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Reimagining Iconic Hues: M. Rosetta Hunter Gallery’s Spring Show “Pink, Unpacked”

On Thursday, March 14, Seattle Central’s art gallery hosted the opening reception for “Pink, Unpacked.” With over 60 pieces by Seattle Print Arts, the show explores personal meanings attached to the color, “Love it or hate it, the color pink has multitudinous cultural and emotional associations, and armies of fans and detractors alike. On the other hand, pink is also just a range of wavelengths of light that never asked for any of this,” states the gallery’s description of the exhibit.

“What was in the sixteenth century simply the name of a flower, pink quickly came to refer to its color, and then proceeded to acquire reams of cultural baggage over the centuries: signifying anything from Victorian sentimentality, romance, and baby girls; to Barbie dolls, New Wave music, and Queer liberation,” continues the gallery’s description of the show. “Pink can conjure the constrictions of traditional femininity, yet some feminists embrace it as a symbol of ‘girl power.’ But as recently as the 1920’s pink was considered a masculine color.”

Guests & artists gather for Pink, Unpacked, opening reception
Sophia Bruscato | The Seattle Collegian Guests & artists gather for Pink, Unpacked, opening reception

Meghan Trainor, the M. Rosetta Hunter Gallery’s curator, shares that the show marks another collaboration celebrating the gallery’s enduring relationship with Seattle Print Arts. “ I’m thrilled to continue working with this vibrant community of printmakers, which includes Amanda Knowles, the Curator of the North Seattle College Art Gallery, Christina Reed, whose 2022 exhibition here at the M. Rosetta Hunter Galley, ‘Reckoning,’ exposed the roots of redlining in Seattle, and Kelda Mortensen and Kim Van Someren, both represented by Seattle’s J. Rinehart Gallery,” says Trainor.

Some pieces meditate on past experiences and transformation, such as “Old Self,” by Jens Malone: a subtle rose-colored, ghostly veil featuring embroidered words in cursive writing, making the piece profoundly subjective – like every individual’s perpetual ponderings. The veil hangs from the ceiling above a plinth, creating an open system that interacts with the moving of the air, which rotates and ever-so-delicately moves the tulle piece around. Likewise, our ponderings and life experiences are intricately affected by the world around us.

Sophia Bruscato | The Seattle Collegian Close-up of “Old Self,” by Jens Malone

Other works, such as “Emerald City Goes Pink!” by Jigsaw Linocut, simply celebrate the color pink within the landscape of a city we all recognize. It features a warm-pink version of the ferris wheel by the pier, a ferry, and the city’s skyline behind the Space Needle.

Sophia Bruscato | The Seattle Collegian “Emerald City Goes Pink,” by Jigsaw Linocut

Apart from paintings and textiles, the show also includes collages with found material and screen prints, such as the piece “Lament I,” by Christina Reed, which features fragments of recognizable Seattle staples such as a poster for a concert at Climate Pledge Arena, exploring the different areas of life where we might find pink – simply as a color, an entity, a pressage, a memory, or a mystery.

Sophia Bruscato | The Seattle Collegian “Lament I,” by Christina Reed

The exhibit also explores digital media artwork, such as the piece featured on the television monitor at the center of the gallery’s main wall. “Four Pinks in Four Acts,” by Jane Richlovsky, is a silent stop-motion animation made from screen prints and colored papers, filling the gallery with its warm pink hues—physical and metaphorically.

“‘Poly Rips,’ a reduction linocut, stencil, and collage piece by Patrick Connelly featuring British Punk Icon Poly Styrene, captures a passionate resistance to what the color pink can sometimes symbolize: the constraints of saccharine and silencing notions of femininity. In the 1977 song “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” by her band X-Ray Spex, Poly screams, “Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard/But I think ‘oh bondage, up yours!’” Her legacy has undeniably shaped decades of creative movements, from Afropunk to riot grrrl,” explains Trainor.

Sophia Bruscato | The Seattle Collegian Pieces featured in the exhibit, with “Poly Rips,” by Patrick Connely, in the center

 “Poly’s spirit resonates in the later music of Tina Bell, the subject of our previous exhibition in the gallery—another Black woman making her voice heard, loudly, unflinchingly, and on her own terms,” Trainor states.

A nod to Women’s History Month, “Pink, Unpacked,” nearly becomes cynical in conjuring the contractions of femininity, but ends up celebrating it instead. It intimately speaks to the ideal of becoming oneself. To me, it almost says “if it’s pink, it’s pink, and there’s no need to try and flee from what it is. We might as well own it, celebrate it, and fill up all the walls with its truth.”

Sophia Bruscato | The Seattle Collegian “Old Self” at Pink, Unpacked

The opening reception took place on “Pie Day,” 03/14, and included about a hundred people in foot traffic, pink snacks, and a homemade pink pie. “Our opening reception coincided with Capitol Hill Art Walk, offering another opportunity—much like last month’s Seattle Central Community Dinner—to share this gallery, a true gem of the college, with the surrounding neighborhood, as well as with staff and students,” concludes Trainor.

Sophia Bruscato | The Seattle Collegian Artist Jane Richlovsky poses with her homemade pink pie

“Pink, Unpacked” is open until May 1, from Monday through Thursday, 10-3 p.m. Admission is always free.

Author

Content Editor at Seattle Collegian

Sophia is an internationally published author with her book Primeira Pessoa, as well as a young classical singer. Born and raised in Brazil, music, writing, and Astronomy are her greatest passions. She believes the greatest role of a writer is to bring forth the truth, the honesty, and the humanity that echoes within each one of us. Journalism, while Art, is for her a portrait of the fraternity of the Earth. At the moment, she works for both The Seattle Collegian and the M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery, while completing her AA degree with a focus on Anthropology & English.

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