Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Helm Gallery exhibit in Tacoma takes trip to colorful, cozy time // Ellen Ito

Hello Fellow Docents,

The Helm Gallery has Ellen Ito's work ...

(Ellen Ito works for Visitor Services at the TAM)

Here is the writeup in the Tacoma News Tribune ...

The Helm Gallery exhibit in Tacoma takes trip to colorful, cozy time

Published: January 30th, 2008 01:00 AM | Updated: January 30th, 2008 05:35 AM
There's an edifice hulking in The Helm Gallery. Bright, enthusiastic
and hilariously big for the space, it's a collaborative installation
by Seattle artist Ellen Ito and Tacoma artist Nicholas Nyland. "This
Is a Time Machine," accompanied by nostalgic '70s tribute "Affinity"
in the back gallery, is the latest in The Helm Gallery's series of
quirky, fascinating and often cool art by hip young locals, and a
visit will not only feed your art sense, but also it will literally
brighten your day.

Constructed of painted cardboard panels screwed onto an interior
plywood frame, this time machine is about as visually far from the
H.G. Wells original as you can get. Ito and Nyland, who both work
carefully with line and color in their own work, have created a
terrific splash on the randomly overlapping, poking-out panels:
stripes, broad swathes, vague patterns all in vivid aquas, limes and
bubble-gum pinks, complete with multicolor light bulbs over the top.

The structure's sides flow in and out, like a giant Technicolor
iceberg. It almost fills the Helm's not inconsiderable space, flirting
with the walls and laughing at the ceiling height like a ship in a
bottle. Inside, the atmosphere is cozy, with two ottomans rolled up
out of crocheted afghans and a giant bubble light. The whole thing
bursts with delight, like a wacky parade float or a kid's clubhouse –
like a joyful optimism from a time way back, the kid inside you
saying, "Hey! Remember how much fun it can be?"

The nostalgic comfort of the ottomans is echoed in the smaller back
gallery. Layered all over the wall is a collection of found afghans
crocheted in all those memorable '70s hues of avocado green and pinky
brown. They drape softly down, a nest of zig-zags and granny squares.
In an alcove nearby, a tiny piece of the bigger Time Machine rests
like a coda.

It's not the gray, sci-fi invention that took H.G. Wells' time
traveler into a scary future. But the allusion to that naive Victorian
deification of "progress" is there – not in any nasty, ironic way, but
like a memory you need to remind you of why you're living the life
you've chosen in the first place.

Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568

What: "This is a Time Machine," an installation by Ellen Ito and Nicholas Nyland

When: Noon-6 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays and by appointment, through Feb. 13

Where: The Helm Gallery, 760 Broadway, Tacoma

Admission: Free

Information: 253-627-8845,


Sanjeev Narang
email: ask {*at*} eConsultant dot com
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