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Exhibit celebrates the past with near-obsolete art technique

Posted: Thursday, March 06, 2008

The first Polaroid picture was taken in 1947, and the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. The wall is no more, and at the end of this year, Polaroid film will be gone as well.

Courtesy Of Magil Pratt
Courtesy Of Magil Pratt

Juneau artist Noelle Dersé immortalizes both in her upcoming show Friday, March 7, at Annie Kaill's gallery at 244 Front St.

Dersé uses a soon-to-be extinct Polaroid-transfer process to create her pieces. After using a slide-print machine to take Polaroid pictures of slides, Dersé then prematurely separates the film to print negatives on prepared paper.

"Ordinarily, I use slides that I have taken, but for this show, I print 40- to 50-year-old slides taken at far away places," Dersé said. Images of places such as Sri Lanka, Libya, East Berlin, Paris, Luxor, Korea and the former Soviet Union are the main subjects of the show.

Dersé said she is presenting the show for personal reasons.

"We have all these slides just laying around, and since the (Polaroid) art form is dying, I thought it would be exciting to see these amazing places that are so different from today and print some of these slides of places we can't experience anymore," Dersé said.

Due to the chemicals in Polaroid film, Dersé said she can't stockpile it so that future generations may indulge in this art form.

"The film has a shelf life of about a year," she said. "After that, it's useless. So the process will be gone by 2009. I don't know what I'm going to do after that, maybe something else that is quirky."

Dersé's exhibit will be one of many to open during First Friday, when downtown galleries and shops open their doors between 4:30 and 7 p.m. to patrons. The First Friday exhibits this month include:

Alaska State Museum, 395 Whittier St.: "Scenes of Sitka" and "Historical Firearms From Alaska" exhibits both open with a reception from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Back Room at the Silverbow Inn, 120 Second St.: Silverbow Gallery will host an opening reception for "The HEART of Bristol Bay: Photographs from our RED Gold." The exhibit features photography by Lauren E. Oakes and Ben Knight.

Doc Water's, Merchants Wharf: Brenda Stearns - American Sign Language interpreter by day, local artist by night - will present three shows in one at the Merchants Wharf pub. Stearns will present acrylic paintings of Italy, a collection of acrylic paintings of Juneau called "Places of Juneau, Pieces of My Mind," and charcoal sketches in the artistic vein of Leonardo da Vinci. Doc Water's also will be hosting its monthly $5 beer tasting.

Hearthside Books, downtown: Mary Ellen Frank will sign copies of her book "500 Handmade Dolls" as well as show off examples of her work from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the downtown bookstore.

Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier St.: University of Alaska Southeast classmates Beatrice Franklin, Magil Pratt and Alexis Rippe will display their paintings in an exhibit called "Ceci et Cela." Their work in watercolor, pastels, charcoal, oil and acrylic has all been created within the last three years and has not previously been shown in Juneau.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Fourth and Main streets: There will be an opening reception from 4:30 to 7 p.m. for this year's "12X12" community art installation. The exhibit features local artists who have a foot-by-foot space in which to create anything they want.

Raven's Journey Gallery, 435 S. Franklin St.: Tlingit master carver Reginald B. Peterson Sr., of Sitka, will join Ray Watkins, of Juneau, and Duane Bosch, of Hoonah, for a carving circle and display of new work at Raven's Journey Gallery. The public can learn about Northwest Coast wood-carving techniques and view works in progress as well as recent creations by the artists. Gallery owner Johnny Ellis will show new fossil ivory bracelets and earrings in rarely seen colors.

Ruby Room, Emporium Mall: Bridget Milligan, the owner and designer behind the Kodiak Coat Co., will show off a different side of her artistic abilities with her upcoming exhibit of hand-painted kimonos in the Ruby Room. The kimonos range from traditional silk to modern fabrics.



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