Works show reflections of Tacoma, contradictory characters

Tacoma Contemporary - the art display also known as the Woolworth Windows - has a new exhibit that explores Tacoma and beyond.

Paul McKee's installation, titled "Destiny Reflected," is a collection of three panels. Each is a depiction of Tacoma as reflected in the windows of buildings. His three pieces are colorful and abstract representations of a dynamic and vibrant city. Each panel is a series of smaller pieces fit together to make a mosaic, creating the image of a building that is divided into rectangles of glass. The images are distorted, as reflections are, but the distortions are also exaggerated, giving the pieces a much more abstract and profound feel.

Patrick Grenier also celebrates the City of Destiny in his display, called "Overpass." Grenier has models of the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass on car chassis driving on overpasses. The display suggests the change and quick expansion of Tacoma's art world. The abrupt end of the overpasses might suggest something about the city's future.

Margot Myers' layered display evokes the flow of water. The backdrop is white with black painted swirls and curves resembling a rough ocean current. In front of the back wall are blue and green sheer silk banners with a similar pattern. The front glass serves as a third layer with the same curves as the backdrop and banners. Everything about Myers' work suggests fluid motion, from the curving lines throughout the display to the flowing banners and the rods that hold them in place.

Another display, by David Traylor, takes the viewer to another world. His mixed media ceramic sculptures are delightful and dark, and are inspired by the comic characters of Shakespeare and Commedia dell'Arte. Like the characters he represents, Traylor's pieces are complex and contradictory - the shapes are humorous, yet ambiguous. They can tell the truth in a joke. Traylor explained his work, saying the pieces "present narratives that are implied but not explicit."

Finally, Heather Joy and Matthew Olds present a display of what looks like a splintered railroad track lying in dirt. This is accompanied by an aerial photo of a town. There is also a television among the splintered wood that lends curiosity to the piece. The display suggests conflict, but it is unclear what is at odds.

This exhibit will be on display through Nov. 3. Tacoma Contemporary is located in the display windows of the old Woolworth building at 11th Street and Broadway in Downtown Tacoma. For more information, visit


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