What Lies ‘Within’: Clever creations fill SPSCC postcard show

by Molly Gilmore

Anyone can be an artist — and those with a few bucks and a bit of luck can buy original art — at South Puget Sound Community College’s Fine Art Postcard Exhibition, a fundraiser for the college’s Leonor R. Fuller Gallery. “The Creature Within” is the theme that unites the 13th edition of the show, running Jan. 2-Feb. 2.

“Olympia to me is all about inclusivity,” said Olympia painter Lynette Charters, one of the 112 artists who donated work to this year’s exhibition. “The wonderful thing about the postcard show is that it is exactly that. Anyone can join in. It’s not curated even. It’s a celebration of our art community.”

The 2023 Fine Art Postcard Exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College features 273 artworks in a variety of media. All are for sale to benefit the college’s Leonor R. Fuller Gallery.

“One of the very special things about the postcard show is that everyone is invited to make a postcard,” agreed Gerda Randolph of Lacey, who created felted-wool sculptures for the show, which features 273 two- and three-dimensional works, all of which are available for purchase in an online auction that ends Feb. 2. “It doesn’t matter how old or young you are or what your artistic abilities might be.”

The 2023 exhibition is the largest since 2018. “It’s big,” said gallery director Sean Barnes, whose own work is part of the show. “We’re back, and as always, we have such a creative and eclectic collection of contributions.”

This year’s show includes some particularly creative responses to the theme, meant to inspire artists while leaving lots of room for interpretation, Barnes noted. Among them are pieces by Belinda Hill and Fran Potasnik that incorporate mirrors, turning the viewer into the titular creature, and Myrna Orsini’s person with a demonic-looking figure that emerges from his belly via a pull-tab, calling to mind a pop-up book. Thea Albert created a booklet that allows the buyer to mix and match the heads and upper and lower bodies of fanciful creatures.

“Probably my favorite one is Deb Creveling’s ‘Creature Withinnie,’ ” Barnes said. “It’s an innie belly button and she put these googly eyes on it. It hits on a lot of different levels.”

“I love the creativity,” Randolph said. “I love what people come up with. It’s like solving a problem every time; you get this topic, and then you have to figure out what it means and how you’re going to do it.” Randolph’s solutions this year: a friendly-looking purple monster emerging from a box, and a sheep tucked in bed next to the wolf suit it presumably dons by day.

Belinda Hill used a mirror to transform the viewer into “The Creature Within.”(Photos courtesy of South Puget Sound Community College)

Charters, known for her Missing Women series that reinvents older paintings and replaces the pictured women’s skin with wood, made an oversized card based on the work of French artist Yves Klein, who used naked women as human paintbrushes in some of his best-known work.

“It’s another bloke using women’s bodies to attract attention to his art,” she said. As in the Missing Women works, she incorporated candy wrappers and other bits of discarded metal that carry subliminal messages. “I’ve made her pregnant,” Charters said. “I’ve taken the image and expanded it. It addresses the attack on reproductive rights.”

She’s among the well-known artists who donate work to support the gallery, which receives the proceeds from the auction, which has raised more money since it moved online during the pandemic. “The Leonor R. Fuller Gallery is such a good cause,” she said. “We don’t have enough gallery space in Olympia, and the Fuller Gallery is such a great space.”

Other contributors include Lois Beck, Marilyn Bedford, Malpina Chan, Doyle Fanning and Joe Batt, a ceramicist and art professor at the college, who this year created one of his whimsical yet somehow realistic figures, this one a young boy holding a cat.

That cat is one of many in the show this year. “There are a lot of cat people,” Barnes said, noting that this isn’t the first time. “People love to do cat things. They love to show off their cats.”


SPSCC Fine Art Postcard Exhibition


Jan. 2-Feb. 2, with closing reception at 6 p.m. Feb. 2. The gallery is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.


The Leonor R. Fuller Gallery at The Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts, South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Road SW, Olympia





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