Washington picks from Jas Keimig

Cliff Notes

Each week, our regional Cliff Notes columnists Mariah Green, Vanessa Perez Winder, Jas Keimig, and Sam Wrigglesworth pick the most exciting events and exhibitions on the West Coast.

Full Light and Perfect Shadow: The Photography of Chao-Chen Yang at Cascadia Art Museum 
Cascadia Art Museum, Edmonds, Washington
November 8, 2023 – February 11, 2024

There’s something so cinematic about Chao-Chen Yang’s photography. Whether it’s a photo of a plane high above puffy clouds with a mountain just peeking through in the background or an engrossing portrait of a dramatically lit young man receiving a telephone call, Yang’s pictures seemed plucked directly from a juicy, thrilling film. 

Born in Hangzhou, China, in 1909 and trained as a painter, Yang’s life and career spanned the globe. He served as the art director for the Government Institute of Nanking before moving to Chicago in 1933, where he worked as the chancellor of the Chinese Consulate while attending the Art Institute of Chicago. When he was transferred to the consulate in Seattle in 1939, Yang had seriously taken up photography and became a prominent presence in our mossy city, joining the Seattle Photographic Society.

He was a pioneer of color photography in the Pacific Northwest as well as an influential instructor and received numerous accolades for his work. The Cascadia Art Museum has now mounted the first study of Yang’s work with Full Light and Perfect Shadow, an exhibition that explores the entirety of the photographer’s output. 

Reflection: We’re all photographers thanks to our smartphones — how do you use this as a tool to document and reflect on your own life?

Bad Influence: Alex Graham and Simon Hanselmann
Art Attack at Mini Mart City Park, Seattle, Washington⁠
Until December 2, 2023

Comic artists Alex Graham and Simon Hanselmann are a couple of bad influences. Ok, maybe not really, however, they’re work often explores the gritty, psychedelic underbelly of social interactions, dreams, relationships, and simply being. 

In their joint show Bad Influences at Mini Mart City Park in Georgetown, the internationally renowned cartoonists have compiled original paintings and plushies that all dive into weird influences at play in their own work. Graham’s paintings feature the stuff of lucid dreams — emotionless aliens, being on stage alone, winged odd-eyed creatures. She uses brilliant, vibrant colors to depict her scenes, which include hybrid-species humans, and has also made several alien-shaped soft sculptures that are hanging around the gallery. Hanselmann’s work in Bad Influences features his regular motley crew of Megg the witch, Mogg the cat (and Megg’s boyfriend), Owl the owl, and the chaotic Werewolf Jones. All of these characters are beautifully rendered in painting or comic form smoking weed in their disastrous living room, gazing at the horizon whilst on a cliff, and eating fruit while walking naked through the woods. It’s as alluring and strange as a bad influence should be. 

Reflection: What are your bad influences and how have they shaped you?


We’re here because of you.

By becoming a monthly subscriber or making a one time gift of your choosing, you’re directly helping the Variable West team build a stronger, more resilient and diverse West Coast art world. Your support makes it all possible!

Make a one time gift in any amount