By Randi Somers
First Friday art gallery receptions and showings on July 6 have a wide variety of talents to showcase. From pottery to watercolors to woven art works and more, the offerings are guaranteed to please people wandering from gallery to gallery between 5 and 7 p.m.
Bunnell Street Arts Center features two artists: Deborah Schwartzkopf will display her porcelain, wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery, while Asia Freeman presents her waterscape paintings.
Freeman writes, “Alaska inspires these images. Painting has helped me appreciate our dramatic light and volatile weather. Rather than simply documenting the actual exterior landscape, my work examines vast, ethereal, invented landscapes. I am happy with a painting that hovers between pure abstraction and a kind of natural realism.”
Potter Schwartzkopf says, “I find it rewarding and challenging to make pots people will use. In my home while I was growing up, hand-made objects held special value. They were gestures of consideration and love.”
Homer Council on the Arts also has two artists exhibiting for July; Alice Shaw and Ruby Haigh. Shaw’s “Fauana” celebrates ten different species of Alaskan wildlife (and one pelican) in 18 original drawings.
“To me, animals represent the best of mother nature- in all her savage beauty,” says Shaw. “I think of myself as a subrealist, trying to look beneath the fur and feathers, but aspiring to be a surrealist someday.”
Ruby Haigh’s “Flower Pots and Other Sanities” features an assortment of pottery inspired by flowers, birds, boats, people and anything that moves.
Haigh says, “Pottery and drawing give me a calmness to the insanity. Expression through clay and drawing brings health and soundness.”
New pottery tools and techniques allow her to draw with the clay, and combine the worlds of pottery and drawing into fun and peaceful art.
Fireweed Gallery presents “Capturing the character of elusive subjects;Sketches from a pencil box” by MaryBee Kaufman.
“Quick and loose,impressionistic or graphic, sketching opens us up to experiment with style and materials,” she says. She uses line and watercolors to develop shape and value but it is the sounds of life that drive the character of the line. “Whether sketching to the frenetic pulse of Brazilian guitar music or to the cries of gulls along the beaches of Kachemak Bay, sounds create the cadence,” she says.
Anchorage artist Barbara Lavelle will be on hand for two receptions at the Art Shop Gallery this weekend. She’ll be greeting guests and displaying her wide variety of genres both at a First Friday reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and again Saturday from 1-6 p.m. She has unique fabric panels, Ne’Qwa ornaments, prints, books and calendars on display.
Ptarmigan Arts is featuring Anchorage artist Mark McDermott’s “Alaska Landscapes in Watercolor” through August 1.
Mark McDermott will present over 20 of his recent realistic landscapes from all over the state of Alaska. Rugged mountains and glaciers are among his favorite subjects: “Landscapes are my first love and rugged, sculpted mountains are my particular favorite. I am fascinated and intrigued by visualizing earth processes at work and how they create natural landforms and patterns.” Combined with the infinite variations of light and shadow, landscapes are a subject for a lifetime of work and study.
Picture Alaska is featuring Kevin Crowley’s Dancing Birds” through August 2. Although composed of varying styles, from light washes of sumi ink on delicate papers to bold woodcuts printed in thick inks, there is a central unifying theme which runs through Crowley’ s work in his latest upcoming show the gallery reports. And that theme is birds, all of them familiar to those who love Alaska and her wilderness. A variety of species are represented, from owls to shore birds each with an emphasis on the birds in their natural habitat with the appropriate foliage and surroundings. “Using Eastern methods and techniques to bring our northern birds to life in a way you have never seen before, Crowley’s work is a journey to be savored,” the gallery owner writes.
Crowley was born in Detroit in 1975 and first came to Alaska in 1999 to work as a teacher in a remote village on the Lower Yukon River. There he met and worked with the subsistence fisherman/pastel artist Jon Barbar who had a strong influence on his work. In the intervening years since then he has traveled and lived in Asia, painting, drawing and spending as much time in the mountains as possible.
“I make art not because I studied to but because I have to. I am driven to work in art everyday because I am in love with the materials, the heft of my sketchbook in my pocket, the sheen of silk as ink pools out, the rhythm of a sharp chisel along the grain of a woodblock.”
All of the galleries will hold First Friday receptions from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. July 6.
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