Island galleries strut their stuff
By ELIZABETH SHEPHERD
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Arts Editor
June 2, 2009 · 1:48 PM
Vashon’s galleries will roll out the red carpet for June’s First Friday Gallery Cruise. Art aficionados, get ready for an artful stroll.
Vashon Allied Arts spotlights local talent
The Blue Heron Gallery will feature the work of three Island artists in June, with an opening reception slated for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 5. The reception will feature refreshments and live piano music by Jim Hobson, as well as time to meet the artists.
Donna Botten, a watercolorist; Kristen Reitz Green, who paints in oils; and Mike Urban, who makes steel sculpture, will have works in the show.
Island native Donna Botten has long enjoyed drawing portraits, dabbling in oils and making quilts. However, she said she wishes she had started painting watercolors earlier in life. Making up for lost time, she now paints every chance she gets.
“I can start painting and never have another thought for the rest of the day,” Botten said.
Botten, who belongs to Northwest Watercolor Society and shows at the Women Painters of Washington Gallery, will show some of her favorite Vashon scenes, includng Charlie Tuna’s old tractor, an Island barn and a vintage bicycle.
Another artist in the Blue Heron show, Kristen Reitz Green, is more of a newcomer to painting. The artist is a Julliard graduate and played French horn professionally, traveling with touring Broadway musicals and playing in the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s orchestra. She also taught music at Western Washington University.
Now, Reitz Green has traded her music career for art and paints every day in a five-sided studio built by her husband.
Reitz Green has painted one piece per day for the past several months. Her subjects revolve around her home life — portraits of her children, chickens in the yard, languid cats, flowers and vegetables from her garden.
“I love it, the medium,” she said. “It’s unexpected. I can’t see myself doing anything else.”
Mike Urban, who is also in the show, focuses on steel sculpture.
Urban worked for 20 years for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as a photojournalist. While he still does freelance photography, he now combines his love of history and sculpture.
Calling himself a “taxidermist in steel,” Urban scans the Internet for images of novel creatures with interesting lines and culls through rusty piles at estate sales, barns and yard sales for bits and pieces that take on new life in his sculptures.
Designed to be displayed both indoors and outdoors, Urban’s sculpted creatures range in size.
An artful garden grows at Two Wall
Two Wall Gallery will be open during the gallery cruise from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 5, but the reception will only be the kick-off to “Hardscape,” a month-long, ever-changing installation by Vashon artist and designer Jack Strubbe.
Strubbe said the exhibit would “evolve and grow like a garden throughout the month” and culminate during Vashon Allied Arts Garden Tour weekend, June 27 and 28.
He urged Islanders to check in at the gallery frequently throughout the month to see changes in the exhibit.
Several musical presentations will be featured in the show, including The Seattle Mandolin Quartet, which will appear during Garden Tour weekend, and Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang, who will create a soundscape for the exhibition.
Strubbe, who is best known in the Northwest as a landscape designer and member of the Vashon Tile Guild, said this exhibit marks a return for him to more sculptural, collage and word-based works.
A four-woman show at Silverwood
Silverwood Gallery will continue its current exhibition with new work by Gretchen Hancock, Ivonne Escobar de Kommer, Randee Fox and Liz Lewis.
The gallery will be open during the June 5 gallery cruise.
Hancock, an artist who has painted for more than 20 years, stressed the importance of her heritage in an artist’s statement.
“I grew up in Nebraska where trees were sparse and the view was 10 miles to the horizon,” she wrote. “I am still attracted to that distant view and that feeling of openness and unlimited possibilities that it suggests.”
Silverwood Gallery has a number of works by Hancock that depict Vashon’s beach and town life.
Fox’s work in the Silverwood show is part of a series she called “the journey to lost and found.” She said the paintings tell “a universal story that can be applied to any lost love and the courage it takes to heal and ultimately create and fill the void with what is desired.”
Escobar de Kommer works with metal, creating copper repoussé sculptures and other works in bronze, aluminum, brass and silver.
Lewis, a well-known Island potter, has received numerous commissions and accolades for her own work, which includes raku vases, dinnerware, cups, bowls and other functional and decorative items.
A painterly show comes to VALISE
VALISE Gallery will present Seattle painters Amy Huddleston and Jane Emens in a show called “Foresight.”
The exhibit opens from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 5.
According to VALISE member JiJi Saunders, the show is about “the quiet spaces and naïve moments that open our minds to glimpse clairvoyance.”
Saunders compared Emens’ paintings to the muted works of color field artist Helen Frankenthaler.
Huddleston’s paintings, according to Saunders, “convey a primitive simplicity.”
Her subjects, Saunders said, include “omnipotent children and fantastical landscapes.”Contact Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Arts Editor Elizabeth Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-463-9195.