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The Built Environment at Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery

An exhibition highlighting 22 artists’ responses to the built environment just opened at the Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery. Aptly titled The Built Environment, the exhibition features two categories of artworks: drawings or sculptures that represent ideas for proposed public artworks and artworks which reflect artists’ responses to architecture.

Included in the exhibition is a 1996 model of a house by Rolon Garner and Ken Leback for the public artwork Equality – featuring dozens of small granite houses laid out  in a grid – in Seattle’s Sturgus Park. Joseph Park’s 2002 painting Rouen is his take on Monet’s studies of the Rouen Cathedral painted during different times of the day. Park’s version is harder-edged and painted at night. Contrast this with the linoleum print Armenia III/The Church by Dionne Haroutunian. Here the building is viewed as little more than a house, rustic but welcoming, whereas Park’s cathedral is looming and ominous.

John Stamets’ photograph Experience Music Project, Madonna Wall Framing shows the EMP under construction in 2000. Mark Danielson’s The Supernatural, 2005, depicts a mid-century modern house encapsulated in either a faceted gem or a coffin, asking the question of whether the artist cherishes or repels the structure. 

The artworks are in a variety of media, including paintings, prints, sculpture, photography, drawing and mixed media. City Curator and Collections Manager Deborah Paine selected the artworks from the city’s Portable Works Collection managed by the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

“Seattle’s buildings, streets, homes, apartments and condos make up the built environment of our city. Architects, designers and engineers have created it, but artists also use the built environment to stimulate and inform the creations they make,” writes Paine in her curator’s statement.

The exhibition will run through Sept. 30.