity for the arts to work at an art museum? Yes, and it helps.

The Henry staff artistic profile

A word cloud representing the staff of the Henry

Of the Henry’s 38 full-time staff, 26 percent are practicing artists. They identify as painters, illustrators, writers, actors, filmmakers, multimedia artists, photographers, or a combination of mediums.

Laura Kinney, a Gallery Service Representative who also works with our prep crew, works with various media including “painting, drawing, assemblage, bookbinding/bookarts, and eglomise (reverse glass).” She also occasionally works with video and dabbles in website design and coding.

Webster Crowell, also on prep crew, is a filmmaker and the creator of Rocketmen the Series which had a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign this summer.

WebsterCrowellPhotoByMichaelDoucett

Webster Crowell. Photo By Michael Doucett

When Dustin Engstrom, Executive Assistant to Director Sylvia Wolf, isn’t managing her packed schedule, he’s an actor and playwright.

DustinEngstromPhotoByDavidWulzen

Dustin Engstrom. Photo By David Wulzen

Four of us are non-practicing artists, meaning we were formally trained and have worked as artists in our respective creative fields, but no longer do. We are a musician, fiction writer, photographer, and sculptor.

Nearly 60 percent of our staff considers themselves to have an “artistic nature.” What’s that mean? It’s a wide-ranging field: arts and crafts, textiles, cooking, decorating, art history/critical theory, cinematography, photography, video, digital media, music, printmaking, art writing, drawing, illustrating, acting, gardening, and serving as an artistic liaison/interpreter.

One staff member, when we were discussing how practicing artists often need “day jobs” in the United States, responded passionately, “Being an artist is a professional occupation. We need to recognize the value it has. Creative content is America’s biggest export.”

At the Henry, we believe that originality and creative thought belong to us all: the working artist, the hobbyist, the supporter, and the audience. Our work at the museum inspires us to push past limits and imagine with more daring. What should we write, film, sculpt, or bake next?

Henry Behind the Scenes: Circuit Training with Lacy Draper

Artist and recent UW MFA graduate Lacy Draper is offering an unusual experience at the Henry this weekend: an exercise series in which participants physically interact with our exhibitions.

Conditioning the Conditioned MFA Thesis Show by Lacy Draper

Lacy designed her MFA thesis show to fill the Henry’s unique architecture.
Photo by Lacy Draper

Conditioning the Conditioned MFA Thesis Show by Lacy Draper

Lacy’s sculpture was an interpretation of a strong man’s log as featured in her accompanying video piece at the MFA show.
Photo by Lacy Draper

Lacy came in last week to discuss the similarities and differences between the piece she showed the 2013 MFA + MDes Exhibition this past spring and her new interactive series Circuit Training.

Henry: Thanks for joining us, Lacy. Let’s start with your MFA Thesis, what is Conditioning the Conditioned?

Lacy:  The show featured video and sculpture using the specific architecture of the building. The relationship between instruction and construction, and the process in which it is filtered through in the form of performance serves as a stimulant for my work. I am drawn particularly to social construction; it’s routine conditioning to conform one to reality, which is also a manifestation of conditioning. The video portion focused on repetitive movements and how to reduce them as shown by myself and old footage of strongman competitions.

Henry: From my understanding, Circuit Training also makes use of repetitive movements as well, what is involved in the set-up of Circuit Training?

Lacy: For my MFA I created the experience to be left and experienced in the Henry over time. Circuit Training is a bit more intangible. No equipment to set-up or store. I am here in person to lead discussion and repetitive movement as a way to physically engage people in other artists’ exhibitions. It’s all a huge experiment.

Henry: Has this been very different for you than creating sculpture and video? What are the main differences?

Lacy: I have enjoyed making in this new way and am excited to see what’s next. Each week I choose a focus piece from each of the four main exhibitions. Then I select a repetitive movement that I feel represents the exhibition. At each of the exhibitions we spend a few minutes talking, then a few minutes repeating the motion.

Henry: What are you hoping people take away from this experience?

Lacy: How they document their experience in the space. How does their body feel and how did it affect their relationship to the art – do they blame David Hartt for being sore now? I want them to notice what’s happening in their body during the movement or maybe tomorrow if they are sore and say “That David Hartt was hard.”

Henry: It looks like you got your wish – we got this feedback already from Facebook:

Dudes… go check this out! Lacy’s workout is fun, thoughtful, creative, and leaves your body feeling more viscerally connected to the art work you view together. She invites you to experience and learn about the work in a more kinetic/embodied and deeper way.

Lacy: That’s great!

Henry: Thanks for joining us, Lacy, and we look forward to hearing more from attendees after this week’s session of Circuit Training.

Lacy: Thank you, Henry, for letting me experiment and having me back! I enjoy working with you.

Join Lacy this Sunday and experience Circuit Training for yourself! Sign up HERE.

 

Check out her other work on Flickr.

Have you seen Sanctum? Has it seen you?

We’ve just completed two new videos about Sanctum, the interactive art installation located on the Henry’s facade. Sanctum employs surveillance systems to generate cinematic narratives with social media content that matches the demographic profile of passers-by.

The short videos include interviews with artists James Coupe and Juan Pampin, sharing their ideas and artistic process, the innovative technology they developed, and how their past work brought them to this partnership. After you view them, stop by the Henry and experience Sanctum firsthand!

 James Coupe and Juan Pampin: Sanctum

 

 James Coupe and Juan Pampin: The Collaboration behind Sanctum

These videos were created as a collaborative project between the artists, the Henry, and Solstream Media.

To learn more about the project and to contribute with narrative content, please enter here. You can also opt in by scanning the QR codes that are posted on signage outside the museum.

The Week Ahead @ The Henry: Open House!

 

Last year's Fall Open House packed the gallery. Photo by Amelia Hooning

Last year’s Fall Open House packed the gallery.
Photo by Amelia Hooning

Join us for the best house party of the season this Friday, October 25th!

We’ll start the evening at 6 pm with a special cocktail hour for our Patrons and Contemporaries. At 7 pm, Henry members get in, followed by the general public at 8 pm. Bring a date, bring your friends, bring your circuit training shoes (seriously, we have quite the night planned for you).

We are going to have tours of our five fall exhibitions with Henry guides, Poetic Interventions with Tara Atkinson of APRIL, exhibition-inspired performances from Kate Wallich of The YC, and the aforementioned Circuit Training preview with artist Lacy Draper.

And what’s a party without cold beer from Pyramid Breweries (you get two free drink tickets with admission) and a food truck named NOSH (self-host) — not to mention the best beats around with music powered by KEXP!

Tickets HERE!