Works by Ward

An evolution in style

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What do we know about why some artists work for years in the same style while others develop new ones? Does an artist “freeze” his or her output into a popular style to satisfy the expectations of the market? Do curators discourage novelty because they believe it suggests immaturity?

The history of art celebrates artists such as Manet and Picasso, who found new styles and changed the way we see the world. But even these innovators may stick to a novel style long after they have exhausted its possibilities.

The present show at the Scott Milo Gallery on Commercial Avenue in Anacortes gives us examples of artists whose approach has remained fluid over time and some who have held onto a style perhaps too long.

A fine selection of works by Dederick Ward, “A Collection of Paintings from 1990-Present,” illustrates the evolution of his art from 1992 to 2015. Ward retired to Anacortes in 1990 and taught himself how to paint. His first efforts (not on view here) related to his former profession in geology. The earliest we see, “Catalyst” (1992), is a bold, abstract expressionist work, built upon the popular rectangular grid, with wide, sweeping brushwork and commanding color contrast.

In comparison, “Fir Island Reflection” (1998) is a lovely, semi-realist landscape. It reminds me of the work of Raoul Dufy—who himself went from impressionism to cubism and back again. Ward might profitably have painted for years in this style.

A trio of Ward’s paintings from 2003-2009—“Jackson Ridge,” “Black Buttes,” and “Sky over Edison”—fit squarely in the pictorial category. But the splendid “Autumn Wetland” (2007) is a pure gestural abstraction of stripes in gold, blue and black, bursting with energy.

In his more recent “atmospheric” paintings, Ward appears to be moving squarely into minimalism, especially the delicate “Shades of Lavender” (2016), which is basically a color field study.

Ward’s evolution in style is paralleled by cast-glass artist Lin McJunkin. Several of her sculptures are taking successful new directions, including “Farmland at Risk,” “Resilience,” and “Bactra Moth,” each uniquely beautiful.

The work of other artists on view (not retrospectives) reflect the opposite approach. Brooke Borcherding burst onto the scene a couple of years ago with a vibrant, cubistic style. She must have found her market, as she has doubled-down on this style.

And here also are graceful, still-life pieces by Melissa Jander. They might not have been out of place in the 19th century.

Or would they? On second glance, we discover subtle, cubist angles married to impressionist brushwork. Jander has found a vision which leaves her abundantly capable of freely varying her color and brushwork to make each painting appear distinct and fresh and lively —just the thing for the Skagit Valley on a gloomy day.

ICU Roof #2
More Visual...
Sew Excited
A time for textiles

Ever since I attempted to make a flannel nightgown as part of a home economics class in junior high school, I’ve been in awe of people who can sew.

While my finished frock looked like something someone in a mental institution might wear instead of a straitjacket—one arm was…

more »
A magical resonation

In “Evidence,” the current show at Smith & Vallee Gallery, two exceptional artists give us their views—David Blakesley, of a world that might have been or what it might become, and Kathleen Faulkner, images of the forest, examined close-up and transformed by the creator’s eye.…

more »
Native Son
The life and art of James T. Pickett

Pencils and paper were scarce commodities on the remote Mason County homestead where James Tilton Pickett grew up, but that didn’t stop him from drawing.

Instead of filling sketchbooks and stretched canvasses, he committed his lines to a variety of repurposed barnyard materials. Charcoal…

more »
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Bellingham Bay Marathon

7:30am|Gooseberry Point

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Eat Local Month's Restaurant Week

8:00am|Whatcom County

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Oyster Run Motorcycle Rally


Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Whatcom Chorale Benefit Concert

3:00pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

2020 Solutions Sept 2017
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Eat Local Month's Restaurant Week

8:00am|Whatcom County

Pizza Class

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books

Scrooge the Musical Auditions

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 2020 Solutions Sept 2017
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Eat Local Month's Restaurant Week

8:00am|Whatcom County

Scrooge the Musical Auditions

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Dog Day Afternoon

3:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Foray Into Fall Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Bellingham Reads

6:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

The Diking of the Delta

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hal

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Comedy Open Mic


Teton Gravity Research

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

MBT Janis Joplin Bellingham Farmer’s Market Village Books BOB_2017 2020 Solutions Sept 2017 Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove