The highlight of the gallery would have to be the three paintings by lesser-known artist Martin Johnson Heade. In comparison with the majestic landscapes of mountains, waterfalls and canyons, the rather unremarkable marshlands and haystacks seem out of place. Yet, thanks to a rather humorous and talented Heade, the swirling haystacks and strange storm clouds leave the viewer with an eerie sense of calm, much like the sensation one feels before a summer storm.
Nearby, Jeffry Mitchell’s portrait as Kurt is arguably the hidden gem of the exhibit. Self-Portrait as Kurt Cobain in the Style of Jay Steensma features a skull wearing a blond wig amongst a thickly painted sea of grey. (Steensma was a “mystic” artist famous for his paintings of grey, Northwestern landscapes).
Contemporary sculptor and print maker Kiki Smith has been photographing and exhibiting her work for three decades. Smith grew up in a family where “life wasn’t worth living if you didn’t make art.” As the daughter of minimalist sculptor Tony Smith, Kiki assisted her father with his large-scale sculptures by folding and gluing together geometric cardboard models.