“Rescue and Revival of a Seattle Legend: Carletta Carrington Wilson Interprets James Washington Jr.” is an essay in a book that chronicles a residency at the home of this under-appreciated Seattle sculptor who died in the year 2000, but not until leaving behind a body of work at his home in a neighborhood he would not recognize 23 years after his death. Carletta Carrington Wilson is a poet whose “work, described as ‘decorative with a message’ has been exhibited in museums, galleries, and libraries in” Seattle and beyond. She talks about her new book, Poem of Stone & Bone: The Iconography of James W. Washington Jr. in Fourteen Stanzas and Thirty-One Days, the exhibit she created in the Washington house and his work and legacy in a world that may be beginning to recognize the depth of the gestures of people like James W. Washington Jr.
Thank you. Yes, to experience the geography of this sacred place. I feel fortunate to live just a few blocks away.
I want to read this book! I met James Washington in the early 1990s when I was an art installer for Artech. We were picking up a painting of his (yes he painted too) for an African American retrospective. Rather than just handing off the painting, he invited us in and had sit in his living room as regaled us with thoughts on art. I remember he wore a red plaid shirt buttoned at neck and wrists out of which two enormous, calloused hands protruded like sculptures themselves. He had undertaken a multinational tour, meeting with artists around the world to understand the “universality of art.” His conclusion surprised me. It was that every artists needs “a congenial space in which to work.” I expected something more grandiose, but he had made this conclusion that art and artist depended on a place. I’ve never forgotten that, and have ultimately come to see the “congenial space” for our work as the Earth itself.
I don’t connect with a lot of sculpture, but his stone birds and squirrels seem imbued with the very life of creation. I’m so glad he is getting, in memory, the attention he deserves. A great man and artists.
I really appreciate hearing Rob Lewis’s recollection above & look forward to checking out the house & Carringtons work. I have been impressed by Washington’s sculptures & didn’t know he painted as well
Thank you! What a gift to be invited into Carlettea Carrington Wilson’s world and learn how she inhabited Mr. Washington’s world for a time, and to hear that manifested in her poem. This line stays with me: “Every living creature a feast to flowers..” wow. Look forward to searching out and reading her book. How about a book celebration/poetry reading at Mr. Washington’s home?
They are having an open house there soon. Thank you for listening and for the kind comments Stacey!