A different point of view

Artists Without Borders view things from a new perspective

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2008


  "The Pink," a painting by Melinda Hershberger, depicts the rear of a sports car.

"The Pink," a painting by Melinda Hershberger, depicts the rear of a sports car.

So what does an artist envision as a response to the prompt "In Arrears?"

Within the scope of the February Artists Without Borders show so titled, there were a variety of references. A man opens his wallet to look for cash which may or may not be there in one piece. One series of photographs depicts brightly colored flowers from the back. A hot pink car speeds away in different directions depending on the viewer's perspective.

Many of the artists approached the show with a sense of humor, including one photographer who managed to show herself from quite a unique angle.

Several members of the art collective took the challenge presented by Susan Anderson, coordinator of the Artists Without Borders space in Soldotna, resulting in a diverse show with widely varied media.

For Anderson, that is precisely the point.

"Artists Without Borders is not a watercolor group. It's not a painting group. It's an art group of various kinds of art. So you don't have to fit in a little certain box to be a member of Artists Without Borders, or show your work. I think that's really important, too," Anderson said.

Anderson started the group a little more than a year ago, and both the membership and the audience is growing. The First Thursday opening for "In Arrears" drew more than 50 people to the conference room on the second floor of the 4-D building where Anderson's business, Choice Realty, is a tenant.

"I think that the big picture is that it's an opportunity for artists and the public another First Thursday opportunity. I think the most important thing is for artists to have a place to show one or two pieces, don't you think?" Anderson asked Karen Carson, with whom she works at Choice Realty.

"I think so, and also that they can participate on a smaller level, or they can go whole-heartedly and we'd like a lot more participation. But they can do about anything they want to do," Carson said.

While Anderson is an artist whose own work currently hangs in the Artist Without Borders show, Carson describes herself as an "out of practice" artist.

Carson is also Anderson's mother, and the originator of the theme for "In Arrears."

"It was inspired by a picture ... to me, it just said a whole lot. It could be anything, and that's kind of what causes artists to think and be creative. ... It makes me happy to see that people are energized by an idea. And if that causes them to do something wonderful, which there are some examples of that in there, that's really great," Carson said.

"We alternate group shows with well, I call them solo shows, but I'm giving some of the solo shows to different groups. Like the (Kenai Peninsula College) group is taking a solo show month for their show," Anderson said.

The March show by KPC student artists is titled "Potpourri," and opens First Thursday of March. It will include a variety of media.

Anderson and Carson are also looking forward to April's opening of Artist Without Borders' second "Unhinged." The concept behind "Unhinged" is that all the artwork must include windows or doors. The deadline for interested artists will be April 1, though Anderson prefers that artists contact her in advance at choice@alaska.net.

She is happy to correspond with artists or with audience, and sends out regular e-mails including guidelines for upcoming shows, and other information.

"I like to have some idea of what's coming in. ... The only thing with 'Unhinged,' though, is that the pieces are big. So, we could have that trouble with 'Unhinged,' because the pieces are so big, we can't accommodate 40 of those," Anderson said.

Artists Without Borders is a cooperative group. If participants want to sell the pieces they submit, there is no commission. Anderson will accept anything that will fit in the space shows have included sculptural pieces as well as pieces that hang on the wall and which are appropriate for a multi-use conference room.

"We owe a lot of it to the Mortensons who own the building, and who allow us to do this. ... They're wonderful, inasmuch as they come up and they're just excited. ... They're very thrilled with the artists, and it makes for an interesting conference room," Carson said.

Artists Without Borders has plans for three solo shows in future months. Anderson, Richard Bornengo and Laura Faeo are each slotted. There are, however, shows yet to be scheduled, and themes yet to be decided.

"One of the artists, I can't remember who it was, was in here saying how much fun it is to be part of this group because we do challenge a little bit, to meet something like a theme. So, we're searching for a theme for later in the summer. ... We have to decide on the theme earlier so they can work on it," Carson said.

"Yes, because you don't just pop something out in a week, you know?" Anderson said with a laugh.

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