Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Art Seen: Artists dig deep for inspiration in experimental exhibit

Folks arriving at the Kenai Fine Arts Center this month will stumble onto a unique exhibit. The third annual experimental art show, “Outside the Bag,” involves 13 diverse artists, each charged with the same task: to create a piece of art using 17 duplicated objects (or groups of objects).

Most of what was added to the grab bag was very nearly trash. In fact, a number of the encyclopedias had to be replaced due to incessant mold problems. The idea evolved from a previous year’s discussion about true artists and their need to create, no matter what the conditions or materials present. An artist locked away in a cell would eventually begin to draw in the dirt (or with it), carve in the walls, fold toilet paper or create “happenings” maybe only they could ponder. But do it they would; it is a need that comes from somewhere deep within the psyche and soul of an authentic artist.

There are varying degrees of both technical excellence and conceptual quality in this display, but there is a little something for everyone. The show statement explains, “The mission of the Experimental Show is to showcase and promote the works of emerging and professional artists engaged in the creation of conceptual ‘events’ and/or large scale installation works of art of a general alternative character.”

Each of the artists has written a statement to correspond with their work. The following are snippets from some of those, along with detail shots of their work. Artists involved were Joyce Cox, Laura Faeo, Joy Falls, Anne Louise Gillilan, Clarice Kipp, Denneice Lofgren, Pam Mersch, Tracie Stang, Connie Tarbox, Zirrus VanDevere, Carol Walkiewicz, Jan Wallace and Kathryn Zerbe.

“Outside the Bag” will be on exhibit through Nov. 1.

Joyce Cox, “Cerebellum”
“I see an object and almost immediately imagine it in new untraditional functions.”

Joy Falls, “Can You Guess My Name?”
“I like the saying ‘I am a spiritual being, having a human experience,’ because it describes how I feel and what I struggle with.”

Anne Louise Gillilan, “Welcome to My World”
“These items spoke of the seemingly chaotic collection of experiences that can be formed and transformed into a luscious image that tells a story.”

Clarice Kipp, “Phoenix”
“The idea for the ashes came first.”

Denniece Lofgren, “Learning”
“In the autumn of my life, I returned to school, but really I’ve returned to more than simply educate my mind.”

Pam Mersch, “Knowledge”
“… Ribbons of truth/life — mirror, seeking knowledge/truth of self. … Wow.”
Tracie Stang, “Ravenous”
“The raven is thought to be a highly intelligent bird with an unsavory reputation as a scavenger that does not distinguish between humans and animals. When I think about our world today, environmentally, socially and morally, I am reminded of another species.”

Connie Tarbox, “Seeking Order”
“Our times are deep into chaos, a paradigm shift is eminent.”

Zirrus VanDevere, “Sordid Turbulence”
“The alchemy that an artist is involved with can be great magic, indeed. It can transform our darknesses into a creative process and thereby create new emotional and psychological understanding.”
Carol Walkiewicz, “Gothic Clowning”
“… A black distorted order not quite right in reality.”

Zirrus VanDevere is a local mixed-media artist and owns Art Works gallery in Soldotna. She has bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and education.

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