Rachel LordKenaga’s work is included in the new art exhibit at VALISE (Courtesy Photo).

Rachel LordKenaga’s work is included in the new art exhibit at VALISE (Courtesy Photo).

In a New Year, VALISE Celebrates Finding a Way Forward

The work of 12 artists in the collective will be featured in a show that will run until Jan. 31.

VALISE Artist Collective and Gallery will ring in the new year by opening a new show, “The Light at the End of the Tunnel,” from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8. The show will run until Jan. 31.

A statement accompanying the announcement of the opening makes it clear what the exhibit is all about — transformation as a difficult year is left behind, and the core values of the group of artists.

“As we move forward into the formidable future and release old routines and contrivances, we embark on a path of rediscovery, restoration and re-connection with open-heartedness and the recognition that the only constant is impermanence,” the statement reads. “Our longing for better days may be what guides us, where our feelings propel us to seek peace, justice, truth, equality, acceptance, shelter, sustenance and environmental protection.”

Artwork by Sharon Shaver is included in VALISE’s January show.

Artwork by Sharon Shaver is included in VALISE’s January show.

The work of the 12 artists in the collective will be featured in the show. Gregory Burnham, Bill Jarcho, Pascale Judet, Rachel LordKenaga, Robert Passig, Sharon Shaver, Hita Von Mende, George Wright, Lenard Yen, Jesse Johnson, Dot Cherch, and Jiji Saunders.

Each artist’s work will be seen in a separate area of the gallery, hung by the artists in separate four-hour time blocks when they can be in the gallery alone.

According to Sauders, the new exhibit will reflect the collective’s optimism.

“So far, VALISE has weathered the COVID storm, and become an even stronger group of artists,” she said. “We are optimistic about the future and understand how essential art is right now. This fall, we opted to sign a new two-year lease. This decision reflects our hopeful outlook as well as a true interest in continuing to make and show art right in town where it is accessible to almost everyone.”

Saunders said the group of artists had learned much during the solitude and silence of much of 2020.

A sculpture by Bill Jarcho will be in VALISE’s new show (Courtesy Photo).

A sculpture by Bill Jarcho will be in VALISE’s new show (Courtesy Photo).

“COVID, the darkness, and the rainy weather have all combined to drive the VALISE artists into their studios to make new work or reimagine old ideas,” she said. “For instance, I am re-creating several small encaustic studies as large landscapes on paper taped to the floor. I am experimenting with thin acrylic paint to create movement similar to the flow of wax in encaustic. The paper feels less precious and frees me to experiment and practice.”

VALISE is regularly open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays 1-4 pm. On Jan. 8, visitors can preview the show before its official opening at 6 p.m.

The gallery, at 17633 Vashon Hwy. S.W., has strict safety protocols including limited capacity, and masks are required.

VALISE stands for Vashon Artists Linked in Social Engagement. The group’s work has a humorous, ironic, and activist bent. Half of the gallery’s shows are by collective members and the other half are by artists from Vashon and beyond, regional and nationwide. The goal of VALISE gallery is to be an important and accessible art venue for the community.


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