Arts Walk Highlights

By Alec Clayton

[quote]Arts Walk is a preview for my Olympia friends and collectors of my new collection of work. – Debra Van Tuinen[/quote]

Barlow Palminteri, featured artist for Arts Walk at Art House Design, is well-known for his realistic, sharply focused paintings of interiors, often peopled by friends. The people and objects in his paintings tend to be interwoven like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and his paintings of his own studio become pictures within pictures. The paintings he’s showing at Art House have some of these characteristics, but in many ways they’re a radical departure from the work for which he’s best known. For one thing, the sharp focus gives way to a hazy, soft-edged look, and the subject matter is only partially contemporary.

He’s showing paintings that are homages to Italian Renaissance masters. “At the core of my group,” the artist says, “are five large canvases that pay tribute to medieval Italian masters Duccio di Buoninsegna and Giotto di Bondone. The paintings have iconic images and devotional themes. Their shared characteristic is manifold composition — designs that extend beyond single panels, pictures within pictures, and cross-referenced imagery.”

One triptych is a copy of the main front panel of Duccio’s “Maestà,” a Madonna and child flanked by prophets and angels. There’s a small painting of his own canvases stacked on a fireplace hearth with, among other subjects, the “Maestà” and a picture of a striding Godzilla.

Art House Designs represents hundreds of artists. In addition to Palminteri’s work in the main gallery, many of these artists will be on display throughout the building.

Chris Maynard’s feather art has been shown often at Childhood’s End Gallery, and it’s been shown and purchased for private collections worldwide. Using such delicate instruments as forceps, magnifying glasses and eye-surgery scissors, Maynard carves feathers into intricate art. Typically, a Maynard piece might be a single feather or group of feathers into which he’s carved images of birds. Often the tiny, cut-out birds are mounted on the wall as a murmur flying around the larger feather.

Displayed at times in deep frames or shadowboxes, sometimes mounted directly on the wall, they can resemble paper-cut art or woodcut prints but with more detail. There’s a lot of back-and-forth play between positive and negative shapes. Background becomes figure, figure becomes ground.

Appearing with Maynard for Arts Walk will be wire sculpture by Colleen Cotey and pastels by Mary Denning.

Local painter and art teacher Diana Fairbanks will show recent works at Blackbird Mercantile for Arts Walk.

“My work at Blackbird Mercantile is from a direction that I call ‘Sienna Dreams,’” says Fairbanks. “Since my first trip there five years ago, I have fallen in love with Sienna, Italy. The paintings at Blackbird were done there.”

Mia Magdalena of Blackbird Mercantile says, “Diana’s work is dynamic and expressive. Her pieces on display at the Blackbird for Arts Walk vary from studies on a single image to moments in Sienna that truly make you feel like you are there. Diana’s work resonates at a high frequency and we are thrilled to be able to show it off.”

Also showing at Blackbird will be artists Ellen Becker and Cathy Pfeil.

Encore Chocolates & Teas will feature five visual artists and a couple of authors for Arts Walk. Since the shop is crowded with chocolates and teas, there will be few artworks inside, with most of the art displayed in the atrium.

Photographer Frank Hesketh shoots native wildlife and more. “Taking images of wildlife and landscapes,” says Hesketh, “allows me to focus on the place we come from and to which we belong. Pointing my camera at celestial objects forces me to appreciate how small we are and how little we experience, how little we know of our universe.”

Jannah Kirkland creates dense, abstract paintings. She was trained in realism for 20 years, she says, but now focuses mostly on abstract paintings: “My painting style is mostly intuitive and free-form, focusing on color and movement and painted largely on handcrafted canvases made for me by my partner.”

Also being shown are Native American-style flutes by John Ames, animal art by Mariah Regina and paintings by Aaron Turcotte. Authors on hand to discuss their own work will be Simon Calcavecchia and Martin Kimeldorf.

Upstairs at Bucks 5th Avenue, Devon Damonte will show a collection of cyanotypes, commonly known as sun prints, made using photograms or shadowcasts of objects placed on paper and washed out by sunlight. Calligrapher Sally Penley will show new works in sumi and collage alongside her new text mobiles, which she calls “haikus I’ve written from a cat’s or dog’s perspective.”

Penley’s kitty and canine haiku are sweet line drawings of cats and dogs with such pieces  as “I can be naughty / You forgive and I forget / Endless, boundless love” printed in calligraphic style.

The indomitable Susan Christian returns to Salon Refu, the arts space founded and once managed by Christian and now run by artist and costumer Lucy Gentry. Christian’s paintings will be shown at Arts Walk and continue throughout the month of October.

She will show a lot of familiar work, some possibly reworked, such as her stick paintings and the long paintings with curtains that have graced the walls of Stable Studios and Childhood’s End Gallery and Salon Refu. Add something new described thusly by Christian: “Lucy and the great John Corzine and I are figuring out how to do some stuff that some people might call ‘sculpture’.”

The stick paintings are made from old sticks that are painted and stacked or hung from the ceiling. The long paintings are contemplative works that represent longing and emptiness or waiting.

Christian says, “We scraped off Salon Refu from the front door.  Maybe there will be a new name. We should think about that.” Whatever the name, the art will be both new and familiar.

“Arts Walk is a preview for my Olympia friends and collectors of my new collection of work,” Debra Van Tuinen says, speaking of her show at Waterstreet Café. “This collection will be shown in Vancouver, British Columbia, for a show by five woman painters at Artworks Gallery; at Ledger Law in Tacoma opening October 18 and Butters Gallery in Portland for my November solo opening November 1 and 2. This collection of deeply textured, watery surfaces is more about color and light, yet brings to mind icy glacier melts, polar bears and the bays and beaches of the Northwest.


5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5,
Noon – 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6



Free, artwork for sale



Barlow Palminteri


Art House Designs,

420 Franklin St. SE, Olympia





Chris Maynard


Childhood’s End Gallery,

224 Fourth Ave. W, Olympia





Ellen Becker, Diana Fairbanks and Cathy Pfeil


Blackbird Mercantile,

430 Washington St. SE, Olympia





Artists’ group show


Encore Chocolates & Teas,

116 Fifth Ave SE, Olympia





Devon Damonte and Sally Penley


Bucks 5th Avenue,

209 5th Ave. SE, Olympia





Susan Christian


Salon Refu,

114 N. Capitol Way,Olympia





Debra Van Tuinen


Waterstreet Café,

610 Water St SW, Olympia



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