Among the Area’s Best: 2019 Southwest Washington Juried Exhibition

ART REVIEW by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS

The 2019 Southwest Washington Juried Exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College has opened. It is sparser this year than previous shows — and that’s a good thing. It means a larger percentage of the art is of top quality and the show does not look overcrowded.

The best of the best in this show are works by Sharon Styer, Jennifer Lauer, Susan Christian, Carin Christy, Marilyn Frasca, Irene Osborn, and one easily overlooked but terrific little painting by Marilyn Bedford (is it mere coincidence that these are all women?). 

Styer is represented with two collages that are surrealistic in their startling juxtaposition of images and in their morbid humor and the oddly disjointed sizes of images.

In “Do our sins of the past come back to haunt us?” we see Nurse Rached from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with an outsized head emphatically turning her back on Randal McMurphy.

“Do our sins of the past come back to haunt us?” collage by Sharon Styer, photo courtesy South Puget Sound Community College.

Christian’s “Quinceañera Hem” is a poignant and mysterious image of the hem of a dress on one corner of a gray expanse of nothingness like a severely cropped image of a woman waiting for something like, possibly, a lover overdue for a long awaited homecoming. 

Two similar works in monoprint and pastels by Frasca each picture what appears to be a dead or dying woman held by other women. These are touching images of mourning — one here at home (“Something About America”) and the other in a far distant land (“Something About Syria”). Showing the two side-by-side indicates just how much alike we all are. These are strong Renaissance-like compositions with amazingly subtle textural markings.

Lauer’s seascape “Fisherman’s Home, South China” is an oil painting with beautifully nuanced color contrasts and harmonies picturing an island of green trees floating in a lavender sea with a streak of orange shooting across the sky and reflected in the water.

Maternal love and commentary on refugees here at home and across the world cannot be any more beautifully represented than in Osborn’s “Refuge Madonna,” a rough-hewn ceramic sculpture of a mother holding her child.

This is a show that must be seen and slowly absorbed.


2019 Southwest Washington Juried Exhibition


Noon-6 p.m., through Aug. 22


South Puget Sound Community College, Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery, 2011 Mottman Rd. SW. Olympia


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