High summer brings diversity to arts scene

At the peak of summer with long days, warm temperatures and sunny skies, First Friday in Homer bursts out with a diverse collection of art. From Old Town to Bartlett Street, shows examine the history of a forgotten Alaska battle, future speculations and the relationship of artists to their cultures.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Attu, the only ground battle fought in World War II in North America, three artists use literature, photography and assemblage to look at the forgotten conflict. Writer Nancy Lord speaks at 7 p.m Friday for the opening reception of “Reflections on Attu” at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

Conflict of another sort is the theme of Asgurluta, Alutiiq for “bucking the waves,” an invitational show by some of Alaska’s finest indigineous artists working in wood. The word represents the tension artists Lena Snow Amason-Berns, Alvin Amason, Donald Varnel and Nathan Jackson face in pushing cultural boundaries with their work.

At the Art Shop Gallery, Palmer artist Francois Girard has created a new way of looking at birds with his “Bird Blocks,” paintings of birds and other wildlife printed on cotton paper and adhered to wood blocks. Artist Christina Wilson explores wildlife and landscapes with her vivid paintings, “Fragments,” at Fireweed Gallery. Artist Michael J. Halverson shows why he has “An Alaskan Addiction,” the title of his show of Alaska themes at Ptarmigan Arts. New artist Jen Depesa also considers Alaska themes in her show opening at Grace Ridge Brewery.

Homer artist Sharlene Cline has created sculpture, text art and paintings for her show “Our Playground,” a reaction to climate change deniers and the idea that the world exists only for human amusement. At the Pratt Museum, virtual artist Nathan Shafer imagines futures that didn’t happen with “Dirigibles of Denali,” visions of domed cities conceived but never built.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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