DOUGLAS COUPLAND, who once fantasized in his anti-boomer novel Generation X about planets where the year was always 1974, would fully appreciate Velocity Art and Design—and not just because his bull's-eye-topped tables are going for $175 apiece there. The Vancouver author studied industrial design long before he wrote his first novel and recently launched a series of furniture. His 22-inch-high tables, which could double as archery targets, fit in well at this new gallery, which carries functional and fine art reminiscent of The Brady Bunch and A Clockwork Orange.
2206 Queen Anne N, Ste 201, 781-9494 www.velocityartanddesign.com
Opened February 1 by 32-year-old painter John Tusher, Velocity's aesthetics are rooted in an era when orange and hot pink went together perfectly. Far from being a musty secondhand store, however, the gallery, located in a brand-new building atop Queen Anne Hill, carries clean, streamlined works that filter the funk from the past but leave its tawdry excesses behind (no shag carpeting here).
On the popular resurgence of '70s design, Tusher comments, "The first time around, it really stunk. Now people are trying to figure out how to make it look good." Such revisionism is exemplified by Angela Adams' line of luxurious Ultrasuede throw pillows ($170 each). One model features wavy patterns in light blue, natural, and graphite; another is covered with large dots that look like cartoon eyes. The '70s never looked better: Playfully minimal, these pillows would fit right into a fashion spread or a modern lounge where the turntables play Arling & Cameron as you sink back with a cocktail. Adding to this dream decor are Endicott 5's colorful rolls of wrapping paper ($8.50), influenced by architectural fixtures along the New Jersey shore, and Jonathan Adler's strange "aorta" vases ($220-$380) with narrow, valve-like cylinders.
While Velocity's offerings aren't exactly subversive, they're by young, sophisticated designers whose quirky talents infiltrate a neighborhood besotted with new condos and multiple Starbucks. With Velocity joining the Fountainhead, on McGraw, does this signal the growth of an arts scene in Queen Anne? Tusher devotes half of his small space to rotating exhibitions. Showing through March 15 are mixed-media works on canvas by 25-year-old Seattle artist Maija Fiebig, who was inspired by antique wallpaper and fabrics. Applying paint and resin in repeated layers, Fiebig presents an appealing riot of patterns topped by glassy surfaces. Like busier versions of Susan Dory's wax paintings, Fiebig's pieces bring a pleasant chaos to the gallery's predominantly geometric lines.