Three group art shows light up the Kenai

Showing off the arts

Posted: Thursday, January 18, 2007


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  "Cold Snap," by Michael Conti

"Cold Snap," by Michael Conti

“Rarefied Light 2006,” “Triad: Two Sourdoughs and a Cheechako” and “Four Visions.”

These titles may have little in common, but each is the moniker for a group art show hanging in the Kenai-Soldotna area this month.

With art being a matter of personal taste and style, how do artists mesh their work into one show? Each of these shows came about through a different process.

Eric Dabney, one of the contributors to “Four Visions” which will show at Kaladi Brothers in Soldotna through the end of the month, is a digital art student at KPC, as are the other three artists — Traci Knutson, Todd Marshall-Closson and Kathleen M. Freeman.

The four chose the work they would show based on group need and group decision.

“I’m not sure any one of us had enough to do our own show. ... We had probably eight pieces each, and we went in and decided as a group, and voted which we liked best,” Dabney said.

The pieces are all photographic, and in each of their artist statements, the importance of light in their work is evident.

“The light and dark of the transition line is the contour brush of the photographer’s vision and the metaphorical delineation of the real and the surreal. As light gives way to dark, the mind struggles to fill in the unseen, to complete the picture, and the image thus engages the viewer,” Marshall-Closson writes of his work.

The importance of showing their work for early career artists is clear to Dabney.

“Jayne Jones is really incredible about getting us motivated to get out there. She really wants to teach us to get our work out, how important it is to get our names out there.”


"Molly's View," by Heather Maslen

Jones is an assistant professor of art at KPC and heads the digital art program.

KPC also is hosting one of the art shows, “Rarefied Light 2006.” The show is a statewide touring exhibit sponsored by the Alaska Photographic Center in Anchorage. The exhibit will hang in the Gary L. Freeburg Gallery at KPC through Feb. 7.

“I think it’s the most diverse photo show in the state,” Jones said.

Celia Anderson, director of the gallery and KPC assistant professor of art, has the challenge of curating the exhibit.

“Typically, it’s a huge show, almost always 50 pieces, and I fit them all in the gallery,” Anderson said.

Artists from all over Alaska have the opportunity to enter their work in the show. The pieces that make it are adjudicated, or judged, by a juror designated by the Alaska Photographic Center. According to Jones and Anderson, there are two standards for photographers to consider when they look for

entrance into the show: the highest quality of their work, and the aesthetic of the individual juror, who is most likely an actively working artist in their own right.

The adjudicator for “Rarefied Light 2006” is Dan Burkholder. Burkholder’s work has been largely in digital photography. He has broken ground in hybridizing the processes of digital photography and negative-based photography. Some of his work, as well as images from “Rarefied Light 2006,” can be seen on the Alaska Photographic Center’s Web site at

“The whole point of the gallery is to present the best exemplars in the state for our students and community. I view it as a teaching tool,” Anderson said.

Another of KPC’s instructors, William Heath, has had one of his works “Floating” accepted into the show. The piece is a color photograph, 18 inches by 12 inches, which looks over a floating dock into a water reflecting sky and the boardwalk opposite. The perspective of the piece makes it difficult to determine which way is up and has a distinctly coastal Alaska flavor to it.

Heath said it can be difficult to determine which pieces a juror will be attracted to. It is the second year his work has been included in the show.

“It tends to be a high end fine arts show. I tend to select a scattering of pictures because I like them. ... It’s definitely a feather in the hat, so to speak,” he said.


"Salmon Lures," by John Delapp.

Another feather in his exhibition hat is “Triad: Two Sourdoughs and a Cheechako,” which is showing at the Kenai Cultural and Visitors Center through Jan. 31. Heath is joined in the show by Steve Hillyer, an artist and illustrator, who also happens to be a pilot. Hillyer’s work with planes and long Alaska history is evident in the show.

Hillyer and Heath are the sourdoughs, while Shirley Lennox-Hillyer is the Cheechako. Lennox-Hillyer has only been here three years, but her landscape paintings reflect a fascination with Alaska scenes.

According to Heath, the “Triad” has been working together for a while.

“We find that we work well together,” he said. “We’ve been working together just short of a year, and we wanted to do a show together. It’s been a delightful process.”

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