“Sight Lines” by Seattle artist Henry Jackson-Spieker in the Russell Day Gallery at Everett Community College on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

“Sight Lines” by Seattle artist Henry Jackson-Spieker in the Russell Day Gallery at Everett Community College on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

New EvCC gallery show explores tension and balance in art

Seattle artist Henry Jackson-Spieker invites you to go up to his installation art for a closer look.

Some of the newest works of Seattle-based sculptor and installation artist Henry Jackson-Spieker are now on display at Everett Community College.

The show, “Material Tension,” is a combination of Jackson-Spieker’s installation work and smaller independent sculptures, four of which were created specifically for the EvCC gallery show.

“Sight Lines,” an installation piece, dominates the room with its size and presence, taking the entire back section of the gallery.

The materials used in it include wood, blown mirrored glass and convex mirrors that reflect back at the viewer and the space around them. It includes thousands of feet of neon-colored paracord, also called parachute cord.

The piece is designed to disrupt the traditional gallery space, inviting viewers to engage with it and requiring them to move around it, said Miles Labitzke, director of the college’s Russell Day Gallery. “The whole piece is about tension, balance and symmetry,” he said.

The mirror images create “an altered, warped look to the gallery,” Jackson-Spieker said.

The goal of the piece is to bring to the surface the rules, or barriers, people feel when in galleries and museums, and then to break down some of those barriers, he said.

For example, he invites viewers to look underneath the installation and examine its nooks. While viewers may wonder if that’s allowed, he said wants them to do so and “go up close to the art.”

“The fact that you’re second-guessing yourself — ‘Is that allowed?’ Yeah, it’s definitely allowed. I want you to experience this space,” he said.

The gallery’s lighting and shadows add another element to the piece, creating positive and negative space within the room, he said.

It’s only the second time the installation piece has been displayed. It was first shown earlier this year at METHOD Gallery in Seattle.

The show also includes other smaller sculptures. The cage-like structures with bronze and glass also explore the theme of tension. Bronze and glass expand and contract at far different rates. It’s always fun to experiment with, even if that sometimes means the glass breaks, he said. “You have to get over it and go for it again.”

Jackson-Spieker, 29, is an instructor in bronze casting and glassblowing at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. He began blowing glass and working with metal at the art center when he was 13.

One of his pieces was included in Seattle Center Sculpture Walk Project in 2017 and currently can be seen at the Bellevue Art Museum.

The opening exhibit of the new school year at the gallery also marks a transition in its management.

Labitzke, 30, took over as the gallery’s director from Gregory Kammer, who served as director for 11 years before retiring in June. He has worked at the college for six years, managing its art studios and teaching printmaking classes.

“I really want the art on campus to reflect the diversity of our campus population — students and staff,” Labitzke said.

One of his goals is to expand the gallery’s hours, which now closes at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 3 p.m. on Friday. “I’ve talked to people who can’t get here with their work schedules,” he said.

The gallery is mostly staffed with work-study students. “We’re trying to expand the number of students we have and hopefully keep the gallery open later,” he said.

Labitzke said he hopes that change can be made by next quarter, if not earlier.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

“Henry Jackson-Spieker: Material Tension,” is showing through Oct. 31 in the Russell Day Gallery at Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St., Everett. The gallery, in the Parks Student Union Building, Room 242, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The artist’s reception is from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 26. More at www.everettcc.edu/gallery.

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