Two shows opening this Friday highlight a medium not often celebrated in Alaska art: photography.
Longtime Homer photographer Taz Tally shows his new work, “Landscapes Across Alaska,” at the Art Shop Gallery. An early devotee of digital photography, Tally gives it a retro twist, shooting in color and then interpreting an image in black and white.
“Black and white images possess a certain purity and elegance,” he writes in his artist statement for why he choose that technique.
At Ptarmigan Arts, three photographers consider the power of photography in capturing a distinct moment in time. “Between Heartbeats” features the work of Chris and Carol Beverly and Joanne Thordarson. From landscapes to nature, the artists explore the natural beauty of Alaska’s wilderness and wildlife.
Seldovia artist Valisa Higman uses an obscure medium that allows her to reduce art to elemental shapes and colors. Her cut-paper work is as intricate and complex, a technique that belies its apparent simple appearance. In “Alaska Problems” she examines the challenges of everyday Last Frontier living.
Juneau artist Lynda Giguere said she found wildlife photography insufficient in conveying the spirit of animals and so turned to oil painting. Her show opens at Grace Ridge Brewer.
“Painting these images has become an expression of my deep appreciation and feelings for this place,” she writes.
Anchorage artist Melissa Shaginoff grew up in Kenai. Alaska Native of Athabascan and Paiute descent, Shaginoff returned to her creative roots after working as a social worker. On top of a bachelor of arts in psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, she added a bachelor of fine arts in studio art from the Institute of American Indian Arts and Alaska Native Cultures in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Also showing is a second month of Homer artist Sharlene Cline’s exhibit, “Our Playground,” at the Homer Council on the Arts.
Reach Michael Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art Shop Gallery
202 W. Pioneer Ave., Suite A
Landscapes Across Alaska photography by TazTally
5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception
“I am passionate about black and white landscape photography,” writes Homer photographer Taz Tally. “While I began my artistic life as a film photographer, I was an early convert to digital photography because it offers me so many tools to creatively interpret my images, and particularly in black and white. I have always had an affection for landscape photography because I enjoy photographing what I love to do — journey through landscapes on foot or by skies, bike and kayak. My appreciation of landscapes is informed and enhanced by my training as a geologist as well as an artist.”
Tally writes that he uses black and white as his primary medium “because I love to explore landscape forms, textures and fabrics without the distraction of color. I also find that black and white images possess a certain purity and elegance. I capture images in color and use my own custom techniques to interpret them into black and white portraits. When I am viewing a landscape in the field, I pre-visualize how I will begin to interpret it in black and white. I particularly enjoy shooting the massive and compelling mountainous landscapes of Alaska. I enjoy the entire creative process, from image capture, through interpreting them from color to black and white, to printing. I hope you enjoy viewing my work half as much as I enjoy creating it.”
Bunnell Street Arts Center
106 W. Bunnell Ave.
Solo exhibit by Melissa Shaginoff
5-7 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception; 6 p.m., artist talk
Bunnell Street Arts Center presents a solo exhibit by Melissa Shaginoff, an Alaska Native artist of Athabascan and Paiute descent. Shaginoff grew up in Kenai,. She is curator of Indigenous Art at the Anchorage Museum.
Shaginoff received her bachelors of arts in psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage. After working for a brief time in social work, Shaginoff returned to her creative roots and received her bachelors of fine arts in studio art from the Institute of American Indian Arts and Alaska Native Cultures in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She recently returned from the Sheldon Jackson Museum Native Artist Residency in Sitka.
475 E. Pioneer Ave.
Alaska Problems, cut paper work by Valisa Higman
5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception
“The phrase “first world problems’ implies privilege,” Seldovia artist Valisa Higman writes. Her “Alaska Problems” series draws its inspiration from all the trivial frustrations and complaints that remind us of the privileges of life in Alaska. She took the opportunity to find humor in all the things that drive us crazy about life in the 49th state, seeing them as reminders of how lucky we are to live in such a wild and beautiful place.
Working in a remote cabin on Seldovia Bay and commuting by rowboat comes with its own set of problems, so there was daily inspiration, including fishy presents from river otters, mid day windstorms, and dropping various things into the bay (phones, artwork, more phones, more artwork). As the series developed, others weighed in, offering “Alaska Problem” ideas of their own. From bears eating bicycles, to not having room in the freezer, Valisa’s cut-paper artwork illustrates everyday life in the last frontier.
Grace Ridge Brewery
3388 B. Street off Ocean Drive
Paintings by Lynda Giguere
Juneau artist Lynda Giguere writes “I found myself in Juneau in 1975 having come from Maine via hitchhiking through Canada. My original plans were to hop a freighter in California and take a trip around the world. I had $500 so plenty of money. But I got sidetracked, smitten, and happily trapped in Juneau which, at the time, was like getting transported to the Wild West, complete with saloons, dance halls, rowdy men and women, 1800s architecture and frontier spirit. Yeehaw!
“I love Alaska. It’s incredible, as is the wildlife: birds, wolves, whales, bears, bison, caribou, mountain goats, Dall sheep, deer, moose…. It’s hard to describe how seeing such magnificent creatures makes me feel. The closest I can come is that it’s a spiritual experience. Like many, I’ve tried to capture what I see with photographs. But my photographs fall short. Painting these images has become an expression of my deep appreciation and feelings for this place.
“I want to experience everything and am driven to try new things, test my limits both physically and artistically. Oil painting is my newest endeavor and passion.”
5-9 p.m., First Friday
Homer Council on the Arts
344 W. Pioneer Ave.
Our Playground, work by Sharlene Cline
5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception
“Our Playground” is Sharlene Cline’s response to climate change deniers. It shows the effects of climate change on our earth’s water, with aerial views on a time spectrum. The title “Our Playground” refers to our view of our world that our planet is only here for our use, our fun, but our playground is beginning to crack.
Cline teaches Tape Sculpture Workshops for artists from ages 10 and up from 3:30-5:30 Aug. 28 and 30. Participants will make human-mold sculptures out of plastic wrap and packing tape. These sculptures are fun, easy to make, and can take on any pose.
Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery
471 E. Pioneer Ave.
Between Heartbeats, photograpy by Chris and Carol Beverly and Joanne Thordarson
5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception
The dynamic world / Time stopped between heartbeats / Treasures for all time
The world is alive with movement, changing from moment to moment. Creatures swoop and dive, clouds race and branches wave in the wind, and light shifts and flows across the world in ever-changing colors. This show captures the world between heartbeats as seen through the eyes of three photographers.
Chris and Carol Beverly came to Alaska to photograph the stunning beauty using the qualities of light and color in high latitudes that are hypnotic and ever changing. From the incredible crystalline structure of ice to the wild chaos of a field of fireweed, they share their views of Alaska.
Joanne Thordarson came to Homer to enjoy its unique location and glorious scenery as well. She photographs birds and other wildlife found on Kachemak Bay. She relishes viewing what the camera sees and capturing that special moment when “time stopped between heartbeats.”