Opening features 3 artists

Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2000

Potter Lisa Blacher built a fire in her driveway Monday night.

Blacher was smoking a set of pots she's including in a group show this week at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery. Blacher, photographer Shar Fox and printmaker Matt Lewis will present about 50 new works at the show, which opens Friday. A reception with all three artists will be held at the gallery from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Blacher loaded her pots in a brick box she's built, added cedar chips and stuffed it full of newspapers before lighting it on fire Monday. A sheet-metal lid kept the fire under control.

The pots had been fired earlier in an electric kiln to give them structural integrity. "This is to smoke them and give them color," she said.

About 10 of the 20 ceramic pieces in the show will be smoked.

"It depends on how they come out," she said. "One already exploded."

The pots are finished with a paste wax, like floor wax, which makes them shiny. There's no glaze on them at all.

Blacher also will have carved clay pots and tiles, painted with acrylic and given a wax patina.

Matt Lewis is a friend of Blacher's from Portland, Ore., and she brought him into the Juneau show. He's a printmaker by trade and training, but he said his contributions to the show will be a twist on printmaking. He's inked and framed the actual carved woodblocks, not simply the prints.

"It's more a carved drawing than anything else," he said. "It's no longer a woodblock that would be printed for a multiple edition. There's charcoal on them, and smudges of color."

He said he's done carving on several levels within the block, not just the surface as with a typical woodblock. He'll have about a dozen pieces in the show.

Shar Fox's hand-tinted black-and-white photographs have appeared in several exhibits over the past few years. She has a new batch of work for this show, including some color photographs and black-and-white images she did not hand color.

"It's a pretty eclectic collection. I felt a little more playful this time, and some are a little more serious. Kind of representing the life cycle, which is a theme in my work anyway," she said.

In preparation for the show, Fox said she spread dozens of photographs out in her house. As she sorted through them, she noticed similarities and contrasts between images that inspired her to pair them.

"I matted them together because they seemed to bring out different things in one another. There's a relationship that seems to be there," she said.

Her work includes a range of subjects, but flowers have been a favorite for the Juneau artist and acupressurist.

"They go through their life cycle with so much grace," she said.

The group show will be on display at the arts council gallery through mid-October.

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