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Bellevue Arts Museum presents never-before-seen works in Rick Araluce's first solo museum exhibition
Rick Araluce, The Longest Hours, 2011. Wood, plastic, paper, mixed media, electronic components, audio components 27 1/4 x 15 x 67 1/2 in. (H x W x L) Courtesy of the artist and Traver Gallery, Seattle.

BELLEVUE, WA.- Bellevue Arts Museum is presenting the first solo museum exhibition of Seattle‐based artist Rick Araluce, on view through January 31, 2014. Araluce, who builds sets for the Seattle Opera by day, has become well known in the Northwest for his engrossing, meticulously‐constructed miniature and alternately‐scaled environments that invite viewers to unravel for themselves the stories they tell.

Five new works created specifically for BAM accompany his seminal, critically acclaimed piece, The Longest Hours, which was made for the Museum of Arts and Design's 2011 exhibition, Otherworldly, are on view in the Northwest for the first time.

New works include lighting, sound, and automation components he is beginning to explore in his work in recent years. Each of these utterly absorbing environments presents a moment filled with the energy of something that has happened or the anticipation of something that is to come. The works invite viewers into a voyeuristic immersion in which they must peer into a grating or through a keyhole to discover the artist’s full intent.

For over 20 years Araluce has being creating and exhibiting his fascinating miniature environments. These elaborate trompe l'oeil scenes reveal solitary moments in time and, though void of human figures, they are filled with feelings of loss, regret, anxiety, and mystery. He explains that he, “often employ[s] objects as metaphor. The door, the window, the light bulb, the electrical cord, the clock, the empty cup, the telephone—they all are pregnant with symbolism, associations, and meaning. For example, the light bulb can indicate a presence, a soul, as well as be a simple prop.” Araluce's narratives are ambiguous and often subtly disturbing. The artist plays with scale and perspective to throw us off balance, creating a dual sense of wonder and uneasiness that entices us as viewers to question what we are witnessing.

Born in Encino, California in 1960, Rick Araluce has been drawing, painting, and making things since before he can remember. Drawn to a number of artistic pursuits, Araluce dabbled professionally in various mediums before he began to seriously dedicate his work to miniatures in the early 1990s. Represented by various galleries around the country, including Traver Gallery in Seattle, Araluce has been able to create and exhibit his often haunting miniatures. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs City Artist Projects Award in 2006, a Pollock/Krasner Foundation support grant in 2008, and in 2009, an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Award. Araluce’s personal artistic endeavors have been complimented by his day job since 1997 as the Lead Scenic Artist with the Seattle Opera, for which he has also garnered critical acclaim.

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