Alan Lau in his studio. • Photo by Dean Wong
Alan Lau in his studio. • Photo by Dean Wong

Opening First Thursday, March 3, ArtXchange Gallery welcomes esteemed artist Alan Lau to the gallery roster with his latest solo exhibition, Beauty in the Decay. Supported in part by a $25,000 grant from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Alan Lau’s new series of paintings reveal a mature artist, secure in the development of his visual style, exploring the emotion and experience of living in flux. Created in both Seattle and Japan, these paintings, ranging from 6×4 inches to 5×5 feet, are drawn from Lau’s recent experiences with endings and beginnings, and the beauty that can be found in times of transition.

Alan Lau’s visual style is inspired by traditional sumi-e brush painting techniques (which he studied during the 1970s at the Nanga School in Kyoto, Japan with mentor Nirakushi Toriumi), and fused with contemporary style and free in his own interpretations. As Lau writes in his artist statement: “The spirit of the tradition looms behind me not as a role model but as a continuing renewable source of encouragement to push ahead.” Primarily working on delicate Japanese rice paper, Lau layers sumi ink, watercolor, pastel, and other media to create abstract works with great depth yet surprising lightness. His work is also currently on display at the Tacoma Art Museum, in an exhibition featuring their new acquisitions.

Alan Lau has an extensive career that defies quick summary. He is a painter, poet, journalist, and creative organizer who has been a key figure in Seattle’s Asian-American cultural scene for decades. His visual artwork was exhibited since the 1970s at the now retired Francine Seders Gallery, as well as a long list of regional and international museums and collections. In 2014, he was awarded a Mayor’s Arts Award by the City of Seattle.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the gallery has planned a variety of unique events to give attendees the opportunity to experience Lau’s work in diverse and multi-faceted ways.

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Alan Lau Exhibition Event Schedule

Wednesday, March 2, 6-8pm
Press Preview and Private Exhibition Walkthrough.

First Thursday, March 3, 5-8pm
Public Opening and artist reception (Free and open to the public).

Friday, March 18, 6-8pm
Interactive multi-disciplinary performance with special guests Haruko Crow Nishimura, Steve Peters, and Stan Shikuma responding to the work of painter Alan Lau. These three performers will present new work inspired by a previously chosen work by Alan Lau:

• Haruko Crow Nishimura is a dancer/choreographer, musician, and co-director of Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE). She has lead the creation of large scale theatrical works as well as having performed as lead vocalist for DAE’s touring experimental punk orchestra.

• Steve Peters makes music and sound for many contexts and occasions using environmental recordings, found/natural objects, electronics, acoustic instruments, and voices.

• Stan Shikuma is a taiko performer, composer and percussionist from Seattle, WA.

(Free and open to the public).
For more information on this event, visit

First Thursday, April 7, 5-8pm
Second public reception for Beauty in the Decay (Free and open to the public).

Friday, April 22, 6-8pm
Sound and poetry event featuring a collaboration between Susie Kozawa and Alan Lau.

• Susie Kozawa, a sound artist, composer and performer, works mostly with sound collages and site-specific installations, in which the gathering of sounds is a primary activity. She explores different acoustic spaces using musical instruments she makes out of found objects, kelp, modified toys, and human voice.

(Free and open to the public).
For more information on this event, visit

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