Visual

Carbon Dialogue

From innocence to menace

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WHAT: “Carbon Dialogue”
WHEN: 11am-5pm daily through June 30
WHERE:  Smith & Vallee Gallery, 5742 Gilkey Ave., Edison
INFO: http://www.smithandvalleegallery.com

WHAT: “Splintered”
WHEN: 12pm-4pm Mon.-Sat., through June 29
WHERE: Bitters Co. Barn, 14034 Calhoun Rd., Mount Vernon
INFO: http://www.bittersco.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I’ve often enjoyed the work of David Eisenhour. His bronze sculptures previously exhibited at the Museum of Northwest Art and Smith & Vallee Gallery have joyfully celebrated the beauty of crustaceans and jellyfish.

Eisenhour began as a foundry worker, where he was allowed to build up his own body of work. Once he became a full-time artist, he gradually moved from strict imagery to creating “something which would make people ask questions.”

And with a new exhibit at Smith & Vallee, “Carbon Dialogue,” he’s moved the goalposts further—he’s become an oracle.

You might compare his present work to that of Hieronymus Bosch, who beautifully depicted the hellish punishments awaiting mankind at the Last Judgment.

Eisenhour’s theme is, “We are all part of a carbon dialogue.” Beyond that cryptic remark, the sculptor speaks through his work. A statue in concrete and coal in the form of a spiral shell is simply labeled, “Canary” (think coal mine). A bronze wall piece, “In a Drop,” features a human hand encrusted with coral and barnacles.

His glistening bronze jellyfish, formerly merely delightful works of art, now carry a symbolic message, juxtaposing innocence with menace. Jellyfish, the artist tells us, will inherit warming oceans as fish and coral vanish from acidifying and overfishing. The mantles of Eisenhour’s jellyfish offer images of babies and dinosaurs—and some of the jellyfish dangle human fingers, in place of tentacles.

“Terrorpod” is a bronze wall hanging in the shape of a spread-winged eagle. It’s a monstrosity with a skull-face between the wings and six toes on either side. The name’s a play on the word “terra,” meaning both “Earth” and “terrible.” Eisenhour admits it was a “cathartic work. I felt like I was letting go of the demon of extinction.”

Even Eisenhour’s lovely prints on cedar, “Carbon Excerpts,” are mysteriously haunting. He laboriously creates each image on a board using clay, paint and coal dust. The abstract images suggest diatoms, ferns, coral, butterfly wings, broken glass and patterns in sand.

With thoughts of the apocalypse in mind, how about something completely different? Drive south on Farm to Market Road to visit the historic barn of Bitters Co.

Owners Amy and Katie Carson design and sell a line of housewares made by skilled craftsmen from around the world, with a retail store in La Conner.

Through June 29, the Carson sisters welcome you to ascend into the hayloft for “Splintered.” Here, listen to recorded fragments of verse spoken by poet Shin Yu Pai, randomly accompanied by percussive sounds struck by sound artist Steve Peters on glassware, metal and other objects from the company’s inventory. It’s a meditative, healing experience.

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Events
Today
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden Park

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Winter Herbal Tonics Class

5:30pm|Chuckanut Center

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Paddling With Spirits

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Stand in the Corner

7:00pm|Bow Corner Pub

Beauty and the Beast

7:00pm|BAAY Theater

Tanya Tomkins and Tamara Friedman

7:00pm|Croatian Cultural Center

The Curious Savage

7:00pm|Alger Community Church

Contest of Crowns

7:30pm|ACT Annex

Sweet Honey in the Rock

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Singing truth to power

7:30pm

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

The Revolutionists

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Tomorrow
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Paddling With Spirits

6:00pm

Beauty and the Beast

7:00pm|BAAY Theater

The Curious Savage

7:00pm|Alger Community Church

Contest of Crowns

7:30pm|ACT Annex

The Revolutionists

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Conference

8:30am|Whatcom Community College

WNPS Field Trip

9:00am|Larrabee Park

Winter Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Gluten- and Dairy-Free Cooking

10:00am|Blaine Library

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am

Your Life is a Story Writers Group

10:30am|South Whatcom Library

Propagating Perennials

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Womxn's March

11:00am|Bellingham City Hall

Seed Swap, Barter Fair and Skillshare

12:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Camera Unobscura Workshop

1:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Bird Smarts

2:00pm|Everson Library

Discovering Sherry Tasting

2:00pm| Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

More than a label

2:00pm

Rising Above the Pain

4:00pm|Village Books

Sunrise Night of Music

6:00pm|Maple Hall

Blue Abode Comedy Showcase

7:00pm|Blue Abode Bar

Whatcom Wind Ensemble Winter Concert

7:00pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Patsy Cline Tribute Concert

7:00pm|Magnolia Grill Hall

Hot Club of Troy

7:00pm|Walton Theatre

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

Sunday
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

The Curious Savage

7:00pm|Alger Community Church

Beauty and the Beast

7:00pm|BAAY Theater

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Sedro-Woolley Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Birding for Kids

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