Every two years, the Kenai Fine Arts Center in Old Town Kenai features a Kenai Juried Art Exhibition. This year, Cordova resident and show juror Michael Anderson chose a large array of art that captures the heart of area talent.
The show highlights 30 artists with their imaginative, creative works in a selection of varied media.
In the juror's statement, Anderson said, "This show covers a range of skill levels, training and practice that in itself is very interesting. The best work is really masterful. The rest demonstrates the artists' keen interest in the art. That interest of the artist and how it may have captured my own interest is my primary criteria, sort of a gut feeling."
Anderson was chosen as the juror by exhibition coordinator Marty Hapeman. She saw his work at a show at Tustu-mena Elementary School.
"Blueberry Dream Compote," by Elizabeth West
"I was really impressed with his eloquence and his professionalism," she said.
Hapeman said Anderson took time and care in choosing the art.
The selections he chose were varied in nature, color and style. Walls are lined with paintings, drawings and mixed media.
Floral paintings were a common topic in the show.
"The Venus," by Sheila Sheldon
"Iris Garden," one of five pieces given the juror's choice award, reveals the love that artist Jerry Books has for the wildflower.
"There is nothing more beautiful," Books said of irises. "I love the blues and greens, they are very typical of the colors of Alaska."
Books travels throughout the state taking pictures of foliage and flowers in the summer to paint during the colorless winter months.
The pictures hold great meaning for the painter.
"Spring Flowers," by Ida Cockroft
"In a little flower garden, you can find everything in the world," he said.
Books also uses wild poppies as a subject for his paintings, but those and wild irises have been his prominent themes for the past two years.
With spring slowly emerging, Books said he is watching, in anticipation, as the buds poke out of the snow.
Another artist takes full advantage of what nature has to offer.
"Eagle Roost," by Janet Varvais
"Spring Flowers," an acrylic painting by Ida Cockroft, screams spring with its vibrant colorful flowers. With the use of a paint brush and skill, Cockroft provides viewers with a glimpse of months to come with a window of what has been.
Another painting that demands attention is "Eagles Roost," by Janet Varvais. The bright oil painting beams with brilliant golden tones, while eagles seem to soar. Unlike many paintings that are enclosed by a majestic frame, Varvais' painting extends onto the frame, creating a different, yet interesting modification of the piece.
While floral themes were in abundance, Natasha Ala Johnson's mixed-media display, titled "Moving on From Here," offered a change in thought.
"It is about changing and cycles that all organic life goes through," Johnson said.
The shadow box-like frame was divided into sections that seemed to tell a story. The top section held a shed snake skin, while the other sections featured cocoons made by silkworms.
Johnson said the cocoons signify potential and each box follows the cocoon through the hatching process.
Though "Moving on From Here," was one of the jurors' choices, Johnson said she favored her other mixed-media piece, "A Study of Gestation," that also uses silk cocoons and other fiber.
Johnson said she has been in several juried shows, but this is the broadest one, art wise, she has seen and been a part of.
While much of the art is hung in frames on the walls, pottery graces podiums around the room.
"Blueberry Dream Compote," by Elizabeth West, is anything but compote (a small dish). The lidded jar, which received an honorable mention, is large, and the colors are brilliant, with frosted blues, purples and tan shades lending a beauty to the piece.
The show is filled with a plethora of art that every viewer is bound to find intriguing.
Many of the pieces can be purchased and then picked up on the last day of the show, which is March 31, Hapeman said.
The show can be viewed Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"It is a nice sampling of what folks are doing in the area," Hapeman said.
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