It’s airy. It’s shaded. Most importantly, it’s big.
Tacoma artist Lisa Kinoshita has moved her midcentury décor, succulents and artisan jewelry from the tiny Moss+Mineral on South Ninth Street to the spacious historic building at 821 Pacific Avenue.
Now called Matter, the new gallery combines Kinoshita’s eye for design with three Tacoma furniture artisans, Steve Lawler of rePly, and Jeff Libby and Adrienne Wicks of Birdloft. Extending deep into the building, the new space is both a whole lot cooler on a sunny day (good for both art and plants), and much bigger, allowing space for much more art and furniture.
With the tagline “Tacoma made modern,” Matter opened last weekend with an exhibition of Bill Colby prints and paintings on the walls and a fascinating combination of handmade furniture, plants and esoteric items on the floor. Against the off-white walls and textured beige floor, Lawler’s intricate matchstick chairs and tables, made from inlaid plywood offcuts, had the chance to sing, as well as the bigger Birdloft works of repurposed wood and metal, like coffee tables made from cloud-shaped oak crosscuts.
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Blending with eclectic items from heavy green glass tumblers to delicate deer skulls, spiky plants, goofy-eyed pumice “faces” ringed with soft fur and ancient calligraphy books, the overall effect of Matter is intriguing: midcentury aesthetic given a handmade, semi-industrial vibe.
The soaring walls allow much more space for two-dimensional art. Right now it’s Colby, ranging over six decades of work such as the “Television Trance” silkscreen, a brown-and-olive smudge of vacant faces and eerie light; or the 1964 woodcut “Spring,” a gentle explosion of swirls and ejaculations; or the watercolor “Tideflats East,” with a Japanese quality of balance and restraint in its vertical ink strokes and vague mountains.
Kinoshita has shown her work and others’ in a variety of small spaces around town; Lawler, Libby and Wicks were most recently in the temporary collective Revive on Puyallup Avenue. This new venture makes a good aesthetic combination in a busier location, with regular hours and a better division of labor in staffing the gallery — a win-win for both the artists and Tacoma.
Who: Lisa Kinoshita, rePly and Birdloft furniture.
Where: 821 Pacific Ave., Tacoma.
When: 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and by appointment. Bill Colby art through June 11.
Information: 253-961-5220, mattertacoma.com.