November galleries: Exploring home and bloodlines

Printmakers, photographers, and artists who push printmaking and photography into startling new territories grace local art galleries this month. ,

Printmakers, photographers, and artists who push printmaking and photography into startling new territories grace local art galleries this month.

“La Manière Noire: International Mezzotint Exhibition”

Dozens of contemporary artists from around the globe make striking use of a centuries-old medium in this group exhibit at Kirkland Arts Center, assembled by Redmond artist-curator E. Valentine DeWald, II.

“La Manière Noire” (“The Black Way” in French) tends toward the shadowy. As DeWald explains in his introductory comments, mezzotint is “a tonal engraving process” once used to reproduce famous paintings, especially portraits, from the 17th century to the 19th century (when the invention of photography rendered it obsolete). With its potential for fine shading, fluidity of line and exacting detail, the mezzotint rivals the most intricate pencil, ink or charcoal drawing.

DeWald himself is an expert practitioner, and his pieces are a highlight of the show. In “Aurora,” the flyaway hairs of a genderless face double as streaks of the aurora borealis. In “Pearl,” an elderly woman’s face and the wing-patterns of the moths flying around her have an unsettling hyperreality.

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Jeremy Plunkett’s fastidious renderings of empty plastic shopping bags drifting in dark voids do something similar. Jayne Reid Jackson’s mysterious still lifes, “Fallen Star” and “The Unkindest Cut,” transform ordinary glassware into disorienting fugue-like studies of shadow-play and light-distortion.

Dreamy, macabre, obsessive and astute, “La Manière Noire” has something for every taste.

11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 25. Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market St., Kirkland; free (425-822-7161 or www.kirklandartscenter.org).

“Notions of Home”

Just as varied is Photographic Center Northwest’s group exhibition exploring the forms that “home” can take. For some, home is a physical place. For others, it’s summed up in a person. For the lucky, home is where they’re most at ease. For the displaced and dispossessed, home is inaccessible miles away.

The comforts of home don’t have to be luxurious. Thomas Holton’s “Bath Time” (from his series “The Lams of…

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