Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Prowess of Weeds

Jessica Balsam is overwhelmed by the prowess of weeds. She was once driven to tears when surveying the bindweed aggressively twining its way around her yard. Her pulse quickens when the scotch broom blooms along the interstate. She invents elaborate schemes to stop its spread, usually involving trenches, fire, and sharp apparatuses that attach to her car.

However powerful they appear to be, though, weeds are nothing more than introduced species that depend on us – and our habit of disturbing soil – for survival. Michael Pollan sums it up in this early essay, “Weeds are not the Other. Weeds are us.”

It is this fascination that prompted Jessica to create a series of works that commemorate weeds that haunt Tacoma. The comics on her Weed Tins tell snippets of how the weeds came to inhabit our disturbed plots and forgotten corners. Luther Burbank introduced the Himalayan Blackberry as a hardier alternative to its native cousin. Lady Bird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Act of 1965 ushered in an era of non-native plantings, probably including scotch broom along I-5. Dandelion, as we all know, was brought to the New World as food. It was a favorite of Jessica's grandfather, who ate it in salad while everyone else had iceberg lettuce.

Jessica Balsam, Weeds of Tacoma Tin #3: Bindweed, tin, pen and ink, 4½ (height) x 3¼ (diameter) inches, 2009.

Jessica Balsam is a part of the Telephone Room Gallery's Hello! show, on view from February 18 to April 30, 2009. Viewable by appointment—please email us. Don't be shy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More Congratulations...

Ellen Ito will be one of the artists included in the Imperfect Articles exhibition at GOFFO of the NEXT 2009 art fair in Chicago from May 1 - 4, 2009. GOFFO focuses on multiples and editions.

Imperfect Articles merges a clothing brand and site-less gallery, taking an experimental approach to curatorial practice with limited-edition, hand-dyed and hand screen-printed t-shirts.

More info at:

Marc Dombrosky ( is currently included in the Finds Refined show at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington.

Finds Refined
March 14 - June 14, 2009
"Finds Refined is a group show featuring artists who use found matter in their work as intrinsic elements, whether for aesthetic qualities or to incorporate the history or past life of the material as part of the conception of the work..." and see more at

We are happy to say that both of these artists are currently a part of the Telephone Room's Hello! show (February 18 - April 30, 2009).
Viewable by appointment at

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Safe to Swallow

Pei Pei Sung remembers candy from her grandparents.

Pei Pei Sung, Safe to Swallow, acrylic on paper, 10 x 3½ inches, 2009.

Grandma and Grandpa used to ship us care packages from Taiwan to Wisconsin. Tucked in quilted blankets were a special treat—White Rabbit Candy.

Los Angeles Times
U.S., state issue warnings on Chinese candy White Rabbit

Officials urge consumers to discard the candy after the chemical melamine is detected in some pieces.

September 27, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration and state health authorities warned consumers Friday not to eat any flavors of White Rabbit candy imported from China because they may be contaminated with the chemical melamine.

The California Department of Public Health specifically identified White Rabbit candies imported and distributed by Queensway Foods Co. of Burlingame, Calif. Queensway is voluntarily recalling the chewy sweets after state testing detected melamine in some pieces.

Melamine is the compound associated with contaminated infant formula in China and last year¹s large recall of pet food.

The warning on the candies came as the FDA recommended that consumers avoid Mr. Brown instant coffee and milk tea products being recalled by Taiwan's Car Food Industrial Co.

The FDA said it was not aware of any illnesses in the U.S. linked to either the candy or the coffee and tea products. California officials urged consumers in possession of White Rabbit candy to discard it immediately.

The White Rabbit candies distributed by Queensway come in various flavors, including vanilla, red bean, coffee, corn, lychee, coconut, chocolate, mango and strawberry cream. All varieties have a picture of a white rabbit with a black background on the top of the bag.

Consumers with questions about the recalled product can contact Queensway at (650) 697-6633.

all about White Rabbit Candy:

where to buy White Rabbit Candy:

Pei Pei Sung is a part of the Telephone Room Gallery's Hello! show, on view from February 18 to April 30, 2009. Viewable by appointment—please email us. Don't be shy.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Two For the Show

Jeremy Mangan is a painter and ice sculptor who lives in Fife.

Jeremy Mangan, Two For the Show, acrylic and graphite on non-buckling board, 9½ x 12 inches, 2008.

Two For the Show brings a new element into an ongoing series of drawings and paintings. For some time I’ve been creating and exploring a world of oversized and overbuilt house, barn, and shed structures. Building practices of the early American West are certainly a primary source for this imagery. There’s a haunting but attractive quality to old dilapidated wooden buildings. There’s also a particular logic—they were built to serve a specific and necessary function, with little or no attention paid to aesthetics. They were 'just good enough.' But they’re beautiful in spite of this, and because of it. I’ve taken this logic and expanded it to the point where it becomes, hopefully, a compelling visual experience and a useful metaphor. In that order.

Two For the Show adds a mural depicting two dead gunfighters to the side of one of these buildings. For me it’s something like an elegy, a monument, to a particular type of legend, at once heroic and villainous. Photos of corpses displayed as trophies are fascinating and horrible. Like the weathered barns, this is rich imagery.

It’s also fairly dark imagery, which is something unusual for me. In any case, I do see myself continuing to engage it and Two For the Show directly foreshadows my plans for the Telephone Room in June."
—Jeremy Mangan.

Jeremy Mangan is a part of the Telephone Room Gallery's Hello! show, on view from February 18 to April 30, 2009. Viewable by appointment—please email us. Don't be shy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Congratulations to...

Matt Johnson – for receiving one of seventeen 2009-2010 Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) grants.

Started in 1999, the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) is a biennial program to support individual artists who reside in Tacoma in their creation of new artwork.
...details at

Jeremy Mangan – who currently has a show at The Helm gallery in Tacoma and an upcoming solo show at the Telephone Room in June.

March 19 - April 9, 2009 at The Helm
" current work is a series of drawings and paintings of barn or shed-like structures elevated and supported by stilts. I hope these images allude to the strength, usefulness, and beauty, but also the hubris, precariousness, and ridiculousness, of human ambition."
...more at

Nicholas Nyland – who currently has a show at the brand new OHGE Ltd. gallery in Seattle.

Nowhere, Anywhere, Everywhere
New work by Nicholas Nyland

March 21 - May 9, 2009
"Nowhere, Anywhere, Everywhere includes works in a range of media (painting, works on paper, paper mache and ceramics) that are a world apart." and see more at

Elise Richman – who currently has a show with four other artists at SOIL in Seattle.

Forces and Formations
Kevin Bernstein, Jonathan Bucci, Claire Johnson, Chauney Peck, Elise Richman
April 1 - May 2, 2009
"Natural forces and formations provide a jumping off point, a reference that inspires each artist’s highly personal visual logic and evocative manipulation of materials." and see more at

Gala Bent – who currently has a show at Gallery4Culture in Seattle for the month of April.

April 2 – May 1, 2009
"In a dozen or so works on paper, Bent has produced an enchanting primer on the role of imagination in our understanding of reality."
...more at

Shannon Eakins and Marc Dombrosky – who have an upcoming show at Fulcrum Gallery in Tacoma.

Phantasm Chasm
April 23 – May 31, 2009
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 23rd 6-10 pm
Fulcrum Social/Artist Talk: Sunday, May 10th 6 pm
"Phantasm Chasm uneasily unites some of the failed opportunities, tragic events, and myths in Tacoma’s past."
...more at

All of these artists were nice enough to be a part of the Telephone Room's Hello! show (February 18 - April 30, 2009).
Viewable by appointment at