With several group shows at local galleries, October exhibit openings offer a chance to see a diversity of artists working in a variety of forms.
For “Fragile Domestic,” Bunnell Street Arts Center will show some of Alaska’s finest fiber artists working in sewing, embroidery and traditional handiwork. All provide new perspectives and dimensions to the forms. Bunnell does not have an artists reception and will host an artist’s talk through Zoom.
At the Homer Council on the Arts, “Members Showcase” features work by more than a dozen arts council members from emerging to established artists. Grace Ridge Brewery sponsors a fundraiser for South Peninsula Haven House. With the pandemic having canceled its annual Women of Distinction awards banquet and auction, the brewery presents a “Buy It Now” auction featuring art, pottery, oysters, wine and other items.
Single artist shows include Ed Hutchinsion at the Art Shop Gallery, known as “The Shadow Painter” for his technique of using white oil paint on white canvas impasto; metal sculptor Don Henry with new work at Fireweed Gallery, and Bob Ritchie’s wooden bowls and furniture at Ptarmigan Arts. Fireweed and Ptarmigan will not have a First Friday reception, but their work can be seen during regular business hours.
Rounding out the evening, the Pratt Museum presents a Facebook Live showcase for its Sound Collections series broadcast on KBBI AM 890. The show explores the wonders of the found items of Kachemak Bay. For Friday’s presentation, past shows content from previous episodes and guests speaking about their collection stories.
Reach Michael Armstrong at email@example.com.
Art Shop Gallery
202 W. Pioneer Ave.
White on White with the Shadow Painter, paintings by Ed Hutchinson
5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception
Homer artist Ed Hutchinsion uses white oil paint on white canvas impasto so that light interacting with the raised paint creates shadows and the shadows are what make the images visible. He is an award-winning international artist with 1,050 paintings now hanging in businesses, government buildings, homes and galleries throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
Bunnell Street Arts Center
106 W. Bunnell Ave.
Fragile Domestic, textile and book art by Amy Meissner, Sonya Kelliher Combs, Keren Lowell, Hollis Mickey and Susan Joy Share
6 p.m., First Friday artists talk via Zoom. Register at www.bunnellarts.org.
“Fragile Domestic” includes artists Amy Meissner, Sonya Kelliher Combs, Keren Lowell, Hollis Mickey and Susan Joy Share. According to the show’s description, it “roams a literal and emotional landscape, exploring the female experience within domestic spaces and our relationship to materials, women’s work and expectation (and) … examines questions around the fragility of materials and time-based craft, the fragility of unsustainable perfection, the fragility of memory, history and utility. The resulting instinct sloughs all this to reveal a harder, less breakable core. This, we nurture and feed.”
Sonya Kelliher-Combs was raised in the Northwest Alaska community of Nome. Through her mixed media painting and sculpture, Kelliher-Combs offers a chronicle of the ongoing struggle for self-definition and identity in the Alaska context. Of her work, she writes, “Through observation and the practice of time-honored traditions — skin sewing, beading, and food preparation — I realized my role as Woman, Daughter, Sister, Wife and Artist. The intimacy of traditional women’s work has allowed me to examine the connections between Western and Indigenous cultures. I examine identity through my work.”
Keren Lowell was born in western Colorado. She spent a number of years traveling and living across the United States until moving to Alaska in 1994. Lowell taught a range of classes in art and the humanities at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 1994 through 2015, and was the Fiber Program Coordinator at UAA. She also served as an arts administrator with the Alaska State Council on the Arts until 2019. Lowell has been a practicing artist for more than 35 years and also loves to sew.
Of her work, she writes, “My folks took us camping a lot as kids, and I’ve always liked the feeling of going to sleep and waking up in a tent. A tent is a shelter of the simplest kind, easy to pack up and move, easy to store, easy to set up, the perfect home for a nomad. This tent is sewn from remnants, my sister’s wedding dress, cloth from grandmother’s stash from the ‘30s and ‘40s, scraps left over from sewing facemasks. I’ve started drawing the houses I’ve lived in from memory and old photographs and will continue to add them to the tent as I go.”
Anchorage artist Amy Meissner combines traditional handwork, found objects and abandoned textiles to reference the literal, physical and emotional work of women. Of her work she writes, “Historically, the embroidery sampler represented a young woman’s skill and piousness, a space designated for practice and achieving perfection. The work kept girls busy but quiet, preparing them for an expected domestic role. By cutting apart, re-assembling and re-embroidering abandoned household textiles made by unknown women, this body of work re-interprets the original makers’ and reveals the gritty vulnerability beneath the recognizable comforts of home, whether quilt, table linen, sampler or toy.”
Through text, textiles, sculpture, installation and performance, S Hollis Mickey captures and remembers ephemeral, everyday moments — those glimpses of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Of her work, she writes, “This deck of embroidered tarot cards invites interaction through divination. In tarot practice, someone seeking answers pulls cards. The cards pulled are used to answer the seeker’s questions and to foretell the future. The direction of the card determines the interpretation of the meaning.”
Susan Joy Share’s work combines sculpture, painting, bookbinding, sewing and collage. Her abstract architectural forms, figures and pop-ups are colorful and kinetic. She derives inspiration from her deep connection to home, and natural and urban environments. Of her work, she writes, “My home self, the one that sorts, serves, cooks, cleans and organizes, blends with my creative self. The home sets the stage and filters into many endeavors including my efforts to preserve objects and the environment, as well as grow things in the earth.”
475 E. Pioneer Ave.
New metal sculptures by Don Henry
No First Friday opening reception
In a continuation of his September exhibit, Homer artist Don Henry shows new sculpture made in his style of using found objects. Works include a full-size motorcycle, steam punk lamps and animal sculptures. There is no First Friday reception, but the gallery is open with COVID-19 restrictions from 10:30 a.m. t0 5:30 pm. Monday through Saturday.
Grace Ridge Brewery
3388 B. Street off Ocean Drive
Women of Distinction art opening
3-7 p.m., First Friday opening reception
In lieu of this year’s Women of Distinction dinner/auction, South Peninsula Haven House holds a special Oct. 2 First Friday “Buy Now” event at Grace Ridge Brewery. This event includes original pieces of art, framed art prints, pottery, wine, oysters, and many other items donated by individuals and businesses. Twelve items will be available for purchase just for First Friday, while other art will be on display at Grace Ridge and available for sale starting Friday and through October.
Homer Council on the Arts
355 W. Pioneer Ave.
Member showcase by various artists
5-7 p.m., First Friday extended hours
For October’s show, the Homer Council on the Arts features recent work in a variety of media by HCOA member artists. Participating artists include Kiki Abrahamson, Chloe Bechtol, Karalee Bechtol, Barbara Bigelow, Lorna Branzuela, Sharlene Cline, Carly Garay, Desiree Hagen, Ted Heuer, Susan Johnson, Amanda Kelly, Kim McNett, Michael Murray, Lynn Marie Naden, Laura Norton, Karen Roush, Kathy Smith, Oceana Wills, Sally Wills and Barbara Wyatt. There is no formal reception, but there are extended hours to view the show.
Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery
471 E. Pioneer Ave.
Woodwork by Bob Ritchie
No First Friday show. The exhibit can be seen during regular hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday.
In 1980 Alaska became Bob Ritchie’s home, but wood has been his life from a young age, whether he was logging, working in sawmills or cabinet shops, or building homes. Moving to Homer meant learning how best to use local woods, with alder being his choice as it is so abundant. He eventually learned how to remove the bark to reveal the beauty of the natural texture of alder, which he calls “naked alder.” Ritchie loves making furniture, and the shape of the wood dictates the shape of the piece.
In 2018 he began carving green wood bowls, with the added challenge of using only hand tools, but he soon found out most hand tools were not available. He built a forge and an anvil and learned to made his own adzes, carving axes, draw knives, chisels, hook knives and scrapers. He also discovered that Homer birch is a twisty, cross grain nightmare to carve. As with furniture, he lets the form of the log dictate the shape of a bowl.
“None of them come out as I intended, but then, what does?” he writes.
Ritchie sands the insides of the bowls and leaves the outsides faceted so the rough hand carving shows and looks better with age. All are finished with linseed oil, are intended for food, and should be used as such.
3779 Bartlett St.
Sound Collections Showcase
6-7 p.m. First Friday on Facebook Live
The Pratt Museum holds a Facebook Live event for a deeper dive into its Sound Collections. This mini series, produced in partnership with KBBI, explores the wonders of the found items of Kachemak Bay.
“From bits of shells collected on the beach to seed pods found in the forest, we believe that the things we collect can teach us a lot about the place we live,” the museum describes this series. “This First Friday event will feature extended content from past episodes, as well as potential guests from the series speaking more on their collection stories.”
Sound Collections airs on KBBI AM 890 every Sunday at 8:35 a.m. Visit http://www.prattmuseum.org to listen and see all episodes along with photos submitted by the show’s guests.