Gallery News


Shades of White

March at Traver Gallery

Group Exhibition: Shades of White

Exhibition Dates: March 6 - 29, 2014

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 6, 5 - 8 pm


Shades of White

Traver Gallery is pleased to present Shades of White, a group exhibition exploring a recent trend toward reductivism in contemporary art and design. Traver Gallery has a long history of representing artists who are passionate about the materials with which they work, and the removal of color can allow an artist to explore various aspects of their material in greater depth. Shades of White highlights the many diverse expressions of the aesthetic choice to either eschew added pigment entirely, or work primarily in white; the result is a richly varied presentation of work that is subtle, beautiful, and quietly sensuous.

By removing color as an expressive or compositional element, a fascinating variety of other factors can be explored in an artwork, ranging from narrative to and formal. Shades of White includes pieces by 24 nationally renowned artists working in a variety of styles and mediums, each of whom has chosen to employ a pared back color palette for a unique combination of reasons. 

Longstanding traditions of simple grace in Japanese and Danish design clearly influence the work of artists such as Jun Kaneko and Tobias Mohl, while echoes of the exhaustive exploration of paint as a material in the white-on-white paintings of Minimalist painter Robert Ryman can be seen in the work of Merrill Wagner.

Absence of color in the work of master woodworkers Michael Peterson and Christian Burchard highlights the inherent beauty of wood as a material, bringing its sensuous surface texture as well as the technical expertise of the artists themselves to the forefront. Meanwhile, fiber artist Yuri Kinoshita’s simple, monochromatic forms allow us to focus on the gorgeous looping patterns in her woven sculptures.

The unique ability of glass to absorb, reflect, or transmit light provides artists who work with the material with endless available nuances, even when working with just one color. By carving into the surface of glass, Ethan Stern, April Surgent, and Armelle Bouchet O’Neiil use light to create a seemingly endless palette of textures and shades in their work, while the varying thicknesses of Masahiro Asaka and Ann Wolfe’s monochromatic cast sculptures result in fascinating, shifting values across their surfaces.

Working monochromatically also allows artists to emphasize an aspect of their work, which might be overshadowed by the inherently expressive nature of color. Form comes to the forefront in Jamie Walker, Jane Rosen and Dante Marioni’s sculptures, while surface patterns and textures are the focus in Preston Singletary and Malcolm Martin and Gaynor Dowling’s pieces. Meanwhile, Carmen Vetter explores texture and its affect on the way light is absorbed and reflected and Amie McNeel achieves a heightened sense of contrast and balance in her sculptural compositions by contrasting shiny white with darker elements. The absence of color and use of white space in Dick Weiss’ leaded glass screens results in unusual and sophisticated abstract compositions.

In many cases, a calculated absence of color is integrated into the meaning, as well as the physical expression of a work. John Kiley’s sleek, opaque white sculptures convey a much different meaning from his transparent works with similar forms. Their shiny, white surfaces hide the color of the inside of the sculpture except from certain vantage points, and the reflective white surface is a blank slate onto which the viewer can project their own ideas and reflection. 

Muted color palettes can also be expressive in their own right, conveying part of the quiet narrative of artists such as Kathy Venter, whose figural ceramic sculptures are accented with highly textured white, and Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace’s mixed media sculptures.

Located one block north of the Seattle Art Museum, the Traver Gallery is one of the country’s premier exhibition spaces for contemporary studio glass, painting, sculpture, and installation art. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday 10 – 6, Saturday 10 – 5, and Sunday 12 – 5. For more information, please call (206) 587-6501 or visit our website at

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