Review: The Annual Juror’s Invitational Exhibition at SPSCC

by Alec Clayton

Two of the best art exhibits in the South Sound are the annual juried exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College and its spring follow-up, the Juror’s Invitational highlighting works by award-winning artists from last year’s juried exhibition. Juror Erin Dengerink invited seven outstanding artists to submit works for this year’s invitational. They are Cebron Kyle Bradford, Jennifer Lauer, Becky Frehse, Becky Knold, Sandra Bocas, Allyson Essen, and Charles F. Pitz.

Intimate scale shrine by Charles F. Pitz

Circling the gallery left to right, the viewer first comes upon a trio of meticulously crafted curio cabinets or memento mori or intimately scaled shrines or reliquaries — all of that. These are not the same memento mori he showed in the 2022 juried exhibition.

Oil cityscape “Squall” by Allyson Essen

Next are Essen’s traditional landscapes and cityscapes that are heavy on abstract-expressionist slashes and layers and zips and drips of oil paint. They are dark and exciting with rich colors and carry a sizeable wallop despite their modest scale. One of the cityscapes, “Squall,” includes clouds over buildings painted with an incredible burst of energy.

“Lady Looking Up,” painting by Sandra Bocas

Bocas, shows two of her deceptively simple portrait heads with brilliant colors. The smaller of the two, “Woman Looking Up,” has an intense orange and red background and an incredible Z-shaped road of pink that zig-zags down across gray hair on onto the bridge of her long nose.

Group of three mixed media paintings by Becky Knold

Knold has discovered tar as a painting medium and exploits its viscosity and strength when used in conjunction with a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional media such as oil paint, solvent, graphite and more on paper, board and other supports. She has 10 paintings in this show. They are abstract with simply shaped forms in tones of brown, black and white and have the look of ancient religious icons.

“Pax,” painting by Becky Frehse

Frehse is represented by two monumental paintings that, displayed next to Knold’s paintings, dominate the broad back wall of the gallery.

Each of her paintings is 60-by-48 inches. “Pax” is an expressive and atmospheric abstraction in tones of yellow-green with a series of hard-edged yellow stripes zipping across, under, and through fields of expressive brushstrokes; while the mostly blue “Swimming with Pelicans,” which, while still abstract, contains imagery of pelicans swimming in blue, blue water.

“Night Thoughts,” oil on paper by Jennifer Lauer

Lauer is represented with a group of six small figures in oil on paper, each painted with soft-edge blobs of color lying side-by-side and floating on a soft background. Some of her figures are abstracted to the point of being non-objective, while a few are clearly reclining nudes; all are depicted with intense colors.

“Lust,” acrylic on fabric by Cebron Kyle Bradford

Bradford shows three modestly sized paintings in acrylic on fabric mounted on board. Each painting is impactful, consisting of fabric that is painted in monochrome (one black, one red and one encrusted with seashells), and each is crushed or crumbled into a simple shape and attached to a square board. All three, taken as a group or individually, has a strong presence.

Installation view of gallery wall showing paintings by Becky Knold and Becky Frehse

2023 Juror’s Invitational Exhibition

Noon to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday through April 28

Leonor R. Fuller Gallery
South Puget Sound Community College, Bldg. 21
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia



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