Art Seen: December shows offer visual gifts

By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter

This untitled painting is on display at Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street in Soldotna.

Cruisin’ the towns again, just looking for what the eye may see.

Odie’s Deli had a First Thursday opening last week for the Kenai Peninsula Photographers Guild, many of the coffee shops have new work up, and the show was new again at the 4-D Interiors gallery upstairs (which, from the sound of it, may not be occurring again for a while, at least not under the Artists Without Borders title).

I’ve got what I consider to be a top-notch exhibit on display at Art Works through December. K.N. Goodrich has a series of pastels on paper, inspired by old and deteriorating dock pilings in Seward, a town she was born in but never lived in, like so many semi-old-timers in this area. It was the only hospital servicing the Kenai Peninsula for a long time.

“Electric Chickens” by Laura Faeo at Funky Monkey in Kenai.

A number of pieces caught my eye on this most recent trek through exhibit spaces.

Probably the most intriguing was an untitled work by Heather Elder at the old Kaladi’s on Kobuk. It’s large, done on canvas and utilizes some element of object placement. It is very much in line with some of my favorite art to experience.

Most of the works displayed there are celestial-themed paintings by Erika Zumwalt, who has an elemental and sophisticated approach to her art for an artist in her early 20s. In “Mars” she has used what looks like silicone or hot glue on top of paint and then added more paint on top, catching the 3-D aspect of the work and intensifying it.

There are numerous lovely watercolors at the Artists Without Borders exhibit at the 4-D Interiors gallery, especially by Pam Mersch, Donna Schwanke, Georg-Anne Phillips and Victoria Ann Worral, and a fascinating little ballpoint pen rendering by Worral, as well. It is called “Idle Thoughts” and is slightly stylized and very folky, very much like the combined show at The Funky Monkey in Kenai.

Celia Cash and Laura Faeo have joined forces at the Funky Monkey to celebrate a long and creative friendship. Faeo’s fetishes and highly stylized fantasy paintings go well with Cash’s playful fiber work and watercolors.

I didn’t get a chance to review the annual watercolor juried show this year at the Kenai Fine Art Center, on exhibit in November, but the top awards were as follows:

“Lady in Red” by Pam Mersch at the Artists Without Borders gallery in the 4-D building in Soldotna.

Best of Show: “Squash” by Gwen Thomas.

First Place: “Content to Nest (Stay)” by Georg-Anne Phillips.

Second Place: “Bluets” by Donna Schwanke.

Third Place: “Daisy Power” by Juli Sexton.

Honorable Mentions: “Strawberry & Lemon” by Pam Mersch, and “Blue Bunny” by Jenny Johnsonz.

Zirrus VanDevere is a local mixed-media artist and owns Art Works gallery in Soldotna. She has bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and education.

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