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Nicholas Nyland partners at Matter

Local artist brings artistry to Tacoma

“Urban Woodscape” mixed media window installation by Nicholas Nyland at Matter in Tacoma. Courtesy photo

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Artist, curator and gallery owner Lisa Kinoshita recently announced that local artist Nicholas Nyland has joined Matter co-owners Kinoshita and furniture maker Steve Lawler of rePly Furniture as a third partner. "And wait ‘til you see the changes he's wrought at the gallery," Kinoshita exclaimed in an email brimming with uncontained excitement that fairly leapt off the screen.  

Nyland is well known in Tacoma for his exciting and varied artwork, from delicate watercolors and brilliant ceramics to the vibrant, multi-colored and multi-patterned mixed-media constructions he did in collaboration with Ellen Ito. It seems there's no guessing what he might try next.

Nyland's bio reads like an entry in a who's-who of South Sound artists. He has shown his art at Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park, Henry Art Gallery, and the Northwest Biennial at Tacoma Art Museum. He was a nominee for the 2013 Northwest Contemporary Art Awards at Portland Art Museum.

"Now, he's brought his artistry to Matter and has activated the upstairs gallery with a fantastic line of ceramics and home accessories, called "Object Lesson." Nicholas' aesthetic, "an energetic blend of fine art and craft, will be on full display as he brings his keen eye to the downtown design store," Kinoshita said.

The three owners, each an artist, will rotate curatorial tasks in coming months.

"I'm thrilled to be joining forces with Lisa and Steve," Nyland said. "I see "Object Lesson" as an outlet for my interest in the crossover between art and design. I will be including my forays into tableware lighting. I am also planning on adding other contemporary artists' work to fill out the mix. I'm inspired by past precedents such as the Wiener Wekstätte in Austria or the Omega group in London where visual artists turned their hands toward decorative and applied arts."

Also included in the show is some colorful and fun, painted ceramic ware and a long wood table with colorful ceramic plates, bowls, a spoon, candle holders and even a chocolate-covered donut.

As an extended part of the show, Nyland has created a window installation called "Urban Woodscape" that features that kitschy staple of Northwest culture, the chainsaw-carved grizzly bear, along with a painted forest backdrop and some furniture not identified but which I suspect is by Lawler.

Matter will celebrate the arrival of Nyland and "Object Lesson" with a "Meet the Makers Popup" and relaunch party Saturday, June 10, from 4-8 p.m. The relaunch event will be a chance to meet some of the Northwest's fine artisans who are on the Matter roster, including Jeremy Mangan, Carlos Taylor-Swanson, Arts & Crafts Press, Melissa Balch, Saya Moriyasu, Brian Murphy and others.

"Nicholas Nyland: Object Lesson," 2-7 p.m., Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, and by appointment, contact 253.228.1976 or at, Matter, 821 Pacific Ave., Tacoma,

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