Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber


November brings new art openings | First Friday

October 31, 2012 · Updated 12:14 PM

Brian Fisher’s rust print, “Claiming the Fleece,” will be on display at the Blue Heron. /

Feast on art Friday night at Vashon’s galleries and shops | Most venues are open from 6 to 9 p.m.

Journeys at the Blue Heron

Nine Vashon artists have come together around the concept of “journey” for a rich visual feast at Vashon Allied Arts’ Blue Heron Arts Center. Co-curated by VAA’s Janice Mallman and Island artist Brian Fisher, the exhibit showcases a mixed media group of well-known Vashon artists — Morgan Brig, Fisher, Francesca Fuller, Don Glaister, Penny Grist, Suzanne Moore, Donna Romero, Gay Schy and Valerie Willson.

The group has met monthly since 2005 in one another’s home, where they’ve discussed their various artistic journeys. “I like that these artists support one another through their ups and downs of being an artist and how they’ve come together in a central gallery theme,” Mallman said.

The show includes Fisher’s exploration of the mythic journey of Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece; large-format work by Fuller embracing nature; tactile mosaic sculptures by Grist, a well-known Island jeweler, and Moore’s monotype/paintings inspired by her recent commission based on Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite, “The Planets.”

Live music for the opening will be provided by Island Fusion: Steve Meyer on acoustic bass, Fletcher Andrews on percussion and Jack Barbash on piano.


Traditional robes at Raven’s Nest

Raven’s Nest will display a sampling of Native robes, ornately made clothes that figured prominently in Northwest Coast Native American traditions.

Among the robes on display will be the button blanket, an eye-catching robe considered one of the most spectacular embellishments to the Indian culture of the Northwest Coast and a unique form of graphic and narrative art. The traditional crest-style robe is the sister of the totem pole and, like the pole, proclaims hereditary rights, obligations and powers, according to Sue Shotridge, who, with her husband, runs Raven’s Nest.

Also on display will be Copper Child, “a fabulous example of Raven’s Tail weavings,” Shortridge said. Raven’s Tail weavings are another Northwest Coast tradition, a kind of weaving made entirely with finger manipulation and using design elements that are bold, geometric and graphic.

A collaboration by master weavers Clarissa Rizal and Lily Hudson, Copper Child includes a four-piece set of regalia — a robe, tunic, apron and headdress.

Rizal will also give a free public talk, “The Language of Tlingit Robes,” at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Land Trust Building, followed by a two-day button blanket workshop. Call Raven’s Nest at 567-5826 for more information.


Scenes of Balkan life at the credit union

Martin Koenig, an ethnographer and cultural specialist, will show his historic color photographs capturing traditional rural life in the Balkans at an exhibit at the Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union.

The photos include images from more than 40 years ago, all of them in color and never displayed before, depicting an agrarian lifestyle and village culture that has been lost to modernization and globalization, Koenig said.

Koenig’s work from his years in the Balkans has often been displayed on Vashon. But this is the first time he’s showing some of his color prints; his other work is in black and white. “I don’t usually like color,” Koenig said, noting that it’s often too vibrant and glaring. “But some of these look like watercolors. … There’s a softness that I like.”

The opening will include Croation music played by Islander Tim Jovanovich.


Exploring Wisconsin at VALISE

With election fervor sweeping the country, VALISE is presenting new work by artists Heather Joy (Plutocracy) and Matthew Olds (Up North) — work that draws upon their individual and shared experience as Wisconsinites now living on Vashon.

Joy and Olds met and fell in love in Colorado in 1996 only to discover a shared past — both were raised in Wisconsin and as children spent family gatherings and holidays a few miles apart in the state’s northern woods.

Joy, in Plutocracy, explores her family’s political history (her uncle was a Wisconsin state assemblyman and senator) as well as the national political scene, focusing on what she calls the huge divide between the super wealthy and the rest of the country. Her installation involves 10,000 pins on the gallery wall illustrating economic inequality in the country.

Olds uses paintings, video and installation art as a way to revisit the northern woods of Wisconsin and the cabin his grandfather built — exploring both a present-day perspective as well as that of a little boy wandering the wilds of the northern woods.

Friday’s opening will include traditional foods from Wisconsin, including cheese curds.


Also showing

Vashon Intuitive Arts will show encaustics by Lisa Hurst, an artist who relocated to Vashon after 20 years in New Mexico, Colorado and the Appalachian region. The exhibit, called “Generation,” represents what Hurst calls her reconciliation of “what has been lost and what is possible,” celebrating moments of life at their most dissonant, like snow on forsythia blossoms.

The work of celebrated photographer Ray Pfortner will be on display at Maxwell Family Medicine — an exhibit of a range of photo transfers into beeswax, including some drawn from his travels to Europe in May, his first return to the Old World since he and his wife traveled there 30 years ago. The clinic is located in The Cunningham Building on Bank Road, across the street from Café Luna.

Luke Haynes, a celebrated quilter, will show his work at Island Quilter. He approaches his quilts from an architecture and design sensibility.

The Heron’s Nest will feature paintings and illustrations by Dennis Clouse and ceramics by Mary Hosick.


First Friday film

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” a searing documentary about the controversial Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, will play at Vashon Theatre at 9 p.m. as part of the Vashon Film Society’s Friday Art Film Series. Rated R. Admission is $7.


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