The Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center reception debut of their Winter Art Exhibition entitled, "PainT" was well attended and equally well received. "I have to admit most of the time with impressionistic art I don't get it. I just don't see what the artist is trying to say. But I'm so excited tonight because I look at the piece called 'Breaking Up' and I get it - I see and can feel the pain that comes when any relationship breaks up and I know what the artist is saying. I love the show." commented one visitor. It was a response that was music to the ears of artist Don Decker, who is the curator for the Winter Art Exhibit. The title of the show "PainT" or "PAINt" depicted with a splashed letter T according to Decker, is an exhibition of works by five contemporary Alaska painters with the unifying element being the inherent struggle necessary to complete a work of art.
"For a painter, each new blank canvas presents another challenge. Like the empty page to the poet, or the staff without notes to the songwriter, the canvas awaits the artist's manipulation of paint. It can be at the same time exhilarating and painful, and is a struggle that all artists have in common," Decker said at the reception. As curator Decker assembled the work of Garry Mealor, Michelle Suchland, Asia Freeman, and his daughter Julie Decker. "I can't deny that you'll find art in my blood, but actually I didn't have an interest in it until I was in college majoring in something else entirely and took an art history class as a filler and fell in love. But I sure understood the passion and the drive of an artist from my dad and quietly and slowly started to study painting myself. I work in painting, sculpture, and photography. My work is an exploration of fear and loathing in contemporary culture," says Julie. While the Decker's say they don't discuss their art with each other much, they are planning to collaborate on piece in the future. "One of us will start and then give the work half done to the other to finish, it should be interesting," added Julie. Four of the five Alaskan artists were present at the reception and were pleased with the welcome they received from the community. "It's been a really good experience. Everybody has been very helpful and kind, and we are very happy to be here," said Don Decker.
If you are someone that feels everything has been painted that can be painted, and that everything new simply reminds you of something you have already seen, you need to check out the Winter Art Exhibit and particularly the work of Garry Mealor. "Expressed through still-life, the figure and surrealism, my watercolors begin with snippets of conversation, dj vu, dreams, and accidental encounters. The resulting image becomes a journey through juxtapositions of baffling imagery suggesting as much as it reveals," says Mealor of his work. The Kenai Visitor and Culture Center Winter Art Exhibit will be on display through March 3rd.
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