The Devil’s in the Details at South Puget Sound Community College Annual Postcard Show

By Alec Clayton

The annual postcard show at South Puget Sound Community College is arguably one of the most popular art shows in the South Sound. It’s popular probably because it attracts so many artists working in so many styles and media. The current iteration includes more than 130 works.

The criteria for inclusion is the art pieces must be approximately the size of a postcard — a standard that’s been stretched in some cases, particularly with such sculptures as Ron Hinton’s bent-metal pieces with the sleek look of spaceships or supersonic aircraft; or in such funky ceramic sculptures as Joe Batt’s of people in a rowboat, including a man in a red cape and blue suit who might be Superman, a man with horns, and a woman with very large hands.

Artwork by Balaji Srinivasan

Each year there’s a theme, which often invites satire, visual puns and other inventive interpretations. This year’s theme is “Devil’s in the Details,” which presented challenges to the artists. In some cases, the theme was cleverly depicted, as in a black-and-white piece by Sean Barnes that shows the silhouette of a hand in the classic position of a pointed pistol. The hand is pointing at the silhouette of an actual pistol. This repetition of almost identical images with critical differences in the details comes across as both humorous and threatening, in that it can be seen as a symbolic shooting that leads to an actual shooting.

One of the most delightful works is Susan Christian’s colorful, abstract assemblage of little pieces of lathe painted in tones of yellow and green, with one central, coral-colored stick and one square that’s painted mostly black. Her variety within harmony, and the groupings of the square and rectangular shapes in this piece, are fascinating.

Artwork by Gail Wharton

Two black-and-white abstracts by Becky Knold are reminiscent of the works of Michael Spafford, longtime painting teacher at the University of Washington, with simple, segmented, contrasting shapes and rough textures.

There are three interesting figure drawings by Balaji Srinivasan, each very different from the others. One’s a simple line drawing of a seated woman on a yellow background. She’s leaning forward and brushing her hair, which cascades to one corner of the picture. 

Three collages by Gail Wharton feature drawn figures, words and letters. These include written and symbolic statements that aren’t completely readable, which leaves the viewer to try and puzzle them out. There’s a primitive quality of cave paintings to them. 

All visitors must be masked upon entry to receptions, and will need to show identification, along with proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours, to enter the events. Works will be sold through silent auction. Bidding can be done online. All proceeds support gallery programming.

Sculpture by Ron Hinton


Devil’s in the Details postcard show


Noon to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, through Feb. 4;

opening reception 6-8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 7; closing reception 6-8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4


The Leonor R. Fuller Gallery,
South Puget Sound Community College,
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia



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