Philip Govedare

"For the river, there is late November only, and the color of a slow winter," Richard Hugo once wrote about the river that haunted him—Seattle's Duwamish. Philip Govedare has a similar obsession with this grimy waterway snaking through an industrial wasteland. Granted, it's not the petrochemical stew it was when Hugo fished for porgies there as a boy. But the human imprint today is still indelible, and Govedare's paintings sketch the cranes and smokestacks looming above its waters. The title of the show is instructive: "Paintings of the Duwamish: Outside Time and Place." There's a timelessness in Govedare's views—as if the paintings were thick layers of impressions stretching back to the days when the estuary was healthy with reeds and herons. In many of these paintings, the skies dominate the canvas, while below, the river and factories are reduced to a crimson stain of rust. Govedare's colors are extraordinary—he knows that a gray day in Seattle isn't a uniform mass of color, but a subtle play of tints and shades. Other works in this series explode with a near-abstract outpouring of red and ochre, a landscape pulsing with life and somehow staying vibrant despite the drumbeat of human economy. In "Duwamish Series: Winter" (pictured above) Govedare's river is a chilly haze, with a blood-red shoreline that Hugo would have recognized instantly as a familiar landscape of both grief and quiet solace. Francine Seders Gallery, 6701 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-782-0355. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun.

 
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