BÖTS | An Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by Steve Jensen

June 19, 2016 (All day) - October 23, 2016 (All day)
Foss Waterway Seaport
705 Dock Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

BOTS by Steve Jensen

Viking Swan by Steve Jensen. 16" x 24" x 7.5". Cast bronze

Foss Waterway Seaport is pleased to present BÖTS, an exhibition of paintings and sculpture by Steve Jensen (www.stevejensenstudios.com). The theme of the sea voyage lies at the heart of Nordic mythology, and it illuminates this show by Jensen, a contemporary artist who comes from three generations of Norwegian boatbuilders. He transports the rich symbolism of his heritage into the 21st century with bold woodcarvings and muted color-field paintings that bespeak death, rebirth, and the mysterious "voyage into the other side or the journey into the unknown." 

BOTS by Steve Jensen

Chained Canoe by Steve Jensen. 42" x 11.5" x 9". Recycled glass, boat resin, and salvaged steel

A centerpiece of this show is a series of "funeral boats". The Voyager series arose from the stunning loss of four loved ones in eight years - Jensen's best friend, Sylvain; his parents; and his companion of 20 years, John. Sylvain made a drawing and requested that Jensen hew a carved boat of it for his ashes; from this intimate tribute the first vessel, and a way of coping with grief and loss emerged. The artist then continued with an exploration of the spiritual voyage as a universal theme, carving and welding boats inlaid with maritime material such as rusted anchor and chain found on beach walks, and cultural mementos collected during his world travels. 

In Jensen's paintings, boats also plumb physical and psychological depths: unmanned vessels are glimpsed through sea mist, or hover dreamlike above the ocean's calm, moon-lit surface. Like the funeral boats, the boat canvases have found a unique trajectory in the world: In 2013, Seattle high-tech tycoon Richard Garriott selected two of them as part of a 12-piece art collection that was launched on a spaceship into outer space, and on return auctioned off to raise money for science education.

Jensen grew up on a houseboat in Ballard; his friends call him, Sven. His Scandinavian heritage shines throughout this show with a nod to the memory of boat builders, fishermen, dock workers and craftsmen who came before him.