June First Friday

Circuits, crabs, jagged coasts and red telephones

Posted: Thursday, June 03, 2004

Juneau artist Rob Roys was searching for a title for his upcoming show at Annie Kaill's, and though something about this time of the year usually leads him to use more color, the word "spring" didn't sound quite right.

He considered the words "journey" and "circumference" before settling on "circuit."

"Blue Circuit" will include about 17 new pieces, two from 2003, one from 1996, three from 1995, one from 1993, and one or two from his "Dead Mother" series, which showed at now-defunct Portfolio Arts in 1998.

The show opens with a reception at Annie Kaill's at 4:30 p.m. Friday and shows for one week.

"I think some of these paintings look like a circuit board," Roys said. "Others represent the circuit of the seasons, and a journey around a perimeter or some sort of journey where you make a circuit tour of various points of interest. To me, that's what a lot of the lines and circles in my paintings are, points of interest. It's like a period or an underscore, where you want something to be emphasized, so you put a line around it."

Roys' last big show was a December collection of wintry works at Rock Paper Scissors, and a few of those, such as the haunting, hinting "White Cow," return here. A Juneau resident for most of his life, he often sums up his work as simply "lines of color." He arranges his work in piles, adding layers as he feels the need. Some take years, others are finished quickly. Some are cryptic and contemplative, such as the stark, King Kong/John Cleese-inspired "Faulty Towers." A few, such as the inky Others, are violent and ghostly, such as the terrifying-yet-mesmerizing "Rogue," created after Roys saw the now-famous image of the Iraqi prisoner at Abu Ghraib prison standing on a box, wearing a robe, with wires attached to his extremities.

"The color combination of the green and purple, to me, is a violent combination," Roys said of "Rogue." "It's got a real nice composition to it, and I think people have responded to how pretty it is."

The response to the "Dead Mother" series - a set of paintings he created after his mother died - was both positive and overwhelming. A few patrons left in tears. Roys will show "My Dead Mother's Rose," an 30-by-40-inch acrylic and charcoal on board.

He also plans to give away two old sketches - one at Friday's reception, another at a invitation-only collector's evening on Thursday.

• BARANOF HOTEL: Judy Morley and her mother-in-law, Gwendolyn Morley, are selling their collections of Rie Munoz prints and Skip Wallen lithographs, while Fritz Cove artist Sharron Lobaugh is preparing a new show of eight oil paintings and 30 watercolors.

The three artists - Munoz, Wallen and Lobaugh - will be featured in a benefit show for Chapter G of the P.E.O. sisterhood - a 135-year-old national philanthropic organization that provides educational opportunities for women. The show begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 4, in conjunction with First Friday.

Judy Morley will be selling 50 Munoz prints, most of which have never been framed, from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gwendolyn Morley will be offering almost a complete collection of Wallen lithographs. She's previously sold three from the group.

"We're all three very different artists, but I'd say the pieces complement each other," Lobaugh said. "Skip is known for his skilled draftsmanship, and Rie is just famous for all these wonderful, joyous things she produces. She's just been outstanding and I think the community is very proud of her accomplishments. Mine are very colorful. I've been trying to capture the essence of each painting and push the edge a little on the color."

P.E.O. has more than 25,000 active members and has raised more than $95 million for more than 58,000 women. All proceeds from the show go toward women's scholarships. P.E.O. supports Cottey College, a college for women in Missouri, and gives several different kinds of grants for students who wish to continue their education.

Munoz, an Alaska resident since 1951, is well-known for her distinctive work. Her work is in galleries throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. Wallen, an artist and sculptor, may be best known for "Windfall Fishermen," the bronze brown bear that sits in front of the Dimond Courthouse.

Lobaugh, too, is a longtime member of the Juneau art scene. Her latest work, ranging from three to four feet tall to very small, explores color. Her recent paintings have been inspired by Paris, China, Italy, the Yukon and Juneau.

"I'm looking for something that has either a delicateness about it, like a lot of the flora from France, or something that has strength, like the glacier," Lobaugh said. "Every place has a particular energy within it, and I try to convey that within my work, whether it's a foggy mountain scene or a very dramatic mountain."

• JUNEAU ARTS AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL: One year after "Travels to Italy," the June 2003 JAHC show that chronicled the Plein Rein painters' group trip to the Umbrian stretches of Italy, the outdoor-painting collective is back at the arts council with a year's worth of looks at landscapes in Juneau, and beyond.

"New Works" opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the JAHC gallery, 206 North Franklin Street, and runs through June. The show includes new work - 40 to 60 paintings total - from Barbara Craver, Constance Baltuck Hartle, Cristine Crooks, Cynthia Johnson, Jane Lindsey, Jane Stokes, Jim Heumann, Mary Claire Harris, Mary Pat Wyatt, Natasha Zahn-Pristas, Paul Voelckers and Pua Maunu.

Wyatt and Voelckers will display a few paintings from a recent trip to Turkey and Greece. Most of the other work is local vistas.

Though the official reception is 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, a few members of Plein Rein will be at the gallery every Friday evening during June to talk about the show.

"Everybody's just continuing to work on their art and everybody's growing," Craver said. "It's just like any skill. You practice and you get better at it. The people that were very tentative at first are much more confident, and people are taking more classes and looking at other people's works."

Craver and Maunu formed Plein Rein three years ago to meet weekly to paint landscapes. It now includes a core of eight that gets together Saturday mornings at The Fiddlehead or picks spots such as Amalga Harbor and Outer Point. The group's name is taken from the French painting term "en plein aire" or "in the open air." Plein Rein is always seeking new members. For more information, visit the Web site at www.pleinrein.org.

"Even if people don't come and draw with us, I think if they see us doing it, it might make them think, 'I should work on mine,'" Craver said. "When you get together with other people, you draw from their work and you get to see their approach. Saturday mornings are just a social opportunity. Most of the time you're painting and drawing by yourself. It's a nice change of pace to be doing the same scene with other people."

• JUNEAU ARTISTS GALLERY: Photographer Noelle Derse is June's featured artist at the Juneau Artists gallery, 175 South Franklin in the Senate Building.

A Juneau resident, Derse taught herself how to transfer photo emulsion images to glass, paper, rocks and wood. She removes the images underwater, then reshapes and reattaches the edges to create a sense of motion.

Derse has recently been working on photo boxes created from hand-colored image transfers, creating "a three-dimensional display free from the formality and rigidity of traditional 'mat and frame' presentations,'" according to a JAG press release.

The JAG gallery is now open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.juneauartistsgallery.com.

• EMPIRE GALLERY: The Empire gallery, at the corner of Second and South Franklin Street, will be hosting a silent auction from 4-7 p.m. Friday, June 4, for Juneau resident and gallery co-founder Miah Lager. A student at the School of Art Institute in Chicago, Lager lost her art supplies and many of her belongings when her apartment in Illinois burned down. Bidding will be from 4-6:30 p.m., with item pick-up at 7 p.m.

Stacy Montag, drawing and painting; Justin Acevada, drawings; Jared Curé, photos from around the world; Janet Voelckers; and Liz Gifford, photography; will have art hanging on the walls.

• ROCK PAPER SCISSORS: University of Alaska Southeast student Josh Edward, whose self-portrait "The Painter" was recently selected best of show for the April UAS Student Juried Exhibition, will have nine pieces (his first solo show) at Rock Paper Scissors during June.

The show opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday at 245 Marine Way, behind the Paradise Cafe.

All his works are oils, except for a few intaglio prints. The collection includes a few portraits, two still-lifes and a "landscape-ish" view of a clump of birch trees on Lena Loop Road. That painting is divided into two sections - one of trees off in the distance, and another close-up, detailed version.

"I'm getting to a point where I'm interested in challenging the traditional relationship between the viewer and the painting," Edward said. "I feel like it represents a sort of emerging trend of challenging the traditional ways of constructing the painting and trying to add in these multiple viewpoints."

His still-lifes include a red telephone and a painting of a laboratory sink at the university.

"I had gotten to the point where people were really interesting to paint and I didn't need narrative structures beyond that," Edward said. "I feel like this is an extension of that. There are other kinds of common objects in the everyday world, and once you decontextualize them, how do they change? At what point does a painting of an old, red telephone cease being this commonplace object and become something more interesting? If you can paint everyday life and make that interesting to people, than you're really on to something."

• Korry Keeker can be reached at korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.

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