“We’re an unusual family, so we do unusual things like do art shows together,” says Erin Micciche whose original designer gowns along with her mother’s, brother’s and daughter’s works are all part of the art show now open at the Kenai Fine Art Center. “It’s been about five years since we did something like this and my mother was getting antsy to do something so she gets the credit for getting us all together,” added Erin. “There’s a fine line between craft and art where design and dresses come in, but I think I dance that line beautifully and in 4inch heels,” laughed Erin at the opening reception of the show last week. “I have some wedding dresses in the show because there’s not a lot of demand for ball gowns in Soldotna so I have a lot of wedding dresses in the show, some of which are for sale and some of my design boards which are suggestions of what could be created,” she said.
One of the highlights of the show is a self portrait by Erin’s mother Marlene Pearson, “The Greek word Kairos means life changing moment and I did the piece because I’d had several life changing moments at that time and I wanted to bring them all together in a self portrait,” said Pearson. Another unusual painting is of a pair of scissors with Pearson’s granddaughter Madi Micciche’s reflection, “Madi was holding the scissors and saw her reflection and thought it would make a neat picture and together we came up with the idea of making it into a painting and we had a wonderful time collaborating together doing it and it is unique,” she said.
Marlene’s son Mark Keene is also an artist and the Kenai Fine Arts Show features some of his unique media seascapes, “I layered wood panels with alternating layers of powdered graphite and gesso that is similar to a white paint which I would scratch back into and hammer with a rock or shake with a gravel mixture until I got the surface I liked to paint on, then I would silhouette a sideways view of a ship in black and it fell in the gap between representational work and pure abstraction. There’s not really a story here but I find the viewer brings their own story to the work,” said Keene.
And at the rear of the Kenai Fine Arts Center during the show you can discover what college professors do when they retire by viewing the works of Marilyn Johnson and her husband Ralph Van Dusseldorp. World travelers the couple has selected spectacular wildlife photos and hand sewn quilts to display, “I started out in art, but my third year in art school my mother pointed out that I needed to make a living some day, so I got over the shock by earning my PhD and ended up teaching at the University of Arizona and the retired from UAA, but the art thing was always back there and I do everything at 100% so I loved my career for 22 years at the University but once I retired I tripped right back into going from painting to fabric so the last 20 years I’ve been working actively in fabric. The quilts on display here are inspired by our travel and I always have a quilt going and with me when we travel, I do hand quilting and one of the pieces here has actually been around the world twice,” said Johnson. The Kenai Fine Arts Center show will be on display through the month of August. The Fine Arts Center is located in Old Town Kenai and is open Wednesday – Saturday 12:00 noon to 5:00pm. The closing event for the show will be held Friday, August 30th at 6:00pm and is open to the public to meet and greet the local artists.