FIRST FRIDAY is the last for the summer

Pilcher, Conarro, Lydon and Beason are featured

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008

The final First Friday of the summer has works that range from intaglio prints to ceramics and from papier-mâché to drawings. Several of the usual First Friday hot spots will not hold August receptions but have indicated that they again will feature artists once fall arrives.

Courtesy Of Karen Beason
Courtesy Of Karen Beason

The Juneau Artists Gallery,175 South Franklin St.

Following a yearlong sabbatical, printmaker Leanne Ellis Pilcher is the featured artist this month at Juneau Artists Gallery. Pilcher will be on hand between 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday for the show that includes serigraphy, or silk-screened images, and her intaglio prints, also known as etchings, of Southeast Alaskan scenes and themes.

Pilcher's collection includes original silk-screen and intaglio prints, both framed and unframed, and a variety of note cards. Her work has been included in government publications and literary journals, and has been featured in regional juried shows. Pilcher continues to study fine arts at University of Alaska Southeast and intends to switch her emphasis to the colors of her garden.

Pilcher is a lifelong Alaskan originally from Ketchikan. She holds an Inland Master's License and is a licensed sport-fishing guide.

Pilcher's return coincides with her retirement from a 30-year career in public service with the state of Alaska and University of Alaska Southeast. She said she is looking forward to the opportunities retirement will provide for spontaneous excursions and field sketching. Many of her pieces draw on scenes from local beaches at low tide or the umbrella of the surrounding rain forest.

The First Friday opening reception also will feature the work of the gallery's other 25 member artists.

Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier St.

An opening reception for artist Sarah Conarro's show, "I Ate the Moonlight" will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council gallery in the former Armory. The exhibit will run through Aug. 30.

Conarro grew up near Atlanta in the quaint gold mining town of Dahlonega, Ga. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing. Her work is a range of painting, prints, drawings and installations.

"The title of this show ... is not meant to be profound," Conarro said. "It's speaking to my last year, that my time to just me is at night. Having my darling Margot, who is now 9 months old, essentially has me attempting to figure out a new way of life, thinking a lot about spirituality, and realizing that that is a complicated thing to figure."

After what was thought to be a temporary move to Juneau in January 2006, Conarro has found herself a new home in Alaska. In the arts, she loves collaborating with others of all ages, creating messes, and coming up with hair-brained ideas to make happen.

The Canvas CommunityArt Studio & Gallery

Barbara Lydon's clay sea creatures will be on display in August in a show titled "Something Fishy's Going On!" An opening reception will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 1, and the exhibit runs through Aug. 29.

Lydon describes her art as whimsical and humorous, what she calls a reflection of her personality. The inspiration for the show came from her love of the outdoor world and her efforts to become a fisher-person. Both she and her husband work for the U.S. Forest Service as wilderness rangers traveling by sea kayak, so they are always on the water's surface.

"At low tides, we'll often explore the inner tidal slimes, goos and creepy crawlies, mystified by the way they shake, pucker and squirt," she said.

All of the pieces in this show are hand-built from various clay bodies and fired to cone 6.

Lydon said art has been a key component in her life since she was a child. She studied at Penn State University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in art education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture, with a minor in art history. She has been an art teacher for nine years.

"I don't know how it is that I can play with mud all day and feel completely satisfied," she said. "For whatever reason, clay speaks to me. And what do I do? I respond to it by throwing it, pulling it, pinching it, and contorting it."

Annie Kaill's, 244 Front St.

Juneau paper artist Karen Beason will be showing her block prints and papier-mâché fish sculptures from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the downtown gallery.

Beason specializes in creating original works in fiber, inspired by the marine life and flora of Southeast Alaska.

Born in Ketchikan and raised in Juneau, she spends most of her free time in the great outdoors - combing beaches, hiking in the rain forest, or fishing. Beason's handmade papers are made from local plants, natural fibers and recycled paper products. She gathers and prepares the plant fibers in the summer months and freezes them for later use.

The intensely colored paper pulp is made by hand-dying natural fibers, such as cotton, with pigment. These papers are then combined with Gyotaku and other printmaking techniques in mixed media pieces, or fashioned into three-dimensional designs. Local fish and shellfish are cast, printed, and then integrated into designs that mimic the subject's natural world. When Beason is not busy gathering, preparing or creating, she is busy teaching and sharing the joy of paper making with others, especially children.

In addition to her papier-mâché sculptures, Beason offers block prints. Each of her block prints is created by hand using a linoleum block and unique Alaskan papers she creates herself.

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