Thick As Mud @ Henry Art Gallery

Squishy! Goopy! Lard! 🌧️

📸: Courtesy Henry Art Museum

On display until May 7th • Open Thursdays – Sundays

Just in time to celebrate the beginning of spring is Thick As Mud at the Henry Art Gallery. Curated by Nina Bozicnik, the exhibition pulls together eight contemporary international artists to explore that thick, goopy material through their artistic lenses. Mud, the exhibition notes, exists between water and earth, dissolving binaries by its very state of being. Which is to say it’s squishy as hell. Taking that idea, the artists in the show touch on themes of land, colonialism, capital, history, and memory.

Thick as Mud engages (almost) all your senses. Highlights include Ali Cherri’s gorgeous and immersive three-channel video, Of Men and Gods, which follows seasonal mud-brick workers in northern Sudan. And in the rotunda is Candice Lin’s Swamp Fat, which evokes the racial and social politics of Louisiana bayous in the 18th and 19th centuries. Several ceramic reptile vessels filled with perfumed animal lard make up the piece, and visitors are welcome to stick their fingers into them and apply the fat to their wrists. (The wall text says it smells like rot, but I thought it smelled like crayons.) In the middle galleries, Diedrick Brackens’ colorful cotton weavings of catfish and Rose B. Simpson’s figurative sculptures made of clay and metal both pull from materials and histories of their respective heritages. Thick as Mud gives you a lot to chew on

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An author pic of Jas Keimig. They have blue braids.

Jas Keimig

Jas Keimig is an arts and culture writer in Seattle. Their work has previously appeared in The Stranger, i-D, Netflix, and Feast Portland. They won a game show once and have a thing for stickers.