Better together


What: "Rising"

Where: Fourth Corner Frames and Gallery, 311 W. Holly St.


WHEN: Through Fri., Jan. 11


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

If painter Laurie Potter had her way, images of bald eagles would be found on billboards, and instead of pop-up screens promoting goods and services, the average consumer would be subjected to a lot more scenes from the natural world.

That is the clever premise of her “Advertising for Nature” series, which is currently on display as part of a multi-artist “Rising” exhibit at Fourth Corner Frames and Gallery (where Potter also works).

“I considered that if ‘nature’ had advertising space to promote the necessity of conserving the magnificence and diversity of our natural world, it might be in the form of large billboards, with beautiful depictions of flora and fauna on them,” she writes in a missive near the largest of her paintings, “Future Tense.” The multimedia work features a vision of a dark city in environmental trouble, with a secret compartment that opens to reveal a screen streaming vibrant videos of plants and animals (and an occasional harbinger of climate change).

Potter’s interpretation of “Rising” is one of many to be found in the Holly Street locale. The 13 female artists represented in the eye-opening exhibit are part of an informal-yet-exclusive art club that has been meeting on a regular basis for at least a decade. The sculptors, painters, clay artists and multimedia mavens all have different ways of expressing themselves, but the one thing they have in common is supporting each other’s artistic ambitions while also committing to their own visions—including how they each interpreted the theme of “Rising.”

For Lummi Island-based potter Lynn Dee, the earth-toned raku vases and wall hangings that look as if they might’ve been excavated from an archeological dig got her thinking about the word’s various meanings.

“The meaning I chose to represent my work has lifted my focus to a higher level, above the fray of politics and daily life to the sky, to the mountains, to the forces of nature,” she says.

Linda Hughes’ collection features ceramic wall hangings utilizing mandalas—“a Sanskrit word meaning circle, suggesting wholeness, unity, completion, community, connection.”

Meanwhile, Marcia Culver’s colorful baskets made of vintage telephone cables and elevator electrical cords honor the people of the Gwaii Haanas, a once-thriving Haida village in the remote part of the islands that were once annihilated by violence and disease, but are now again on the rise.

Amy Armitage says those who appreciate her large wildlife paintings featuring foxes, owls and deer are likely the kind of people who, as children, favored the zoo over Disneyland and read National Geographic with a flashlight in bed.

Viewers will also discover a sculpture of a goat head by Shirley Erickson and Deb McCunmn that is dubbed “Cabrone” and hearkens to the #MeToo movement. It’s a Spanish insult, they explain. “We deliver the old goat on a silver platter surrounded by rape whistles.”

You’ll also find Denise Snyder’s delicately delightful copper, brass and paper wall hangings; Mary Jo Maute’s oil, paster and charcoal paintings that are playful interpretations of the female spirit; a rabbit sculpture by Deb McCunn that honors survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting; and Jeni Cottrell’s “American Dream”—a shopping cart covered in a blue tarp that hopes to stimulate a dialogue about how a community of creative people can work together toward solving the homeless crisis (it’s worth noting the cart full of supplies will be donated after the exhibit ends).

Anita Boyle’s “Rising Together” can be seen opposite “American Dream” in one of the front windows. The paper mobile not only hews to the theme of the exhibit, but also draws attention to the fact that the artists are better together than they are apart.

“This piece recognizes our group of women artists, and the nourishment, support and inspiration we’ve shared with each other over many years,” Boyle says. “The exhibit’s theme is shown as a delicate perception of rising together.”

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