Nests, islands and beyond
What: Winter Exhibits
Where: Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St., Lynden
WHEN: Through Feb. 28
Cost: Entry is free
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
The Jansen Art Center—formerly the town hall—stages art shows in three galleries, hallways, the snack bar, piano lounge and along the stairs, making Lynden the perfect place to visit on a blustery day.
Running through Feb. 28, the winter exhibits feature Edison artist Kris Ekstrand in the main floor “fine art gallery.” Her “Nests and Landscapes” are her response to the “brooding estuarine tidelands and farmland of the Skagit and Samish lowlands” where she lives.
“Estuary, Twilight” and “Fir Island Calatore” give a waterbird’s view of the marsh, peering through grass along twisting waterways toward murky skylines. These are accomplished with free, confident strokes, as are her monotypes of nests and bones. “Alight,” an oil painting depicting a nest under-painted in red and yellow, verges on the surreal.
In the hallway you’ll find the work of Lori Nelson-Clonts, who reminds us that “Colors have cultural and emotional significance.” Her acrylic “Red Pot” is a vivid composition of crimson, black birds and orange poppies backed by a blue sky worthy of Van Gogh. “Apple Greens” gives a view through green fruit and branches into a blue-green sky.
Linda Rees, a lifelong weaver, is a force in the Bellingham weaving community. She works with abstract designs and colors that don’t “go” together. Her striking tapestry near the craft rooms, “Traversal Origin, (1981)” she wove in linen, wool and nylon with gentle red shades set against hues of blue and yellow.
The seasonal juried exhibit continues up the stairs with Gary Giovane’s “Windswept pine near the shore,” an acrylic painting on cedar panel reaching out over an ocean of red and blue swirls.
On the landing are Dotti Burton’s mixed-media “Geometrics,” a recent and very promising direction. In “#3,” she offers movement and resolution in pastel yellows and blue, and shades of gray, black and red. And “#2” is a restful puzzle of gray, tan, black and white.
At the top of the stairs Gene Jaress offers “Skagit Fields at Dusk”—the first of a series depicting the Skagit Valley. Jaress sketched the scene in graphite, then painted a color study from which he cut a set of woodblocks to achieve this lovely fine art print. It promises to be an important project, and I look forward to seeing all of the prints.
In “Separated from Normal,” Trish Harding’s oil pantings on the second floor celebrate the Lummi Island of her remembered adolescence. The brilliant but peaceful “Coming Home” (oil on metal), finds the small Whatcom Chief ferry plowing an orange sea beneath the gaze of Mt. Baker.
Through Harding’s eyes, land and sea become a dreamworld. In “Elephant Cage” (oil on canvas), beyond twisted driftwood a faint, ghostly structure hovers under threatening clouds. (And look for the flying saucer above the technicolor swirls of “Walking on Water.”
Christen Mattix teaches at the center; her “Kaleidoscopic” paintings in the north upstairs gallery combine figurative images with stenciled “mandalas” suggesting her “wonder at the stubborn beauty of the world.” Don’t miss them.
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