First Friday openings spotlight local, regional art creators

Posted: Thursday, August 05, 2010

"Salmon in the Trees" photos by Amy Gulick

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Courtesy Of Patrice Helmar
Courtesy Of Patrice Helmar

Silverbow Backroom

120 Second St.

Reception: 4-8 p.m.

An exhibit of 15 large-size photographs that bring the Tongass to life by award-winning nature photographer Amy Gulick will be on display beginning Friday at the Backroom Gallery. Gulick spent 2 years paddling, trekking and camping among the bears, islands and salmon streams of the Tongass. More than 160 photos are included in a new book by the same title, published by Braided River. The exhibit runs through Aug. 29.

New photographs by Patrice Helmar

JAHC Gallery, Juneau Arts & Culture Center

Reception: 4:30-7 p.m.

Patrice Helmar's latest work is inspired by the candid style of street photography and still life paintings. The work is the product of three different types of cameras. The exhibit features digital work, the well-known Polaroid 600 style film, and the more rare 3.25 x 4.25 pack film used in Polaroid land cameras. The process of bringing a land camera dating from the late 1950's back to working order resulted in incredibly vivid and timeless looking prints depicting modern subjects.

A collaborative wall installation will be displayed in addition to framed pieces, prints, and three-dimensional standout pieces.

The exhibit opens to the public on Friday and will run through August 30th.

Watercolors by Pia Reilly

Annie Kaill's

244 Front St.

Reception: 4:30-7 p.m.

August's guest artist is Pia Reilly, a popular watercolor artist from Petersburg. Her watercolors feature subject matter from our surroundings, such as local plants like skunk cabbage, trees and landscapes. She paints in a bright, bold style that layers the watercolor much thicker than typical so as to create a look more akin to pastels or acrylic paint. The style is unique, think of it as the bright colors of the American Southwest meets the luscious landscape of the Alaskan Southeast, with a little bit of Reilly's Scandinavian heritage thrown in for good measure.

This Friday will also mark the beginning of the gallery's weekly drawings for $35 gift certificates in honor of its 35th anniversary this year.

Three new prints by John Fehringer are also available at the gallery.

One of Alaska's most recognizable artists and certainly one of the most famous artists to come out of Juneau, Fehringer's artwork is characterized by the airbrush painting technique as well as by his depiction of various float planes and other small aircraft set against stunning Alaskan backdrops.

Juneau's local brewery, the Alaskan Brewing Company, recently redesigned their labels and merchandise with all new images. Fehringer created the images for the new Brewing Company labels and his work is now featured on beer bottles, hats and other paraphernalia around the Pacific Northwest. He has released three of the new images as brand new unlimited edition prints.

"Free Bird" depicts a float plane taking flight against a pristine Alaskan backdrop of water and mountains. "Summer Rapture" has a killer whale leaping out of the water, the image from the label of the very popular seasonal Summer Ale. Finally, "Winter Haven" shows an eagle landing in a snowy spruce tree with the full moon in the background.

"Fin, Fur & Feathers" by Fumi Matsumoto

The Canvas Community Art Studio & Gallery

223 Seward St.

Reception: 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Two magenta colored salmon are swimming in a turquoise stream. A yellow spotted halibut and humpback whales are surrounded by swirls of rainbow colors. Ravens and blue herons are flying through fire and waves of color, and two bright orange fox are strolling across a background of electric blue.

These are some of the animal designs on silk created by Juneau artist Fumi Matsumoto. The artist was born in Japan and raised in Berkeley, Calif. where she graduated from the University of California with degrees in art and education. After she visited Denali Park in 1979 and was impressed and inspired by the awesome grandeur of  the wilderness and its magnificent wildlife, she moved to Alaska.

“A passion for fishing and interest in birds and animals first brought me to Alaska and once I saw the wonderful wildlife here,” Matsumoto said. “I was hooked! This place where salmon, moose, caribou, whales, eagles, bears and wolves run free is a nature lover’s paradise. I moved to Alaska and this has been my home for over 30 years.”

Fumi has a 30-year career teaching art to students from elementary school to university level in both California and Alaska. She works in a variety of mixed media and sculpture including clay, handmade paper,  photography, recycled materials, found objects and silk painting.

“To me the creative process is the most enjoyable aspect of art,” she said. “I love to come up with an idea or a design and work out the challenges involved in executing the work. I usually like to work quickly and freely, but I found this difficult to do when painting with silk dyes using the  wax resist process, which is a technique that has been used for centuries in many cultures around the world to produce beautiful textile arts. Not only is the technique unforgiving, because mistakes are difficult to remove or repair, but it takes time to go through the various stages of the process.”

The design is first drawn in pencil on silk and then gone over with liquid wax and allowed to dry overnight. Colored dyes are painted within the waxed designs and salt or liquid media is used to create unusual textures and washes in the background. The painting is rolled up between layers of newsprint paper and steamed to set the dyes. The silk is then carefully washed to remove the wax and excess dye, ironed and placed in frames.

“The silk dyes allow expressing the subject matter with such bold and brilliant colors. This is different from my subtle Japanese pallet. The images are tighter and confined within the white lines  where the wax resist was applied, but I try to give each of my subjects a sense of movement and a feeling of  the ‘spirit’ of the animal. I want my love, fascination and respect for each creature to be expressed in the finished work.”

Franklin’s First Ever First Friday

Baranof Hotel

127 North Franklin St.

Reception: 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The Baranof Hotel announces the opening of a new fine art gallery. The Franklin Street Gallery at the Baranof Hotel will offer an attractive and permanent space at a well-known local landmark as a classic art gallery. The focus of the gallery will be to display quality, collectible, original artwork by Southeast Alaska artists, including in particular, landscape paintings of Alaska.

Featured artists at Friday’s opening include Barbara Craver, Cristine Crooks, Colleen Goldrich, Pua Maunu, Jane Stokes and Constance Baltuck.

A distinguishing feature of this new gallery is that it will show only original work.  These days, with so many prints being made in such large editions, this is an unusually strong statement of appreciation for the exclusive quality of art that is not produced for the masses; original art is created one piece at a time. A painting or piece of jewelry or pottery that is the only one of its kind has an added value; it is imbued with the mystery of creation.

Aunt Claudia’s Dolls exhibit

Aunt Claudia’s Dolls museum

114 S Franklin Suite 105, above Hearthside Books

Open hours: 2-7 p.m. Friday, 12-4 p.m. Saturday

Aunt Claudia’s Dolls, a museum housing the collection Claudia Kelsey, features more than 500 dolls and miniatures collected from all over the world, some from the 18th and 19th century. The collection curator, Douglas doll artist Mary Ellen Frank, will be present with the collection’s owner, Bea Shepard.

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