First Friday

Nudes, trees, raku and nails coming out of mouths

Posted: Thursday, July 01, 2004

Acrylic on canvas: Alan Munro's "Alaskan Vigilante" and other works will be on display this month at the JAHC.

uneau painter Elise Tomlinson's work took a radical turn about five months ago, when she fell headlong into the obsessive splendor of the photo-manipulation software Adobe Photoshop.

Tomlinson had long been interested in detailed macro-photography of plant life - lichens, moss, skunk cabbage and fiddlehead ferns. With Photoshop, a program she had tinkered with as a Web developer, she realized she could delete everything but the part of the picture she really wanted.

That led to a foray into collage. Tomlinson began combining elements of her plant photography, basic shapes of her landscapes and the curves and lines of models.

"I thought some of these shapes have similar qualities," she said. "I started manipulating them in Photoshop, and I found they were really complementary, and I got on a roll."

Tomlinson used to paint off sketches, but now finds that she can spend five to 10 hours manipulating a scene before breaking out her oil paint. She will show 10 to 11 of her new paintings July 2-31 at the Friendly Planet's loft space, 200 Seward Street. The show opens from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, July 2, and includes live Celtic and bluegrass music by Greg Burger and Mary DeSmet's Full Circle Music from 5-7 p.m.

"When you already have a firm idea of what you want, you're not as free to experiment as you would be if you were winging it," Tomlinson said. "So that might be a slight drawback, because you don't have as many moments where you say, 'Hey, I wonder what would happen if I put this over here."

"There's still some magic that happens on the canvas when you're painting," she said. "There's a lot less frustration with things not looking the way I had hoped or a color scene not being balanced."

Of Tomlinson's 11 new paintings, only two of her models are fully clothed.

"Part of the reason why I don't paint clothed women is I find clothing hides the part of the shape that makes it complementary to the landscape," Tomlinson said.

• JUNEAU ARTS AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL: Alan Munro was painting and listening to KBJZLP/94.1 FM one day, when he heard an old Les McCann song, "Make it real - compared to what."

"I do semi-abstract stuff, and that title caught me," Munro said. "It's a good question to ask anybody - real compared to what?"

All at once, Munro had the title for his new solo show, which opens at 4:30 p.m. at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, 206 N. Franklin Street, and runs through the month. He expects to have 32 new acrylic works (plus one with bone pigment) on canvas and paper. A few of the paintings were done in December 2003, most were completed in 2004.

"I'm not big on themes, but this time I kind of got caught up in some outdoor stuff, trees and so forth," Munro said. "There are local places where I went out and did some outdoor sketching and brought it back to the studio and had more fun with it. I took great liberties with the real compared to what concept."

Munro, the former curator and director of the Alaska State Museum, has been painting full-time in Juneau since 1986. For more information about his work, visit

"I don't really think in terms of a painting being done, because I'm constantly seeing new opportunities in it," Munro said. "I think in most of my works I never seem to stand still in terms of dwelling on what was happening before."

• ROCK PAPER SCISSORS: After a brief hiatus, Douglas artist and ceramicist Rachael Juzeler has returned to nonrepresentational clay maskmaking, hence the name of her latest exhibit, "Regression."

The show opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 2, and runs through July at Rock Paper Scissors, 245 Marine Way, behind the Paradise Cafe.

Juzeler pit-fires clay in her front yard, near Sandy Beach. Her masks - semihuman and somewhat alien - include found objects such as sand, copper and driftwood that she gathers from the beach. In some masks, parts of the heads are cut off and filled with rocks. In some, the cheeks are removed, with rusted nails emerging from the mouths.

"A lot of people liked them and wanted to see more of them," said Juzeler, a brewer at the Alaskan Brewing Co. "I found I didn't really enjoy doing them all that much, but it was something I fell back on. They're kind of traumatic looking, somewhat frightening. But it's easy to work through things when you're doing artwork."

"Regression" will include six masks, a series of wall sculptures and four to five baskets made of rusted wire, driftwood and found objects. Juzeler was experimenting with building garden planting tables and began making the baskets, some two feet long by a foot wide.

• JUNEAU ARTISTS GALLERY: Juneau potter Jean Boch plans to display about 50 new pieces of stoneware and raku birdfeeders and clocks, as July's featured artist at the Juneau Artists Gallery, 175 South Franklin Street.

Boch, her husband, Steve, and their son, John, moved to Juneau from northern Virginia in 1991. She brought the 1,400 bricks of her first gas kiln. Boch taught clayworking in Virginia and owned a gallery, Dutch Creek Pottery, in Reston.

The majority of her work is fired in a reduction kiln to temperatures of almost 2,400 Fahrenheit. In raku, the piece is removed from the kiln at 1,850 degrees and placed into a reduction chamber filled with combustible materials (straw, paper, leaves, seaweed, etc.). The combustibles ignite and the container is covered to allow smoke to saturate the ware.

• EMPIRE GALLERY: Vermont filmmaker Meredith Holch, one of the guest artists at Juneau Dance Unlimited's ongoing Fine Arts Camp, will screen four of her animated film and video shorts from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, July 2, at the Empire Gallery, near Second and Franklin Streets.

The event, "Animate for Peace and Justice," is being billed as "an evening of lo-tech, no-budget animation."

Holch combines magazine cut-outs, toy soldiers, claymation, torn paper and household objects to make her subjects come to life. The themes range from fear of winter to anti-rent rebellions to anti-war movements and homeland uprisings. For more information, visit stories/061404/loc_artscamp.shtml.

The shorts:

• "My Hero," three minutes, Super-8. Plastic hero figures such as army men, firemen and knights perform unexpected actions as giant icicles loom overhead.

• "Hdwd Flrs, No Fee, No Pets," 20 minutes, 16-mm film and mini-DV. A call-to-action of sorts, this video tells the "real true life tragedy" of apartment renters which is caused by the current real estate boom in New York City.

• "And Night Also Never Comes For the Rest," 8 minutes, mini-DV on VHS. This anti-war video is a response to events set in motion long before Sept. 11.

• "Spoon," 8 minutes, mini-DV on VHS. A stop-motion animated, personal take on the "real" State of the Union.

• ANNIE KAILL'S: Annie Kaill's, 244 Front Street, will display "Juneau Scenes," a collection of Juneau prints and originals by several different artists.

The show opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 2.

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