The theme for this year's BAM Biennial is "High Fiber Diet," meaning

The theme for this year’s BAM Biennial is “High Fiber Diet,” meaning

The theme for this year’s BAM Biennial is “High Fiber Diet,” meaning all manner of yarn, fabrics, upholstery, embroidery, and sewing. And ammunition? My favorite piece here—among 44 by Northwest artists—wouldn’t look out of place in an armory. A wall display of bright-red shotgun shells, Howard Barlow’s Once in a Blue Moon is intended as a celebratory (now) and memorial (later) salute to his wife, fellow artist Lorraine Barlow. (Her sewn funeral shroud, called Final Embrace, rests just below.) The piece is more than a little morbid. Inside each shell—1,000 in all—are cut-up scraps of Lorraine’s wedding dress. But a select number are instead loaded with her post-mortem wishes (these number 21, as in a 21-gun salute); still others contain Howard’s future memories of his wife. The whole project is proleptic: envisioning the end long before its arrival, considering marriage from both a past and present perspective (it’s a contract that binds beyond the grave). Stand to the side and you’ll discern that not all the shells are identical; a pyramidal pattern emerges, revealing the text-packed ammo. The Ellensburg-based artists have often exhibited at Punch (which often has shows with a Western theme), and the whole funereal installation puts one in mind of the settlers—families who birthed and buried their kin on the same ground they farmed. First the shovel, then the salute. Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way N.E., 425-519-0770, $7–$10. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun. Ends Feb. 24.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing