Bear Hug


This Sunday, the Henry is hosting an afternoon of camaraderie as we gather to celebrate Seattle’s BFF, Jeffry Mitchell, on the occasion of the exhibition, Like a Valentine. The afternoon will feature tours led by friends of Jeffry at 2pm followed by an afternoon reception and chainsaw bear sale. Choose from a selection of handcrafted chainsaw bears selected by Jeffry and Claude Zervas from locations around the Olympic Peninsula.

Sunday, December 9
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Molly’s Cafe & Sculpture Court
FREE for Henry Members, Students, and UW Staff & Faculty
$10 General Audience

In conjunction with Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell,  Favorite Art Projects has created a Popup Shop in the Henry with art from Northwest artists inspired by Jeffry Mitchell.

The physical shop is open Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday: 12 to 4
Thursday and Fri: 12 to 8
The virtual shop is always open.

Spontaneous Haiku inspired by Bear Hug:

animal inside
the articulate chainsaw
bear hug, bear hug. YES!

And a little diddy, sung to the tone of “Reading Rainbow”:

Bear Hug,
All of the hugs,
Bear hug.

Faculty Focus: Claire Cowie

Come to the Henry tomorrow for this month’s Focus Tour! The 30 minute tour will be led by UW School of Art faculty and artist Claire Cowie who will guide visitors through Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell. The tour starts at 12 and will leave you with enough time to grab a sammy at Molly’s all within your lunch hour!

From painting to sculpture to photogravure, the work produced by Seattle-based artist Claire Cowie conjures up a bizarre menagerie, replete with composite creatures and exotic locales. Haunting disembodied figures populate her landscapes; they appear at once otherworldly and familiar as they beckon the eye and the imagination. Her collages, watercolors, and prints recall Chinese and Japanese landscape painting traditions. Using a minimum of strokes she achieves deep spaces, producing dreamlike landscapes that recede into the distance. Claire received her BFA in Drawing and Printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997, and her MFA in Printmaking from the University of Washington in 1999. She is locally represented by James Harris Gallery.

In summary:
Claire Cowie Faculty Tour of Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell
wednesday (november 21) at 12:00 – 12:30
Henry Art Gallery

See you there!

Gold, Flowers, Shrines, Celebrations, Dead Animals, Glitter and Vibrators: Tony Sonnenberg

Have I ever told you how much I LOVE the Ceramic and Metal Arts building?  Well, I really do.  I biked down there on a beautiful afternoon last week to drop in on Tony in his studio.  The CMA is a magical place where all the best parts of it seem to always stay the same: a volleyball net and thirty bikes locked up out front, all the doors wide open, thick dust and clay residue EVERY WHERE, and some guy walking around without his shirt on.  It’s sort of like being at your best friend’s house where people are always coming and going, there are always snacks and music and someone’s always super stoned.  Let the good times roll.  Whatever, it’s a beautiful place and I immediately remembered that special place in my heart for the CMA.

 I’ve been trying to track Tony down now for about three weeks.  This guy is a super lovebug who you can’t help but feel at ease with whenever you’re around him.  “I had a piece blow up in the kiln the other day…” That was the first thing he said to me once in his studio.  He seemed pretty bummed out, or maybe just exhausted.  But in true Tony fashion, he followed it up with a beautiful up-beat aside: “But maybe it was just god editing my work for me!” HA/DUH.  Whatta guy!

Tony’s Studio. GOLD!

As with all of the MFAs, Tony is preparing for his departmental thesis show (Tuesday at the CMA, 6pm) as well as the Henry show that opens Friday, so it makes sense that it’s taken so long to get some face time.  His work is great because his sculptural pieces are always perfectly finished and over the top decadent (he cites baroque and rococo as huge influences) and come out of layers and layers of stories and jokes, source materials, and imagined scenarios (as my #1 top favorite professor always says: “IT’S ALLEGORICAL!”).  Of his own work Tony has this to say: “My work is about facades and what’s behind facades, superficial narratives over more mysterious ones…I have a lot of interest in surfaces and modes of pulling the viewer in.  There is always a top layer of humor and beauty and materialism and decadence…you’re never quite sure what you’re looking at- you’re always second guessing what you’re seeing.  On the one hand, I employ all these tactics and then underneath all that there’s this darkness and kind of emptiness and isolation. It’s like you set up an expectation and then you thwart the expectation.”

Installation shot, Tony Sonnenberg. 2012, CMA.

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Meet the Artist: Lead Pencil Studio

Friday, February 17, 2012,
6:00 – 8:00 PM
Henry Art Gallery Auditorium
FREE Admission

Lead Pencil Studio was commissioned through a national call-to-artists process, organized by STart, Sound Transit public art program. The artists will discuss their previous work and how they will prepare for creating public art at Sound Transit’s future Brooklyn Link light rail station in Seattle’s University District.

Lead Pencil Studio creates an interdisciplinary overlap of architecture and site-specific art. With training in ceramics, photography, sculpture and drawing as well as architecture, Han and Mihalyo explore spatial conditions in the built environment. Lead Pencil Studio recently completed the empty billboard sculpture in Peace Arch Park on the Canadian border.

Learn more
For more information about this event, contact Mylinda Sneed at (206) 689-4978 or Find more information about STart, Sound Transit public art program

To stay informed about the North Link Light Rail project, visit their website

Public Art in Seattle

Lee Kelly, model for “Untitled” at Louisa Boren Park, 1975, welded steel, 27"x24". Photo courtesy of the artist.

The exhibition Public Art in Seattle at City Hall offers an overview of the city’s public art program with photos, drawings, proposals and maquettes for more than 60 permanent artworks located throughout the city. Also on display are materials used in artwork conservation.

On view at City Hall through March 2, the show highlights artworks from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs’ 40th anniversary exhibition “Seattle as Collector: Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs Turns 40,” which was featured at the Seattle Art Museum last year from May through October.

Public Art in Seattle is on view in the City Hall Lobby Gallery and Anne Focke Gallery (located on the L-2 level of City Hall). Gallery hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call (206) 684-7171 or visit.

Mike Pham: How to Make a One Minute Sculpture


January 12 @ 6pm
Test Site

Throughout the Henry’s presentation of Erwin Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures visitors will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of participatory experiences designed to explore the concepts introduced in Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures. From interactive sculpture making and object-based movement workshops to afternoon residencies with local artists, Visitors are encouraged to question their definition of sculpture by encountering their own unexpected relationships with everyday objects.

Mike Pham is a performance artist, director and designer whose work operates at the intersection of theater, dance, improvisation, video montage and sculpture and embraces a non-linear approach to artmaking that challenges presumed roles of performer, producer, director, and observer. He attended New York University and the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School and is a graduate of Seattle Central Creative Academy with a degree in graphic design and illustration. He is co-creative principal of performance group Helsinki Syndrome and participated in two consecutive artist residencies at Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Incubator (2008–09). He has performed in Seattle: (Velocity Dance Center’s Next Fest NW, On the Boards’ NW New Works Festival and 12 Minutes Max, CityArts Fest, NEPO House, Seattle Art Museum REMIX, Hedreen Gallery, Annex Theatre, Seattle School, Strange Coupling, Open Circle Theater), Portland, OR: (Risk/Reward Festival of New Performance), New York: (Ontological-Hysteric Incubator), Vancouver BC: (Or Gallery) and London, UK: (Camden People’s Theatre SPRINT Festival).

The Holy Mountain is Well Underway

David Herbert is working at lightening speed as the Holy Mountain is starting to take shape in the East Gallery. Check out these photos of this excellent progress:

David Herbert with the early stages of the Holy Mountain
Check out all the progress that's been made since just yesterday!
Come by the Henry and see the artist working away for yourself!

And to prepare for your inevitable visit, take a quick peak at the two films that are partly responsible for the inspiration of this work: The Holy Mountain and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 

As the artist said himself about Close Encounters of the Third Kind,

When I am working on a project I am often reminded of Richard Dreyfuss’s possessed madness as he builds the likeness of Devil’s Tower in his living room out of dirt from the front yard. Perhaps this is a romantic view of an artist having this sort of reckless abandon and hidden purpose to creating art.”