JAHC show celebrates artists' specialties

Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2000

In the end, it comes down to beauty.

Juneau artists Mary Stroeing, Terri Gallant and Paula Gregovich met last September to talk about doing a group art show. They considered creating new works around a single theme, but decided to focus instead on their own specialties.

As it turns out, they all have an eye for beauty. But each has a very different vision of what that is.

The fruits of their labors will be showcased in paintings, pastels and sculptures in an exhibit opening Friday at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery. A reception will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the gallery at 206 North Franklin St.

``We're different,'' said artist Mary Stroeing, who works full-time as a medical-surgical nurse at Bartlett Regional Hospital. ``Terri is doing people and stuff from her imagination. I'll have at least 10 pieces, all with the theme of landscapes of Alaska and the North.''

Fall colors and the grandeur of the North Slope and the Alaska Interior served as inspiration for Stroeing's paintings and pastels. Three years ago, she and her husband left Juneau for a two-year trip. They traveled from Atlin, British Columbia, to Prudhoe Bay, spent time in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and five weeks in the Alaska Interior during the fall.

While Stroeing depicts the beauty of nature, Gallant is interested in the beauty of women. She said her work is a cross between reality and fantasy. Rather than simply paint beautiful women, she wants to comment on beauty.

``Society is always giving us a norm on beauty, how we should look - like the pressure to stay thin. Society is obsessed with appearance and weight. We read that we're not good enough if we're not pretty or thin,'' Gallant said. ``I try to bring some of women's issue out in my work and try to tell stories.''

Gallant grew up in Hollywood, Calif., and earned a degree in fashion design before moving to Juneau in 1983. She said she can do lifelike, realistic portraiture, but prefers putting more imagination into her artwork. She's still fascinated by fashion, but she has mixed feelings about it.

One of her paintings in the show is based on a song by rock musician Alanis Morissette, ``That I Would Be Good,'' which also explores the theme of beauty. Gallant took seven lines from the song and wrote them on the painting.

Gallant's expressionistic portraits are done in watercolors, pastels and acrylics. Stroeing's landscapes are done in pastels, oils and watercolors.

Gregovich is the mixed-media artist in the show. Many of her pieces are created out of paper, including an ox-blood-red paper scroll that resembles a woven carpet. She's also created sculptures using paper and wire.

Last week she and a friend made wire-form casts of their torsos, and she covered the casts with wet paper pulp to create life-size sculptures.

Probably the most time-intensive piece in the show is her beaded sculpture of a potted sunflower.

``The things I'm really attracted to are really labor-intensive,'' Gregovich said. ``The beaded plant took about six months.''

Each artist will have about 10 pieces in the show, possibly more depending on space. The reception Friday is free.

Regular gallery hours are 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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