Life & Style: Biennial Brilliance

BAM turns its attention to metal.
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Rik Allen, a Rhode Island native, moved to Washington in 1995 to work at Pilchuck Glass School and become a member of the William Morris sculpture team.

Allen still works in glass, but not exclusively. His recent sculptures incorporate steel and glass and mesh and other media in fantastical expressions of scientific apparatus. He has even made a glass-and-steel version of the starship Enterprise. Allen’s 8-foot-long Salish Sojourner, an improbably charming submarine on legs that suggests a meeting of minds between Elon Musk and Jules Verne by way of Rube Goldberg, commands pride of place in Bellevue Arts Museum’s BAM Biennial 2016: Metalmorphosis

Susan Madacsi’s Pyrocumulus (detail), 2016. Forged and fabricated steel, aerosol enamel paints, wax; 48 x 98 x 1.5 inches.

For this edition of its Biennial, BAM received a record 330 applications from artists in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and British Columbia. Allen is one of 49 who made the cut in a selection process administered by four jurors. Simultaneously futuristic and antiquated in a steampunk way, Salish Sojourner invites up-close inspection, creating a sort of real-time metaphor for Allen’s exploration of self-examination and appreciation of the world around us.

Metalmorphosis is the fourth exhibition in the BAM Biennial series, which began in 2010 with Clay Throwdown and progressed through High Fiber Diet in 2012 and Knock on Wood in 2014. Jurors this year were Lloyd E. Herman of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, Suzanne Ramljak of Metalsmith magazine and the American Federation of Arts, Cindi Strauss of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and Jennifer Navva Milliken from the Bellevue Arts Museum.

BAM BIENNIAL 2016: METALMORPHOSIS
Through February 5, 2017. Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue; 425.519.0770; bellevuearts.org.

 

Bright Idea: Mechanics Making House Calls

Bright Idea: Mechanics Making House Calls

Wrench wants to take the hassle out of car repair.
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Need a quick oil change? Maybe a complete tune-up? A year-old startup called Wrench dispatches a certified mechanic to your home or workplace and eliminates the hassle and cost of having to drop off your car at the car dealer or repair shop.
 
“We’re 30 percent cheaper than a dealership and on par with an independent shop,” says Wrench cofounder and CEO Ed Petersen. “But we’re more convenient.”
 
Petersen adds that the pitch to consumers is simple: “Our goal is to make owning your car completely hassle free.”
 
To request service, customers can visit Wrench’s website — getwrench.com — or they can use a smartphone app. Its most popular service is an oil change, which starts at $68. Wrench also offers memberships, which include quarterly visits for oil changes, tire rotations, safety inspections and fluid top-offs; memberships cost $14.95 a month for cars and $19.95 for trucks.
 
 
Last June, the Madrona Venture Group contributed half of a $1.2 million seed round. Managing Director Len Jordan says the big market potential, clear pain point and compelling solution sold Madrona on Wrench’s concept.
 
“We like the market opportunity,” Jordan says. “There are more than 120 million cars on the road that are more than three years old.”
 
So far, Wrench has serviced more than a thousand vehicles. Jordan says the startup is still in its infancy, so the focus is less on making a profit and more on establishing a presence. Demand, however, is apparent. Wrench expanded to car-happy Phoenix in November and is studiously eyeing other markets.
 
Wrench has a contract to service vehicles for Lyft, the ride-hiring service. And it hopes to expand its services to office and industrial parks; it already has deals with Bellefield Office Park in Bellevue and North Creek Business Park in Bothell.