Painter sheds light on Kodiak

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2002

Another show at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center takes a closer look at art in one portion of the state -- Kodiak. The show is an exhibition of artist Daniel Ogan's "Myths of Kodiak" paintings.

Ogan's work is done in egg tempera on gesso-treated wood. In a statement about the show, Ogan said it is an ancient method where minerals are ground into powder and mixed with egg yolk. The finished paintings have a luminous quality which comes from painting in hundreds of transparent layers of color. There are no solid colors in these paintings. What looks like plain black from a distance is actually made up of multiple shimmering shades of color.

The pieces in this show are Ogan's interpretations of the landscapes he saw and dreams he had in Kodiak. When he saw something that touched him, Ogan would create a myth or story to accompany that vision and put it into a painting. Many of the minerals used for pigments in these paintings came from Kodiak.

One of the larger pieces is "Whale Over Monashka Bay." According to Ogan, it is his adult version of cloud watching. His explanation of the piece said he saw a dark rain cloud over the bay that looked to him like a whale.

"It was as if God had gently placed a whale in the cradle of the ocean," he said in the statement. "If I were an ancient man I would tell the story of the first whale and its birthing scene."

In the paintings, Ogan depicts the bay and a dark roiling of rain clouds hovering to the right. From those clouds one large whale extends over the bay and is bathed in a ray of light from the clearing skies. Beneath it, smaller whale forms are taking shape from the clouds.

"Enlightenment" is one of what Ogan calls his dream-like paintings. An oil lamp illuminates the darkness and draws three fish to it, while a fishing lure floats by unnoticed. The color in this painting is a fine example of Ogan's egg tempura technique. Even though the background is dark, it defies categorizing in any single color or even range of colors. It looks almost like a dark shade of an oil slick, where every angle of perception shows a different hue.

"Myths of Kodiak" will be on display in the center's conference area until Oct. 29. The show will share an opening reception with the "All Alaska Juried Art Exhibition XXIX" today from 4 to 6 p.m.

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