Somerset Maugham once wrote, "Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth."
A common experience shared by many first generation Alaskans. Now there is an art exhibit on display at the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center (KVCC) which expresses such experiences in contemporary art, called, "Spirit of Alaska: The Inner Landscape."
Artist Diane Hall, Anchorage, with her original mixed media sculpture "Glacier Pilot"
Much of Anchorage artist and biologist James Brady's life has centered around fish, "So my personal interpretation of the show was navigating the inner landscape which I call the Finscape and the actual surface above the surface water is actually created from the fins of different species of fish," said Brady.
Another contributing artist Diane Hall, of Anchorage, took a rather literal interpretation of the show's theme, and created a sculpture called "Glacier Pilot." Diane's Alaskan experience includes mining and she explained, "Any one who has a mining claim or does fishing knows that you live off of Pilot Bread and Spam with peanut butter for variety. So I thought what makes Alaska unique is we are one of the only places in the world where we have glacier pilots, so I took a box of Glacier Pilot bread and made it into a plane landing on a glacier."
Anchorage artist James Brady with the piece he created for the new art show.
The wing of Hall's plane is partially constructed with a yardstick, "I used it because it was lying on my floor, and it also represents to me the measure of a man that flies. Here everyone is unique and I thought the uniqueness of glacier pilots represented the spirit of Alaska," said Hall.
The show is the third major summer art exhibition at the KVCC. As the new millennium brought in the year 2000, Dr. David Wartenbee, of Kenai Peninsula College, curated "Alaska 2000: A Celebration of Wildlife Art," said to have been the largest collection of wildlife art ever assembled in Alaska. The next year Professor Gary Freeburg, at KPC, curated "2001: A Fish Odyssey." This year Curator Celia Anderson, KPBSD Art Specialist, an artist herself, describes the exhibit as, "A visual celebration of the spirit that binds us to this place; a place that has power to enchant, lure, terrify, seduce, thrill and demoralize with the magnetism to pull us back when we leave. It imprints itself and we are forever changed." The Spirit of Alaska: The Inner Landscape will be on display at the KVCC through September 8th.
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