Pre-Hoopfest Foray into Spokane for Art

The line of cars heading out of Spokane was long this past Friday, myself included amongst the throngs bugging out before Hoopfest. Although I'm a recently converted fan of the sport (my partner coaches highschool basketball), my primary goal was to see a few art shows before they came down and to visit friends who live and work in Spokane.

First on the list was the Bohl/Erickson show at Lorinda Knight, which I recently previewed for Inlander. In person, two things struck me. Jen Erickson's work is extraordinarily beautiful and calming, visual deep-breathing that unfortunately does not reproduce well enough in print to do it justice. Second, Bohl's work has become more and more narrative, descriptive and specific than earlier works. It also seems to be projecting off the page more. Combined, these two things could be inferred as Bohl's efforts to reach out more to his audience.

Second on the list was Kolbo/Sterling at Saranac Art Projects. Again, this is work that needs to be experienced firsthand. Sterling's shoulder-high installation of cookie-cutter house forms requires you to walk amongst these familiar yet innocuous forms, wondering at the smattering of holes (caused by purposeful shooting of the forms prior to installation). For me it's a tightly conceptualized contrast of suburban sprawl and urban reality, underscored by its presentation in a somewhat urban setting.

Similarly, Scott Kolbo's work must be experienced firsthand. The exquisite quality of his drawings and prints continues to amaze. Kolbo employs characters like Inge the homeless girl and Heavyman--perhaps a play on Everyman--to illuminate social issues. What continues to impress me about Kolbo is his consummate craftsmanship, his consistency and his continued innovation. And as difficult as his content is, the humor with which he approaches it maintains for me a sense of faith that is surprisingly uplifting. Here's a link to his video documentation of the gallery installation.