By Alec Clayton
Every year South Puget Sound Community College presents a juried exhibition of works by southwestern Washington artists, and every year an art professional selects a small group of artists from that show to be included in the Juror’s Invitational. The juror for this year’s invitational was sculptor Aisha Harrison, and the artists she invited are Teri Bevelacqua, Doyle Fanning, Karla Fowler, Carrie Larson, Jennifer Lauer, and Susan Pavel. These painters, sculptors and textile and mixed-media artists present a showcase running the gamut of Southwest Washington art.
Bevelacqua’s work is represented by 10 encaustic paintings and one free-standing sculptural cube coated with encaustic. All feature layered areas of translucent, atmospheric blue, yellow and orange, superimposed with thin, scratchy line drawings of buildings, an airplane, trees and other recognizable subjects. One playful piece, titled “And the Cow Jumped Over the Moon,” shows a receding line of big orange moons, which intersects a horizontal line of bicycles. Is it the bikes rather than the cow that jumped over the moon? On one painting, a big hand with pink fingernails reaches down from the top edge. Could this be the hand of God? A female god? The detail adds a note of surprise and humor.
Says Fanning, “My work has focused on print, using digital tools to alter photographs to create works inspired by traditional painting and printmaking media. I also paint and draw and cut and fold paper, because I still love the tactile feel of making.” Her piece “Yes” is a tiny square of paper with the word ”yes” typed on it, adhered to the wall with a red pushpin. That’s it. It’s something anyone could have done, but only she thought of, dispelling again the myth that art is always about skillful making. A statement defines the piece as “an affirmation and a blessing.” Conceptually, it can be seen as belonging in a category of art that includes Duchamp’s “Fountain,” Warhol’s Brillo boxes and Rauschenberg’s “Erased de Kooning Drawing.” Her “Interlude,” ink on paper, is a restful, meditative study in blue, with brilliant blue at the bottom fading to misty white ocean fog over an almost invisible checkerboard of blue squares.
Fowler’s five little acrylic paintings are close-up images inspired by photographs she took along the Oregon Coast. They focus on rusted water towers, parts of piers and moss-covered pilings. One, titled “Reach for It,” shows the handle of what might be a cabinet door, with many areas of blue, green, rust and gray. The handle looks three-dimensional. “Countdown” depicts printed numerals on the side of a barge or pier, indicating the water level. They could also be, as hinted by the title, the countdown to a rocket blastoff.
Larson is showing a single piece: a triangular shelter of wood, paper and monofilament line. Standing almost nine feet tall, it comprises three sculpted corner posts holding three triangular roof sections, with drawings on small pieces of paper suspended by the monofilament. The combination of openness and solidity, and the variety of materials and textures, make for a strong work of art.
Lauer’s group of oil landscapes uses heavy impasto paint and are arranged in forms that represent ocean, shore, sky, mountains and trees. Especially intriguing is a group of four “Imagined Landscapes” portraying “Morning,” “Dawn,” “Dusk” and “Sunset.”
Pavel, Filipina by birth, learned Coast Salish wool-weaving in the summer of 1996. Her master teacher was subiyay, or Bruce Miller, of the Skokomish Nation. Pavel is showing six weavings in zigzag patterns, all abstract except for one, called “Morning Swim.” The latter piece includes a line of trees across the top and, below that, patterned weaving that can be interpreted as ocean waves beneath the trees.
There’s more variety of style and content in this show than in the typical juror’s invitational. It’s a show well worth a trip from wherever one may be in southwestern Washington or anywhere in the world.
2022 Juror’s Invitational
Noon to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday through April 29;
artist talk 6 p.m. Friday, April 22
The Leonor R. Fuller Gallery, SPSCC,
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia