It was not long ago that the Dome District was in the midst of what amounted to a mini renaissance of culture. The Winged Lion Studio was in the area along Puyallup Avenue. There were the BareFoot Dance Studio, Gallery 301 and the little gallery simply called Mineral. The latter was the brainchild of Lisa Kinoshita, award winning installation artist and jewelry designer.
Over a year ago, Kinoshita closed the doors of Mineral in order to pursue other projects. Now, however, Kinoshita is back in business with a new space called Moss+Mineral, located in the Theater District (305 S. 9th, across from the Rialto Theater). The small, well-lit space is more like a living room than an art gallery. “The emphasis is on design more than art this time,” said Kinoshita. “It’s evolving as I go along.”
Kinoshita has created an interior with a midcentury modern vibe using furnishings and objects found at estate sales: ceramic vases, interesting lamps, funky end tables, streamlined chairs. There is a rather elaborate little lamp made of popsicle sticks – a masterpiece of that peculiar craft-hobby that was popular in the 1960s and 70s.
Alongside all of this there are works of art by a handful of local artists. The works are arranged on the walls and set amidst the furnishings in much the way that they’d be encountered in an art collector’s home. “Showing art this way makes it more accessible,” noted Kinoshita.
Examples of Kinoshita’s jewelry can be found in a glass-topped case along one wall. Her neo-barbarian sheik necklaces are made with polished pebbles and shards of crystal that are radiant with an attractive presence that cannot fail to draw the eye. The space is also enlivened by Kinoshita’s botanical art: terrariums and arrangements of plants that give a verdant accent to the overall scheme. Kinoshita noted that she had never done much work with plants but found that she enjoyed doing so during the completion of “Sempervivum,” her environmental installation done on the grounds of Metro Park’s STAR Center.
Amongst the treasures in Moss+Mineral are several of Jennifer Adams’ long-legged, paper horses. Formerly on display in a Woolworth Windows installation, the horses are made of paper stained with tea. Adams is a former nominee for the Foundation of Art Award. She often works with paper that has an aged, rustic, antique feel to it.
Another Moss+Mineral artist whose work has previously appeared in the Woolworth Windows is photographer Janette Ryan. Several of her moody-broody waterfront scenes hang on the gallery walls.
Kristin Giordano’s photographs have a haunting vibe a little darker than that of Ryan. In the current display are two enlarged shots of an upturned boat that she encountered on a Washington beach. The boat, surrounded by a thick nimbus of barnacles, is part of the flotsam from the Japanese tsunami washing up on our shores.
One of Malcolm McLaren’s quirky, elongated bronze figures is present in the mix. There is also at least one example of his gestural watercolors of a male figure.
Up on one wall is a large, enigmatic sculpture by jewelry designer Regina Chang. Called “Staghorn Fern,” it consists of a contorted piece of driftwood to which the artist has added a crazed maze of wires that form three-dimensional scribbles around it. A fabric bundle is tied to the head of the driftwood. The thing casts dynamic, zigzag shadows on the wall.
Moss+Mineral is part of a small cluster of shops and galleries that feel distinct from the establishments of nearby Antique Row. Kinoshita noted that “Feather and Oar,” an outdoorsy yet urban menswear shop, is right around the corner. Another men’s vintage clothing store is soon to open in the area. We may be witnessing the genesis of Tacoma’s own hipster district.
For further information on Moss+Mineral, visit http://www.mossandmineral.com.