Looking out Looking in

Joint art show captures outside scenes and intimate settings in paintings, drawings and pottery

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002

Looking Out, Looking In," an exhibit of works by local artists Lisa Blacher and Kathy Hocker, will be featured at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery during November.

The show of clay vessels, graphite drawings, carved tiles and mixed-media illustrations will open with a reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at the JAHC gallery at 206 North Franklin St. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

The artists said their works provide visual interest, while schemes of observation, reflection and narration tie the show together. Blacher's work speaks of home and hearth and of the world beyond. Some pieces hold promise of an adventure to a far-off land, while others are as serene as spending time curled up on a couch, visiting a close friend. Hocker's detailed work provides an up-close-and-personal view of some of nature's treasures with realistic illustrations that capture textures, dimensions and colors.

While the theme "Looking Out, Looking In" represents the artists' work together, it also reflects their individual art. Hocker, whose work includes providing natural history science illustrations for books, said that for her, natural history refers to the "out"' part.

"The 'in' is I like looking closer," Hocker, 34, said. "When I draw something, it helps me better understand it better and appreciate it more."

Blacher's work includes interior scenes, exterior landscapes and outside views seen through windows and doors. She describes the interior landscapes as both physical and psychological.

"They're real, but they're also larger," she said. "It's a 'big picture/little picture' kind of thing."

Juneau has been Blacher's home for about eight years. She said her dreams, her garden, traveling and the natural surroundings of Southeast Alaska inspire her art. Blacher, 40, works with earthenware clay, which she wheel-throws or hand-builds, and then carves. Next the pieces are fired, and finally they are painted with acrylic paint and wax-based patinas. The pieces range in size from 3-inch wall tiles to 18-inch vessels.

Blacher has worked with pottery since she attended college, and she started carving just a few years ago. She also teaches beginning ceramics at the University of Alaska Southeast. Blacher's pieces are sold at Caribou Crossings downtown and in Skagway. She also participates in two studio shows annually, in collaboration with other artists.

In "Looking Out, Looking In," Blacher will feature 5- to 18-inch-tall pots that have been carved and painted, depicting night cityscapes and other settings. She'll also show a series of 8-by-8-inch tiles, also carved and painted, depicting views from inside with windows and doors opening to surrounding scenery.

Hocker, who has lived in Juneau 28 years, works in graphite, colored pencil, acrylic, watercolor and pen.

"I have an eclectic mix of media," she said. "I like to experiment."

Some of her pieces are actual natural history illustrations; others serve as visual journals of her outdoor explorations. Pieces of Hocker's work at the arts council show will feature plants, birds, animals, stones, eggs and the like, as well as a series of "bent" plants inspired by herbarium specimens.

In the process of creating her work, Hocker said she finds herself drawn deep into each subject, savoring the patterns, texture and architecture of nature.

"I hope my work inspires viewers to do likewise," she said.

Hocker enjoys learning, and when she paints or draws something, she feels she's learned much from being forced to look closely at an object and to think about it for a long time.

"Take fireweed, for example," she said. "When I walk by it alongside a trail, it's like we wink at each other, and say, 'I know you.' "

The artists' work, which is available for purchase, will remain on display at the gallery throughout November and can be viewed Monday through Friday from noon until 4:30 p.m.

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