You can’t trust electronic butterflies, or flying elephants, but you can rely on porcupines. In this gallery, there are suggestions about such choices being made by recent artists from Aboriginal Australia, India, Canada, and parts of the United States. Water is a concern—which can be seen in swirling rivers of sinuous light bulbs, or in floods of Day-Glo acrylic paint. Women’s alliances that create strong bonds are conveyed in a quilt from Alabama and in canvases from the Australian desert. A sculpted sand pit is seen next to a rock hole with similar patterns. With this mix of objects from the museum's permanent collection, some connections are instant, others take time to recognize and consider.
Just as it takes only a few seconds to call Australia, so we may realize that we are all not so far away from each other. This mixture of Australian Aboriginal art with works from the museum’s permanent collection is a compliment to Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection which will be on view in the special exhibition galleries from May 31–September 2, 2012.
–Pam McClusky, Curator of Art of Africa and Oceania
Nooksack, 2005, Claude Zervas, American, born 1963, multimedia sculpture: CCF (cold cathode fluorescent) lamps, wire, electronics, steel, Gift of John and Shari Behnke, Rena Bransten, Carlos Garcia and James Harris, David Lewis, Kim Richter, Josef Vascovitz, Robin Wright, Dawn Zervas and the Contemporary Arts Council of the Seattle Art Museum in honor of Lisa Corrin, 2005.140. © Claude Zervas, Photo: Courtesy James Harris Gallery