Pioneer Square gallery free to everyone

Nestled between Third Avenue and Main Street on the east edge of the historic Pioneer Square District is a charming local art gallery named after its art-loving founder, Greg Kucera. The gallery is home to a number of local artists who create limited art editions for display in the loft space.

“The Greg Kucera Gallery is a really cool little space to interact with,” Seattle Pacific student Elizabeth McKinnon said. “To be able to go into the gallery, explore the art and talk to the actual artists gave me a greater appreciation of the art.”

Entry is free, a way for anybody to come into the gallery, whether it be a curious passerby, a traveling art connoisseur or a college student looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon.

The space is warm, inviting and cozy. As you step inside the main door, you find yourself in a quaint, square room, exhibiting one of two featured artist’s bodies of work. All the paintings are spaced out evenly and well-lit along the walls, which allow the viewer to meander with ease among the different pieces. As you progress further into the gallery, there is a moderate-sized hallway with various pieces along the side. The hallway leads into another exhibit room that houses the second featured artist’s art show. There is even a little balcony area outside where outdoor sculptures are displayed.

Today the gallery still supports many of these artists as well as several newer painters and sculptors who have stepped into the fine arts scene. Among these are Susan Skilling and Jeffrey Simmons, who had their collections on display from Jan. 3 – Feb. 16.

Skilling’s paintings took up the front exhibit. Her artwork was a collection of gouache (a medium similar to watercolor) on various papers, such as mulberry. The work was an abstract exploration of organic scenes.

In contrast to Skilling’s paintings were Simmons’ watercolor paintings, which featured extremely orderly, geometrically layered paintings on watercolor paper. There were around 14 pieces of artwork in the room.

“This body of work took me about a year, a year and a little bit to finish,” Simmons said. “The smaller pieces I can crank out in a day, but the bigger pieces take much longer.”

From far away, the paintings look a little blurry and seem easy, as if the artist had taken a brush with paint on it, shaken his hand and let the drops that spattered soak into the paper. Upon close examination, however, it becomes apparent that every drop of paint on the paper was done very intentionally. The ordinary becomes the extraordinary as you see that the drop of paint from afar is really a series of circles, painted one on top of the other in a painstaking matter until there are at least 20 layers of paint.

“I have a turntable in my studio where I can spin the artwork while holding my brush down so that I can create the perfect circles,” Simmons said in response to how he can get the precise circles in all of his palindromes (a series of layered circular structure paintings).

The public showed their appreciation for his modern watercolor expression by spending as much as $3,200 for his paintings so far.

The Greg Kucera Gallery is now approaching its 30-year anniversary. It has come a long way from its 1983 opening, where the only notice to the public was a three-line paragraph in the back pages of the Seattle Times. Throughout the years, they have maintained integrity and quality in the extensive small art gallery scene surrounding the Pioneer Square District.

The next exhibition opens on Thursday and is available to the public until March 30. It will display local artist Edward Wicklander, a wood carver who uses his skill to express humorous and eccentric storytelling, as well as artist William Burton Binnie, who explores modern styles of oil paint.

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Title: Pioneer Square gallery free to everyone | Author: Hannah Glesener | Section: Features | Published Date: 2013-02-27 | Internal ID: 8591