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Last exhibition days of William Turner, Big and Bold

Posted in: Press Release ♦ Tuesday, June 7th, 2011, 1:53 am ♦ Comments Off

Turner’s latest
Big new paintings by William Turner at Mavi Contemporary

By Alec Clayton on June 1, 2011

Mavi Contemporary Art has a stable of about 20 artists whose works rotate from month to month. I may be wrong, but it seems like three of them, William Turner, Michael Croman and William Quinn, are in almost every show. These three are again featured in Mavi’s latest show. To be more accurate, Turner is featured and Croman and Quinn have a strong presence.

Turner’s paintings are his latest. I didn’t make a note of the dates, but those I did notice were all done this year. As with his previous works, they are large, colorful abstract paintings that relate to landscape, with oddly shaped patches of color that clearly reflect the look of trees, water, mountains and sky. Where the new work differs from Turner’s previous work is that these paintings are bigger and more energetic, and with more intense color.

It looks like he is pushing himself to take more chances and be more spontaneous, and that’s a good thing. What’s not so good is that with a couple of exceptions, the new work is more jarring, i.e., less harmonious, than his earlier work. The pieces do not lock together as well. The paintings read as a jumble of parts rather than a unified whole. Perhaps that’s a trade-off worth making, and maybe in efforts to come he will be able to compose his work more harmoniously while retaining the new spontaneity.

The best paintings in the show are “Hanging Ten” and “There is Always Time for Red.” Both are five feet tall and alive with brilliant colors from every point on the color wheel. “Hanging Ten” is more classically balanced than most of Turner’s paintings, with everything balanced on either side of a bright red zigzag that runs down the middle of the canvas like a canyon or a road cut through with mountains on one side and ocean beaches on the other. On the left are large areas of blue and light violet with numerous accents in many other colors. The right side is similar but with large fields of yellow and blue. There is water and a horizon line, but what would logically be sky above is yellow with a strange circular shape like something etched into the face of a cliff.

The intense colors fight each other, but are held in check by the carefully composed juxtaposition of shapes. It’s a good balance of a spontaneous slap-dash of paint and more carefully thought-out composition (although I suspect the composition was more intuitive than planned.)

“There is Always Time for Red” has less jarring colors, but is still vibrant with hot red, violet and orange, and a scrubby white and gray area below a delicate wash of red and orange.

In the vault – a separate gallery within Mavi that is actually an old bank vault – Michael Croman is showing 11 medium-sized landscapes in a style derived from 19th century landscape artists, but with the more modern addition of veins of tiny drips and runs of turpentine eating through the oil paint. It’s not a style of painting that I like, but the complexity of detail is admirable.

Also showing are sculptures with a clear Native American influence by William Quinn. Most are strong, totem-like standing figures. The strongest work of all is a piece called “Metamorphose,” which is a jumble of aspen limbs painted stark white, black and gray. Verbal description doesn’t do it justice. It’s a work that packs a wallop.

William Turner
Through June 12, 2–7 p.m., Wednesday–Sunday
Mavi Contemporary Art, 502 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
253.759.6233

Meditation Window 1

Posted in: Christopher Mathie, Gallery, Press Release ♦ Sunday, February 20th, 2011, 4:10 am ♦ Comments Off
Meditation Window 1

The Seventh Mountain

Posted in: Press Release ♦ Sunday, February 20th, 2011, 3:37 am ♦ Comments Off

$2,500.

Milli Travels

Posted in: Gallery, Press Release ♦ Saturday, January 1st, 2011, 3:27 am ♦ Comments Off
Milli Travels

Alexis St. John

Mavi Contemporary Art opens with aplomb

Posted in: Press Release ♦ Wednesday, September 29th, 2010, 6:59 pm ♦ Comments Off

Written by Matt Nagle, Tacoma Weekly.

The grand opening of Mavi Contemporary Art was a big hit with Art Walk patrons Aug. 19. Throughout the evening many people stopped by and stayed a while to check out the extreme makeover given to the gallery interior, and to see the collection of paintings and sculptures by the gallery’s inaugural artist William Quinn of Gig Harbor.

With its smooth white walls and sparse décor, Mavi gallery’s interior incorporates a minimalist aesthetic in order to give as much attention as possible to the art on display. Natural light flows in freely from the tall windows and lots of floor space makes it easy for art lovers to mingle and move around. Owners Mavi and her daughter, Elizabeth Ashe, have further plans for the street corner gallery’s exterior, including new awnings that will soon be installed, and a large, signature sculpture is planned for an eye-catching attraction near the entrance. Locals familiar with the gallery’s façade will notice the restored, polished copper molding around the outside windows, having been buried for a long time under layers of paint.

Inside, it’s all about the singular artist being featured through his collection titled “European Odyssey.” An abstract expressionist painter with a penchant for woodcarvings, Quinn’s art ranges from big paintings up to six feet tall to 12-inch tabletop figures he’s carved from wood. He has a few larger carved figures in the show as well, such as his redwood “Harliquinnese” that stands 75-inches tall. Using no power tools, Quinn applies hammer and chisel to his larger carved works, and smaller tools like Q-Tips and nail files for the smaller ones.

On the walls, his paintings are showcased in the main gallery and in the back anteroom. Most he painted while in Europe, where he lived for two decades before moving to Tacoma to be near family. From an early age Quinn was encouraged in his pursuit of art. As he grew older and lived his life, his artistic expression came to encompass his outlook on life and art, his American roots and his European experiences. He has exhibited his works around Europe and the Midwest for more than 40 years, winning accolades and many prizes in competitive exhibitions. His esteemed work also earning him a place in “Who’s Who in American Art,” the preeminent biographical directory of noteworthy visual artists in the United States. Mavi got to know Quinn after the two met in France; she said that showing his work to open her gallery is a dream come true.

Quinn’s paintings are bold and executed with a confident hand. His fearless use of color makes for sweet surprises for the viewer. With commanding brushstrokes, heavy dark lines and dramatic content, his works command attention, sometimes quietly and sometimes not so quietly. Some of his smaller works contain unexpected moments, such as the artist’s incorporation of rags he’s used to wipe his brush on, torn into strips and added to the painting to share with others the “happy accidents” that occur when pigment meets cloth and magically creates something special.

“European Odyssey” is on view through Sept. 12. While at the gallery, also check out exquisite handmade jewelry by Ilse and “fireblaze pottery” by Wanda Garrity. Mavi Contemporary Art is located on the bottom floor of the historic Merlino building at the corner of 6th Avenue and South Fawcett. Hours are 1-8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and by appointment: (253) 759-6233.

Gig Harbor artist has solo exhibition at Tacoma gallery grand opening

Posted in: Press Release ♦ Wednesday, September 29th, 2010, 6:52 pm ♦ Comments Off
Written by Susan Schell, for The Gateway and News Tribune. 8/18/10
William Quinn has a history of being a one-man show. The Gig Harbor artist has had the honor of being the sole exhibitor at art galleries around the Midwest and Europe for 40 years, and he will again hold center stage at the Mavi Contemporary Art Gallery in Tacoma.

His show, “European Odyssey” will be on display from Aug. 18 through Sept. 12. An opening reception will take place on Aug. 19.

Quinn, a painter and sculptor, was on the crest of the wave of American abstract expressionism, a post-World War II art movement. “It was the dominant force (of art) in the 1950s,” he said. “The 1960s were about social revolution. There was the Vietnam War and the women’s movement. There was an emergence of women in art.”

Quinn believes pop art was the most devastating newcomer on the art scene. The difference between what was good and bad was lost during that era, he said.

“The aesthetics of art shifted,” he said. “It upset the values and the meaning of art. There was conceptual art and graffiti art — a parody on art as we knew it.” As time passed, there were fewer competitive art exhibitions where artists could make a living, Quinn said.

“They dried up because there were no standard values,” he said. “It was like the demise of the symphony orchestra. No one composes symphonies any more.”

Quinn made the comparison of when the Berlin wall came down — there were people who were not mentally prepared for such a drastic change in lifestyle — and everything became a big “free-for-all.”

Quinn is a true career artist. He received a master’s degree in painting and drawing from the University of Illinois on the GI bill. He ended up teaching art for 33 years at Washington University in St. Louis, where he met his Belgian-born wife, Janine, who worked in the art history department on campus.

“Art is all I’ve ever done,” he said. “My wife thinks I’m hopeless.”

While teaching at the university, the Quinns took summers off in Europe to paint, and they eventually moved there. William exhibited his work in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. He is listed in the “Who’s Who in American Art.”

While they stayed in Vance, a small town in the south of France, they met a fellow American artist by the name of Mavi (pronounced muh-VEE) Macfarlane. Mavi had sold her business in the Pacific Northwest, the Bainbridge Coffee Company, and moved to France to paint.

Years later, when the Americans found themselves back in Washington, Mavi, now a realtor for Key Peninsula Real Estate, sold the Quinns their home in Gig Harbor. So when Mavi realized her dream of opening her own art gallery, Quinn was a natural for the grand-opening exhibit.

“He’s a wonderful guy to have at our grand opening,” Mavi said. “His work is at museum level.”

The artist opened the Mavi Contemporary Art Gallery in the Merlino Art Center in June with her daughter, Elizabeth Ashe. Formerly known as the Two Vaults Gallery, the pair shut the doors for renovation.

“It was a complete full remodel, down to the plaster,” Mavi said. “It’s a really old building. But we heard the gallery was closing, and we didn’t want to see it close.”

The Mavi exhibit will be Quinn’s first solo art exhibition in Washington.

Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/08/18/1304903/local-artist-has-solo-exhibit.html#ixzz10wi7HxCE

Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/08/18/1304903/local-artist-has-solo-exhibit.html#ixzz10whwae5n
Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/08/18/1304903/local-artist-has-solo-exhibit.html#ixzz10whplFT9

Slouching Toward Utopia

Posted in: Press Release ♦ Sunday, September 12th, 2010, 7:05 pm ♦ Comments Off

While others practice “deaccession,” Tacoma fosters awesome Islamic mural pieces and two new galleries

by Joe Malik on August 13, 2010. Weekly Volcano.

It’s getting bad out there. Museums in New York are trying to sell art to make ends meet. That prompted legislation that would prevent New York cultural institutions from selling art to cover everyday operating costs. Museums call it “deaccession,” which usually happens when museums want to buy more art by selling art that’s lost some of its luster. The New York Times called selling art to cover expenses a “misuse of funds that jeopardizes preserving cultural heritage as a public trust.”

Meanwhile, closer to home, art continues to be represented by independent and private collectors, organizations, and other crazy people who refuse to believe that we’re on the brink of the complete economic collapse.

{…}  Making a debut is Mavi Contemporary Art (Sixth and South Fawcett), which will occupy the space occupied by Two Vaults.

Mavi and Elizabeth Ashe are a mother and daughter team, and have been working to transform Two Vaults since June. Mavi is a painter, and her daughter has degrees from Cornell and the Art Institute of Chicago. The debut showing will showcase the work of Gig Harbor Artist William Quinn and several others.

Outstanding opening William Quinn’s “European Odyssey”

Posted in: Press Release ♦ Sunday, September 12th, 2010, 6:41 pm ♦ Comments Off

By Alec Clayton on August 25, 2010. Weekly Volcano.

Mavi Contemporary Art is Tacoma’s newest gallery. They opened last week (in the beautifully remodeled building that was for so long home to Two Vaults Gallery) with an outstanding exhibition of paintings and sculptures by William Quinn.

Little known in Tacoma, Quinn has long been successful nationally and even internationally. He has lived and worked in Europe, taught at Washington University in St. Louis and has shown his work in such prestigious institutions as the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, St. Louis Museum and the High Museum in Atlanta.

Such major recognition doesn’t necessarily mean an artist is good, but believe me, this guy can paint.

His show, European Odyssey, features both paintings and sculptures.

The paintings are abstract with vaguely figurative organic shapes in starkly contrasting colors floating on or seen through open space (the backgrounds are mostly white or black). His balance of shapes in space is dramatic, and his gestural surface markings range from the most delicate to the most bombastic, with an intermingling of flat, opaque shapes, lovely transparencies and lines made by drawing into the wet paint to reveal other colors painted beneath. I see a lot of Robert Motherwell influence in these paintings – especially the ones that use strong black and white contrasts – and hints of Juan Miro.

The Miro look is most evident in the painting used on the show invitation, A Summer Day in St. Tropez. Strong black, blue and yellow forms can be seen in a kind of organic window at top. Most of the surface is white with yellow accents, and near the bottom is a reclining figure that looks like a harlequin with his head cropped by the left edge of the canvas. This is abstract painting at its best.

Also borrowing from the harlequin theme is a tall totemic statue in carved and painted redwood called Harlequiness. The beauty in this is the surface decoration of subtle textures and transparencies, and a very smooth line made with what appears to be graphite.

All of the sculptures in this show are thin figures that look like a cross between totem poles and Alberto Giacometti’s figures. The forms of his sculptures are not particularly interesting or unique, but the surfaces are fabulous; they are approached as painting in three dimensions.

One of my favorite paintings is Nuits du Sud, a dramatically dark painting with an imposing figure standing like an abstract warrior under a red moon in a black night. Stories, figures, landscapes and cityscapes are hinted at but never made explicit in these paintings. Their real strength is in Quinn’s use of visual elements.

European Odyssey

Through Sept. 12, 1-8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday
Mavi Contemporary Art, 502 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
253.759.6233

Mother/Daughter Team Has Big Plans

Posted in: Press Release ♦ Sunday, August 1st, 2010, 4:33 pm ♦ 1 Comment
Mother/Daughter Team Has Big Plans

Elizabeth Ashe-Director

No need to be concerned that the former Two Vaults art gallery will sit there empty like other retail spaces in downtown Tacoma. New tenants are already giving this Merlino Building cornerstone a major cosmetic makeover and plan to have it all shipshape just in time for Art Walk in August. Continuing the artistic legacy that started years ago at this corner of 6th and Fawcett avenues, the new owners – mother/daughter team Mavi and Elizabeth Ashe – are just about ready for the grand opening of their new Mavi Contemporary Art.

“We did a lot of work really fast in here,” said Ashe, her voice echoing in the empty gallery. Fresh, bright paint now covers the walls, the flooring has been stripped, and rooms have been completely emptied out in preparation for new uses such that Two Vaults regulars may not recognize the place. With some hired help, Ashe and Mavi (pronounced muh-VEE where the second syllable is stressed) are making sure everything in the gallery gets freshened up, all the way down to gleaming copper framing on the windows that have been covered by many layers of paint. This duo plans for a whole new aesthetic to take hold, with clean lines and a modern vibe, airy and open in which the art attracts all the focus. “We want to keep it very simple and contemporary,” Mavi said.

While other art galleries locally and across the country may be feeling the pinch of the current economy, Mom and daughter are confident that they have the winning formula to make Mavi Contemporary Art a success. “The location from a business standpoint is wonderful,” according to longtime business owner and artist Mavi. She points to several popular businesses on the block – The Grand Cinema, Mineola wine bar and Corina Bakery – as draws for passers-by to stop in and see some art. “About 10,000 people a month could walk through this gallery.”

The two women’s tastes in art should also help their gallery stand out and be seen as very different from what used to be there, Mavi said. “We’re up-scaling it a bunch. We’re going to bring something special to Tacoma, something you’re more likely to see in Chicago or New York.” This will include local artists and internationally known artists as well. “We are both strong believers in supporting local artists – that’s what it’s all about,” Mavi said, “even emerging artists coming out of school, if (their work) is exceptional.”

Ashe agreed. “There’s a lot of amazing talent in this town. I don’t feel that potential in Seattle.”

Mavi Contemporary Art will represent about six local artists as its base – some being carried over from Two Vaults, others brand new – and additional artists will show at the discretion of the owners. Mavi and Ashe have already picked out their first artist to showcase in next month’s Art Walk – William Quinn of Gig Harbor. Internationally known for his fine art, mainly abstract oil paintings and figurative sculptures, Quinn has become world renowned during his four decades of being a professional artist. Having won many prizes and awards in competitive exhibitions, Quinn continues to make art today with as much gusto as he did in 1953 when he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Washington University in St. Louis.

Mavi and Ashe will show their own art, too. Ashe is a sculptor, poet and painter with years of formal training behind her and soon to hold two master’s degrees. “My painting tends to be realist figurative, and my sculpture leans toward bronze, paper casting and installation work.” She also studies word entomology, from which she receives much inspiration.

Mavi has been a painter all her life, she said. “I used to own Bainbridge Coffee Company on Bainbridge Island and sold that in 2000 so I could retire and paint in the south of France in a small village called Vence, about 20 minutes from the foothills above Nice.” She has also done performance art. Together, Mavi and Ashe each bring something unique to the table. As Mavi put it, “She has a lot of contacts being as she’s gone through all the formal training, and I have the personal contacts from being an artist all my life and living in Europe.”

“We’re going to target a different market than people just buying art,” Mavi continued. “It could be young couples that appreciate art but can’t spend $4,000 to $10,000 on a painting but they want something original, so we’re going to have original prints that are signed. We have a number of artists lined up for that.”

While its website is still under construction, keep checking http://www.mavigallery.com for the latest on Mavi Contemporary Art, and look for the grand opening next month. For more information, call (253) 759-6233.

By Matt Nagle
Tacoma Weekly

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About The Gallery

Mavi Contemporary Art showcases fine art, paintings, sculptures, glass, photography, and original prints from a select group of contemporary artists. With the remodel, the front vault is now available for installation pieces as well. Sculpture now has a stronger focus in the gallery already considered a “must see” in Tacoma. Mavi and Elizabeth plan to support the work of local artists in addition to bring in artists from around the world.

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