Exhibit explores American landscape

Published on Wed, Sep 1, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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Those interested in catching a glimpse of classic Americana will want to check out Loomis Hall Gallery’s newest exhibit, The American Landscape.

The event, co-curated by gallery owner David Vargo and resident artist Lisa McShane, captures classic images of Americana from open roads to wheat fields, old cars and beautiful coastlines.

McShane, who has been showing at the gallery since March, said her work heavily lends itself to the American landscape, much of which is inspired by her Eastern Washington upbringing, being surrounded by gold fields and big, open skies.
“The open road is such a quintessential image, and yet it’s also my experience in the American west, being as my family is one of the wheat farmers in Eastern Washington, where I grew up, so a lot of my imagery is wide open spaces and the black road with the gold fields and the wide open sky.”

It was that theme that inspired her to facilitate September’s exhibit, which will feature paintings, photographs and sculptures from 11 local artists. Another local artist – Allen Moe, of Bow – uses unconventional organic materials such as chicken feet, bones and animal hides in a way that transcends their morbidity and illustrates the interconnectedness of the world around us.

Paintings are made with egg yolk mixed with different colors of dirt, which Moe uses to record the relative positions of the stars “as accurately as possible” while castings feature patterns of accumulations or disintegrations such as the cracks in a segment of dried silt from the Skagit River delta. Though much of his material comes from dead animals, Moe says he’s not focusing on death but “trying to hold onto the beauty of life.”

“I hope that by presenting bits of the environment out of their normal (context) might cause us to pause and really look at something that might otherwise go unnoticed,” he wrote in an artists statement.

Other artists featured in the event include Jessica Bonin, Lanny Little, Thor Myhre, Ron Pattern, Geoff Peterson, Laurie Potter, Steve Satushek, Ruthie V and James Williamson.

A reception is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 10 at the Loomis Hall Gallery at 288 Martin Street and runs through October 2. The gallery’s regular hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit www.loomishallgallery.com.

Image:  Part of Loomis Hall Gallery’s new American Landscape exhibit: “Decay.” Watercolor. 8 x 10. By Jessica Bonin.