State's oldest juried art show enriches Kenai visitors center

Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2000

Kenai Peninsula residents can get a firsthand look at the works of some of the state's top artists for the next month at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.

The 28th All-Alaska Juried Art Show -- the state's oldest -- opened last week at the center and features 52 original works in various mediums, including those of three area residents.

Sponsored by the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the traveling exhibit initially attracted 177 artists from 30 communities in Alaska who submitted 593 entries for the jurying process. The juror for this year's exhibit was Lawrence Rinder, director of the California College of Arts and Crafts Institute for Exhibitions and and Public Programming in Oakland and San Francisco.

"The feeling I get from the art in the 28th All-Alaska Juried Art Exhibition is of work made rich by the intensity of direct, local experience," Rinder wrote in the "The Soul's Message," displayed near the start of the exhibit.

"The work in this exhibition is exceptionally strong. My response to the work in general is an overwhelming sensation of emotional ... power. These are works that prove the importance of art precisely by expressing what cannot be expressed in words: deep currents of feeling in response to nature, life and death."

Indeed, the works are varied and evoke a range of emotions. In no piece do those emotions rise to the surface more than in the Juror's Choice selection of "Rescue Dog," an acrylic on canvas by Anchorage resident Kay Marshall.

The large canvas depicts a dog struggling to rescue an injured person clinging to life in a tumult of water and fear. The use of dark, brooding colors and movement heightens the sense of panic, as does the sparing use of red.

An oil on canvas painting by Anchorage resident Steve Gordon also works to capture an image frozen in time. Gordon's "Intertidal Pools, Ketchikan," is a vivid representation of the intense colors -- especially the varying shades of green -- found in Southeast Alaska. His use of movement also invokes a sense of discovery in seeing a world teeming with life that will soon be covered by the ocean.


"Wiperscape," acrylic n paper, by James L. Evenson, Kenai

The advancing technology of digital photography is represented in "Blue Moose," by Anchorage resident Thomas Alvarez. A large and tightly-cropped image with a bluish-purple tint, the moose in the photo seems to say "keep your distance" as its eyes track the movement of the viewer.

Three area artists are represented in the exhibit, each working in a separate medium.

Kenai resident James L. Evenson's "Lurk," a stone lithograph, seems to depict the power and single-mindedness of a salmon headed to its spawning grounds. Evenson's use of color as well as his selection of medium adds to the piece's appeal. Another Evenson work, "Wiperscape," an acrylic on paper, also is featured in the exhibit.

"Fertile Ground," a hand-pulled wood cut by Kenai resident Mary K. Whiteley and Soldotna resident Marsha A. Spafard's "Under Water World," a silkscreen piece, also are featured.

The exhibit runs through Oct. 21, and the visitors center is offering special exhibit hours beginning Monday. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call the center at 283-1991.


"Mme Jean-Luc Pitre," left, "Mme Pitre La Nuque," right, oil on masonite by Jane Perzis, Juneau

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