FIRST FRIDAY: Artists established and new

Juneau debuts include Karen Suderman, Michael Murray and JAMHI clients; Barbara Craver shows latest work

Posted: Thursday, September 04, 2008

Artists on display at The Canvas Community Art Studio and Gallery this month include many who have never shown their work before.

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Courtesy Of Michael James Murray
Courtesy Of Michael James Murray

"I will have a piece in here, I'm not sure exactly what it's going to be yet - it's either going to be a rock or a bizarre found-trash-with-photo-insert," said Fred Weiler, residential program supervisor of Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc.

Weiler is one of approximately 30 artists showing work at The Canvas for September's First Friday Gallery Walk.

The show highlights work from people involved with JAMHI.

"A majority of the artists participate in JAMHI residential programs, (others) are in the community using JAMHI services outside of the residence (or are on) the staff," Weiler said.

Licensed art therapist Cecilie Cody, a clinician at JAHMI, also is showing a piece in this collaboration at The Canvas.

"It really is exciting. Not so much having a piece with this show - but being with the artists while they did the pieces. We did all of the pieces in a group setting. Being part of that is really great. What I put in the show, I get to do it in an anonymous way which I never really get to do."

Primarily two-dimensional art, pieces include a small, framed pen drawing.

"It seems very simple but it turns out that the drawing is a self portrait that the artist didn't even realize that he was making. It is very surprising, but I like that part," Cody said.

"Another is an actual painting of kind of a earthen goddess. Faceless, big hips, big breasts, with a lot of color around it. The artist, she is pretty creative with her colors. There's a lot of heavy heavy paint, thick, and is very visceral and tactile."

"Through pieces like these you can see the personality of the person, you see what they've done. Some make art for fantasy, some make art to get rage out, some make it because they're just doodling and something happens," Cody said.

Artists were allowed to choose whether to remain anonymous or sign their names.

"The playing field is level. We don't differentiate between who is doing the work. It's art, " Weiler says.

Singer-songwriter Dao Strom will be performing during the opening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with musical assistance from Patrick Murphy and Bob Banghart.

The Canvas, 223 Seward St., is one of many spots to visit this Friday. Here is a look at what's going on elsewhere in town.

The Creating Place, 175 S. Franklin St.: The Creating Place is hosting a crafters showcase featuring mixed-media art by Cathy Parmelee, tin shrine icons by Paula Rohrbacher and jewelry by Sarah Strickling.

Annie Kaill's, 244 Front St.: The Front St. gallery will feature a collection of new paintings by Barbara Craver. Craver, a landscape and figure artist, founded Juneau's well-known Plein Rein Painters, a group of artists who meet every Saturday outdoors to paint, year-round. Craver works mainly in pastels and acrylics, and she says her landscapes are inspired by a love of color and the beauty of Alaska. Meet Craver from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Front Street gallery.

The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, 350 Whittier St: Karen Suderman, a new local artist, will be featured this month at the arts council. Suderman recently moved to Juneau from Austin, Texas, where she exhibited her work at numerous galleries. In addition to being a fine artist, Suderman, who is facilities manager of the arts council, is an interior faux finish painter.

Suderman will display 10 pieces, both oil paintings and frescos.

The Rendezvous, in conjunction with the Alaskan Brewing Company will warm things up this month by providing a pub in the main hall during the opening reception, held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Proceeds help support the arts council.

The Juneau Artists Gallery, 175 S. Franklin: The Juneau Artists Gallery features another relatively recent transplant, Michael James Murray. Murray, the gallery's newest member, is a landscape and wildlife photographer, as well as a writer and an attorney. He also has lived and traveled all over the world. He will be present at the opening reception to answer questions and talk about his work. His photographs will continue to be displayed at the gallery along with the work of the other 25 members artists after the month of September. Those interested in a preview of his work can visit

• Sarah Conarro is an artist living in Gudstavus and Juneau.

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