Must-see shows

Katlyn Hubner's "Codependent Menagerie" and others

By Alec Clayton on November 9, 2017

Seattle artist Katlyn Hubner is well known in the Emerald City and, if she is not equally well known in Tacoma, she should be, and hopefully will be soon after the opening of her show "Codependent Menagerie" at Feast Arts Center. A menagerie is usually thought of in reference to four-legged animals, but in this show, they are human animals. And the term "codependent" in this context should be self-evident. Hubner is a painter and videographer. Her paintings are all about the human figure and, as she points out, "human emotions. ... I am captivated by the extent to which moments in our lifetime can affect us. My whole point of making art is to tell stories," she says.

Hubner's paintings are in a style reminiscent of the great Alice Neel. She is a realist, not in the sense of photo-realist painting with smooth modulation of colors and shadows, but in the sense of depicting the reality of humanity with no attempt to beautify or idealize. She paints with broad strokes and harsh contrasts. Nudes and sexuality abound. Often in her work the figure is cropped in strange and unexpected ways or seen from odd points of view. Many are depicted as grotesque or horrifying. In many, there are liberal drips, with paint running down the canvas as if the figures are melting.

Gallery owner Todd Jannausch says there will be six paintings in the show, all recent works, to include a wonderfully harsh painting of John Lennon and Yoko Ono based on a famous photograph, but which does not pretend to look like John and Yoko. Most of her paintings are in the three-by-four feet range.

Also of particular note in Tacoma is "Two Centuries of American Still-Life Painting: The Frank and Michelle Hevrdejs Collection" at Tacoma Art Museum. This major exhibition from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, features an array of still-life paintings from European modern, realist and trompe l'oeil paintings, impressionist painters and American masters. See realistic paintings by James Peale and Andrew Wyeth, and stylized modernist paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe and the lushly painted pop art of Wayne Thiebaud, amongst others in this spectacular exhibition.

In Olympia, this weekend offers the last chances to see "Breath and Bone Songs," paintings by Jeffree Stewart at Allsorts Gallery. Stewart is a longtime favorite among Olympia painters. Tacomans will recognize his work from his many appearances in the annual juried shows at Tacoma Community College. His paintings are rich and densely packed with swirling brushstrokes that seem to trap primitive looking figures of humans and animals -- figures inspired by ancient petroglyphs.

Finally, I wind up this listing of must-see shows with the best of all, drawings by Marilyn Frasca at Childhood's End Gallery in Olympia. As I stated in the Oct. 19 issue of this newspaper, Frasca's "imagination, her empathy with her subject matter and her accomplished drawing skill make for an amazing show." This show also closes after this weekend.

Katlyn Hubner's "Codependent Menagerie," noon-4 p.m., Saturday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, and by appointment, Nov. 18-Jan. 6, Feast Arts Center, 1402 S. 11th St., Tacoma

"Two Centuries of American Still-Life Painting: The Frank and Michelle Hevrdejs Collection," 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, through Jan. 7, 2018, 5-8 p.m., Third Thursday, Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, $13-$15, free to members,

Jeffree Stewart's "Breath and Bone Songs," 5-7 p.m., and by appointment, Nov. 10-12, Allsorts Gallery, 2306 Capitol Way S., Olympia, 323.254.6220,

"Marilyn Frasca Drawings," 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, through Nov. 12, Childhood's End Gallery, artist talk 3 p.m., 222 Fourth Ave. W., Olympia, 360.943.3724