By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter
Being an artist is a tricky sort of thing. One has to be sensitive enough to one’s surroundings to capture and glean some meaning from the surrounding world. And if those discoveries are ever to have any impact, they must be shared and, in some way, analyzed. Photo guilds are a great way to not only get inspired and motivated, they can provide safe forums for critiquing work and encouraging growth of its members.
The Kenai Peninsula Photographer’s Guild has been active in this area for a long time, and has held strong as an entity, showing often and consistently welcoming newcomers. Their current show on the walls at Cottonwood Center on Marydale in Soldotna is a somewhat limited but lovely range of styles, and it is obvious that the beauty of this area is the driving force for most of the imagery.
Tracie Howard’s “Happy Feet” and Rick Cupp’s “Wonderland Awaits” are really the only two that move anywhere into abstraction, and they are both rich with elements to look for and into.
The tightly cropped natures of both “Vintage Violin,” by Linda Fox, and Genevieve Klebba’s “Creamers Dairy in Fairbanks” are good calls, and really bring mundane subjects to a dramatic point. I am especially excited by the dynamic lines and both the contrast and similarity found between the metal and the wooden elements in the buildings portrayed in Klebba’s work. The tonal range is exceptional, and even the subtle sky feels to be an actor in the complicated play. Pat Lytle’s “Adobe” is a decent crop, as well, and although it is not a black and white, it is nearly so, with only a deep pane’s gray accent on the rustic window.
The good number of black-and-white shots are some of the strongest in this exhibit.
Michael Dinkel successfully combines natural objects with his black-and-white shots, and Sandra Sterling nails an intimate shot of seals on a dock. Buffalo solidly anchor the small strip visible underneath a looming mountain in Clark Fair’s work, John Demske presents a massive tree in high contrast and seemingly weighted down with thick heavy snow, and Yvonne Leutwyler gives us a long-range vista that elicits both a sense of adventure and a sober outlook.
“The Monarch of Mat-Su,” by Tricia Joy Sadler, is in color, but in it a huge, crisp, black-and-white mountain settles into a flaming bed of red tree line.
As for the more colorful pieces, Maria Duran-Pierson has some lovely fun with blue smoke, and Tracie Howard captures some delicious rain on a bright-pink leaf. Laurie Johnson captures birds in the air like a pro, and Mark Pierson has won my heart with a lush expression of velvety forestness.
Zirrus VanDevere is the exhibits and cultural coordinator at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. She has bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and education.