By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter
Susan Joy Share seems quite capable of sharing her joy through her meticulous, thoughtful and adventurous book creations. This is the kind of body of work with which I could spend a whole afternoon, delightfully coming across visual goodies I’d missed the first five times through. It is currently showing in the Gary L. Freeburg Gallery at the Kenai River Campus of Kenai Peninsula College.
It’s pretty much impossible to pick a favorite, and just when I think I have narrowed it down some, another wonderful element in another piece presents itself and I am pleasantly confounded. Share presents a nice mix of immaculate handling and Dadaist collage, so that the awe factor is met in regard to her great skill, yet we are also challenged by the images to think more deeply about the meanings inherent in the pieces.
While I love the smooth-edged, clean feel of “Midnight Sun,” an accordion-pleated book pulled full circle to create a sort of fancy monolith, the rugged and haphazard sensuality of the “Lumber and Log Book” called to me, and it took everything in me not to grab the thing and find a corner to “read” it in.
The noodly looking rubber on the front of “Drink Your Tea Slowly” captured my attention and affection immediately, “Rose Reflection” felt decidedly Japanese, “Slipping Away” was sort of mind-boggling in its simple beauty, and the serene flow of “Grace of Wit, of Tongue and Face” put me in a contemplative mood.
When I first approached “Palimpsest Dustpan” I was impressed with the professional handling
and timeless design elements evident in the tall, mature-looking wall hanging, and it was not until I looked through the lens of the camera that the face in the box at the top opened up for me. It felt like being given a gift inside of a gift, and it made me giggle.
Other giggle-worthy pieces were the three figurative works that at first felt like African effigies, full of the necessary magic and terror and humor befitting those. They, like all of the pieces in this show, are perhaps mostly
about loving the material with which the artist is working. She is obviously as reverent as she is playful with her medium, and her intelligent response to those materials is inspiring.
“Wall Clacker” didn’t impress me visually as it might have appealed to my auditory and tactile senses, if I had a chance to actually make it clack, and the 3-foot-long pencil seemed more of a fun project than an art piece. But, overall, I was wowed at every turn by this exhibit, and will definitely be heading back for a longer visit with the unique and beautiful objects while I still have a chance.
The exhibition runs only through March 2, at which time the artist will be present for a “Closing of the Books” closing reception and artist talk that will begin at 5 p.m. in the gallery.
Zirrus VanDevere is a local mixed-media artist and owns Art Works. She has bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and education.