Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Art Seen: Practice makes perfect

Alyse Haynes has been drawing since she was 2 years old, and was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.

Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. She is 17 now, and attends Soldotna High School, where she gets special life skills training and encouragement toward independence and community contribution.

Alyse is showing her work currently at Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street in Soldotna.

Many of the drawings are filled, almost edge to edge, with various figures. The effect of seeing a wall full of them is quite magical, and pleasingly textural. Her color choices are bright and varied, and she has an interesting sense of space, so that some of her works feel like a tapestry.
Intensive needs instructor Kim Jordan finds the artworks amazing, and says Alyse will often pull out her notebook to draw when she is feeling stressed.

Many of the drawings are repeated versions, with small variations, as if she is continually working on the perfect piece. It’s sort of a version of what we all do, isn’t it? Refine ourselves, little by little, always looking for an improved version, working out our lives like a ball of fine clay, or layering our experiences as in a long-worked oil painting.

Tony Oliver will break out his form of art when he’s stressed, too. Or pleased, or energized, or intent. He’ll break out his camera pretty much whenever he sees beauty around him, which turns out to be almost all of the time.

He finds it easy to come upon inspiring scenes while he is hiking, biking, snowshoeing, canoeing, skiing, rafting and exploring our rich environs. Tony is a tech guy at the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and he spends a lot of his off-work time either working out, or working on that perfect shot.

He claims to be a “hobbyist” with his photography, but it is easy to see his eye is good, and his love for the subject is certainly evident.

His work is showing at the new Kaladi Brothers on the Sterling Highway, where you can see the occasional quiet black-and-white photo, as well as some really creamy, well-composed evening shots. All but one of the images was gathered locally, and although he does not create his work to sell it, it is available to purchase, as are Alyse’s drawings.

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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