After the holiday rush, many Homer galleries close for inventory or remodeling while others take a break from new art show exhibitions. The Homer Council on the Arts will be the only venue offering a First Friday opening. Ptarmigan Arts features art this month, but does not have extended First Friday hours beyond its regular hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
In these tumultuous times and the ever fluid, ever changing COVID-19 pandemic, HCOA guest artist Dr. Sami Ali presents her perspective on the pandemic as both an emergency room physician and a plein air artist. Ali presents an artist’s talk at 5:30 p.m. Friday for her show, “The Mind of A Healthcare Worker During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Homer Council on the Arts
355 W. Pioneer Ave.
“The Mind of A Healthcare Worker During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” paintings by Dr. Sami Ali
5-7 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception; 5:30 p.m. artist’s talk
“The Mind of A Healthcare Worker During the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Dr. Sami Ali of Anchorage came about from her experience as an emergency room physician and an artist. The show will be up at HCOA until Jan. 31 and then it will move over to the South Peninsula Hospital gallery for February.
Of her show, Ali writes, “These works shed light on the tense, pressure-filled medical environment that has surrounded me over the past two years. Emotions that we have all had recently — shock, anger, anxiety, fear, hope, hopelessness, and love — are magnified in situations of stress, and here I describe the world I navigated, from courageousness and heroism to illness and death. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes shocking, this series of portraits and abstracts will allow an impassioned glimpse into the turbulent, sometimes chaotic, mind of a healthcare worker during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
An emerging artist, Ali writes that she credits her passion for painting to her curious nature and her love of a challenge. Born in Vietnam, her family fled to America as part of the American Embassy rooftop evacuation in 1975 during the fall of Saigon. She lived in Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, Alabama and Louisiana before settling in Alaska, so through the years she said she learned to be adaptable, make friends and find creative outlets for herself. Although she dabbled in other artistic pursuits over the years, it was not until she discovered oil painting that she felt a true outlet of expression. She never shies away from a challenge, so the challenge of alla prima painting, especially plein air painting, appealed to her sense of creativity and reward.
According to HCOA, Ali uses a bold and whimsical approach to representational painting that contributes to her modern style, as does her textural use of paint. She loves working in a wide landscape format as she sees the world through this dynamic lens, and she finds portrait painting analogous to completing the Sunday NY Times Crossword.
Board Certified in Emergency Medicine, Ali continues to practice at the busiest emergency room in Alaska. She also serves as the Business Manager for Alaska Emergency Medicine Associates. Sami spends most of her time between Alaska and Hawaii where she is inspired by the ocean, and when not painting, she can be found either in the kitchen making homemade eggrolls or on the river salmon fishing. Her husband Steve is simultaneously her biggest fan and biggest critic, and their dog, Bella, is her plein air painting companion.
Of her work, she writes, “Nature isn’t just awesome, it’s actually super cool, and I didn’t even discover that until I took up oil painting. I had been that person that would drive up to a lookout, take a photo which I would never look at again, and drive on. Now that I’m standing in one spot for hours painting I can finally see why a mountain is a purple majesty and that no two sunsets are alike. I hope that the awe, magic and inspiration I feel when I’m painting is conveyed to the viewer, who in turn may also have a greater appreciation for just how cool not only Nature is, but also how cool it is to be alive.”
Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery
471 E. Pioneer Ave.
Art by Ptarmigan artists
11 a.m to 5 p.m. First Friday; no extended First Friday hours.
Ptarmigan Arts has added several new members in the past four months and invites visitors to come see their contributions to the gallery. They include Diane Briggs, wildlife photography; Sarah Sims, sgraffito pottery; Kim Schuster, marine themed watercolors and wood carvings; and Jean Steele, paintings, jewelry and wall hangings.
Ptarmigan will not have extended First Friday hours in January, but they are open every day of the week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.