First Friday Events

In years past, the late Gaye Wolfe inspired art supporters to make August an “artrageous” month of shows, workshops and musical events. Though Artrageous August is no more, the spirit of the idea lives on in shows opening this month. In technique, form and subject, shows this month are a little bit outrageous.

Following on its July exhibit, “native Alaskan,” Bunnell Street Arts Center continues its exploration of what it means to be an Alaskan — and what Alaska means. In “Unalaskana,” artists Rachel Mulvihill, Angela Ramirez, Duke Russell and Michael Walsh challenge romantic ideas of Alaska life. Traditional landscapes get twisted and myths get busted. Picture Alaska artist Elizabeth Petersen takes a more traditional approach to landscape with her en plein air oil paintings.

Furthering its goal of using art to explore science, at the Pratt Museum artist Rebecca Crowell’s “Beneath the Surface” combines art with archaeology. Her paint and cold wax layering technique reflects the theme of archaeology with its systematic unpeeling of time through soil layers. Musician David Crowell’s compositions and sound designs accompany her work.

Artists also expand on classic media to create contemporary images. At Fireweed Gallery, Seldovia artist Valisa Higman makes her works with paper and Xacto knife, but like Crowell she also uses a layering technique. Soldotna artist Lisa Carlon creates her sculptures out of glass sheets worked and locked in place using classic techniques, while another glass artist, Nancy Wise, uses the more modern technique of fused glass.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at




Art Shop Gallery

207 W. Pioneer Ave.

New pieces by Lisa Carlon

5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Reception

Soldotna artist Lisa Carlon makes 3-dimensional glass art using traditional techniques. Each piece is hewn from raw glass sheets at the workbench, hand-tooled and locked in place with molten solder. The result is a glass sculpture with an old world aesthetic. Carlon specializes in Alaska wildflowers and other natural subjects and scenes.

Bunnell Street Arts Center

106 W. Bunnell Ave.

Unalaskana by Rachel Mulvihill, Angela Ramirez, Duke Russell and Michael Walsh

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception
6 p.m., Artists’ talk

Artists in this group show challenge romantic ideas of Alaska life, landscape and culture using humor, hyperbole, reality, irony and individualism.

Rachel Mulvhill paints landscapes, but recently has begun to paint interior landscapes. “I have been thinking of painting as a sort of long exposure in which I can explore the particularities of experiences and memories that inhabit my contemplation of place,” she writes.

Angela Ramirez also paints landscapes, but writes, “Oddly enough my work became landscapes of my inner states. My head in the clouds. I fell back into the earth two winters ago. A long fall, but I got up and said, ‘What a pretty sunset.’”

In his sketches “Breaking the Myths of Alaska,” Duke Russell reveals the truth about Alaska myths, such as “Alaska drivers know how to drive in snow. Actually, the first ones in the ditch are the bro’s with big tires on their trucks” or “In movies people are sent to Alaska if they screw up. Actually this one is true; people get sent here as punishment all the time.”

Homer artist Michael Walsh salvaged 55-gallon drums in which digital movies are seen by looking down into the barrell. “Through art, we are most often shown the beautiful side of our state, while, the not so pretty goes unmentioned. I’m interested in what is real, right at our feet,” he writes.

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

708 Smokey Bay Way

S.O.S. Debris Dangles, by various artists

5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Reception 

The community art project features work made by local artists using marine debris collected from Alaska beaches. Art will be auctioned at the 2013 CoastWalk Kick-off event. on Sept. 12.

Fireweed Gallery

475 E. Pioneer Ave.

Here, paintings by Valisa Higman

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Seldovia artist Valisa Higman makes two-dimensional art using paper and an Xacto knife. Inspired by her father, a wood carver, and her mother, who handcut silk screens, Higman creates her art by piecing together layers of paper in vibrant colors and techniques, and then embellishing them with watercolors. 

Most of her work in this show was created over the last winter while working in a yurt on her mother’s land in Seldovia. The show includes scenes of Alaska life and landscapes with those of her travels to Oaxaca, Mexico, and Bahrain. 

Picture Alaska 

448 E. Pioneer Ave. 

Field Notes by Elizabeth Petersen

5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Reception 

“Field Notes” features small oil paintings by Homer artist Elizabeth Petersen created on location, or en plein air, while in Alaska. Her subjects reflect what she observes directly in nature: glaciers, mountains and glimpses of Kachemak Bay. 

Pratt Museum Contemporary
Art Gallery

3779 Bartlett St.

Beneath the Surface, art by Rebecca Crowell and music and sound design by David Crowell

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

“Beneath the Surface” combines art, archaeology and music. Rebecca Crowell works in the cold wax medium as well as oil. Her show explores the beauty and mystery of archaeology through abstract paintings combined with artifacts from the Pratt’s collection excavated on the Kenai Peninsula. Compositions and sound design by New York City composer David Crowell accompany her paintings.

“My painting process itself has certain connections with the theme of archaeology, with its layering of paint, cold wax medium and other additives such as powdered pigment and sand,” Rebecca Crowell writes.

Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery

471 E. Pioneer Ave.

Revolution by Nancy Wise

5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Reception 

Homer artist Nancy Wise’s “Revolution” explores the influences of changing seasons and elemental energies on life cycle rhythms using a variety of media, including fused glass, hand-painted silk, concrete and kiln-made mosaic tiles. 

Wise currently works mainly in glass but has returned to her silk painting. She also has begun to explore creating concrete orbs embellished with materials like kiln-made mosaic tiles.