A show where fishy art is big hit

Posted: Thursday, June 07, 2001

In Jane Terzis' "self-portrait with fish," she's surrounded by whales, fish and an octopus.

It's not her usual sort of drawing. But it fits in perfectly with the theme of "2001: A Fish Odyssey," the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center's summer show.

Terzis is one of four Juneau artists included in the show, which brings together artists from throughout the Pacific Northwest and incorporates numerous types of artwork, all dedicated to celebrating fish.

"We have just an incredible variety here," said Ricky Gease, manager of exhibits and education at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. "There is painting, sculpture, drawings - we have colored pencil, pencil ... There's both acrylics and watercolor and oil paintings."

Some of the more unusual pieces include three items of wearable art - award-winning quilted jackets - and an 8 feet by 16 feet blueprint map of the lower Kenai River.

"It's a participatory art piece - 'My Secret Hole,'" Gease said. Visitors are invited to mark a red dot on their secret fishing hole on the Kenai River.

The Juneau artists whose work is displayed in the show are Terzis, Mark Daughhetee, Daniel DeRoux and David Woodie. Like the other artists included in the show, they were selected through a number of different methods.

"We worked with artists that (have) shown in the Kenai Peninsula College gallery over the last 20 years," Gease said. "Also, we worked with the Decker-Morris Gallery out of Anchorage, and then local artists with whom ... we have done exhibitions."

 

For some of the Juneau artists, the show provided inspiration. Fish aren't one of Terzis' usual inspirations, but the theme of the show meshed nicely with the project she was pursuing at the time.

"I've been doing a series of self-portraits that really are only for myself, because I find self-portraits to be very tricky and loaded," Terzis said. "I happened to be doing this self-portrait - and hating it as I do all self-portraits - when I got this invitation to be in this show. I was looking at this portrait and started visualizing some fish in there, so I put them in."

In contrast, fish make frequent appearances in David Woodie's work. His piece for the show, an oil painting divided into two halves, depicts a block of frozen herring on one side and a picture of himself in the back of a boat preparing halibut bait on the other.

Woodie got the idea from his "own experience fishing."

"(My works) are usually related to fishing or logging in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest," he said.

Each of the artists brings something unique to the show, Gease said.

"People approached it on all different levels," he added. "There was humor, retrospective insight. People drew from their own personal narratives, some people made political statements - there was just a whole wide variety here."

Juneau residents may be familiar with Mark Daughhetee's piece. "Ahab," a striking image of a man with pins stuck in his head, is used on posters for Perseverance Theatre's production of "Moby Dick."

"I did it specifically for Moby Dick, but it has broader applications," Daughhetee said. "It's less of a literal interpretation of a fish and more a narrative that could fit into the fish category."

The show has filled the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center to capacity.

"We're bulging at the seams, honestly," Gease said. "What we're on track with, we expect 20,000 people to see this show over the summer."

"2001: A Fish Odyssey" opened May 1 and will run until Sept. 3 in Kenai. The curator of the show is Gary Freeburg, an art professor at Kenai Peninsula College. General admission is $3 per person; students are free.



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