Review: ‘Out of Sight’ offers a good look at Pacific Northwest art scene

Annual show with DIY vibe showcases variety of local contemporary artists.

The Seattle Art Fair has come and gone. But “Out of Sight” — the annual exhibition that shines a spotlight on Pacific Northwest art — is open for our viewing pleasure through Aug. 27. It’s a must-see event.

Founded three years ago as a response to the internationally minded Seattle Art Fair, “Out of Sight” is rooted in a rebellious DIY attitude. With artist and exhibition producer Greg Lundgren at the helm and a rotating cast of excellent curators, the show brings energy and edge to rambling old spaces (the first two years took over the top floor of King Street Station; this year it occupies the old Schoenfeld Furniture building in Pioneer Square).

Curated by Lundgren, Benedict Heywood, S. Surface and Justen Siyuan Waterhouse, this year’s exhibition is big, rambling and inspiring. You’ll find work by more than 100 artists across three floors, staged in wide-open spaces and tucked away in nooks and crannies. There’s art in stairways, in lofts and in bathrooms. The brick-lined basement is a treasure trove. Allow yourself plenty of time.

Exhibition review

‘Out of Sight’

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 27, 115 S. Jackson St., Seattle (

The smart, engaging groupings hint at themes and visual connections, but there are no explanatory wall texts. You’re left on your own to experience the work and to glean larger ideas about what’s going on with contemporary art in the Pacific Northwest.

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It won’t surprise anyone that many Pacific Northwest artists are socially engaged, a practice that is apparent as soon as you walk through the front door. A bold, welcoming mural by Tlingit artist Nahaan is pointedly traditional, with its symbolic formline design, but it also points to a contemporary context with an acidic color palette and politically suggestive title, “Love Water, Not Oil.”

Also woven throughout the show is an abundance of intimate, quirky humor, often laced with identity politics or self-exploration. An example is a pillow-filled loft by Amanda Manitach, working under the name DAGNY. The pillows are printed with touchingly crude and candid writing, mostly by Manitach, with some by the tragic, romanticized 19th-century Norwegian writer Dagny Juel.

For a regional show in Seattle, you might expect a lot of…

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