Visual

River's Edge

Seasonal sights in Mount Vernon

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The River Gallery on Landing Road near the lower Skagit River, once a commercial greenhouse, is a natural home for art. The light is perfect and it’s roomy enough to show off works by 38 artists—more than most museums.  I always look forward to the harmony and balance of the exhibition as a whole, curated by Sylvia Strong and Coizie Bettinger.

Currently on view at the “Fall Show” are works by more than a dozen first-rate landscape and nature painters, of whom Christine Troyer, Jennifer Bowman, Cynthia Richardson, Lynn Zimmerman, and Dedrian Clark are perhaps the most familiar names.

And here are other artists, who glide from nature into something beyond, like Joan Enslin, Ria Harboe, and woodworker and painter Gary Giovane. 

Some, like Charlotte Decker and Lavone Newell-Reim, are equally at home in realism or abstraction. Jacqui Beck and Yvette Newman, on the other hand, are both trenchantly abstract, although Beck may allow a whimsical cow or clothesline into her compositions.

Each new season, Brooke Borcherding seems to find a new focus: cityscapes, then landscapes, and now her distinctive brushwork has very appropriately settled on still-life flower studies.

Flowers in the most formal sense have been a speciality of the late Czech master, Jarmila Radova. She and her son, Vojtech Rada, have enjoyed a personal connection with the River Gallery and Rada’s work has been featured here for several seasons.

Trained as an art restorer, Rada’s beguiling blend of architectural precision and fantasy appears profoundly European. His paintings run the gamut—from channeling Cezanne to rivaling Salvador Dali. Perhaps his most public project was a commission to paint the stations of the cross for St. Prokop Church in Prague.

Don’t overlook the small statues by Robert Gigliotti and Maria Wickwire among the bright aisles of paintings. Their contrasting styles whisper an emotional dialogue between head and heart, as old as humankind. Gigliotti carves in several media, abstract as well as realist. His small bronze sculptures celebrate athletic perfection and the beauty of the human figure. 

Wickwire’s ceramic figures—here, all female—hide within boxes, suffer dismemberment, sprout porcupine quills where arms should be or recline sacrificially on an altar of antlers. They are dramatic beyond their minute proportions—but how much greater impact would they have if even half-life-size, like her “Clevis, Goddess of the Deep!”

One can be brainwashed by so much beauty. Driving home, the Skagit farmland looked as if Monet had painted it—meadows grazed by black-and-white cows, plowed fields paralleling toward darkly forested hills.

If you have time, I’d also advise stopping in downtown Mount Vernon to visit the Perry and Carlson Gallery at 504 S. 1st St. Their October show features Deer Harbor painter Marilyn Jonassen. She works in the difficult medium of encaustic, in which she has developed a number of innovations. Her present work appears almost minimal, perhaps more confident than her earlier work shown at the (now closed) Fetherston Gallery in Seattle.

ICU Roof #2
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From Seattle to Skagit

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In the Valley of Mystic Light

One of the attributes of the Skagit “mystic” artists has been their bare-bones lifestyle. And so, recently at La Conner’s Skagit County Historical Museum, four artists were asked how living off the grid influenced their art, and did they accept the label of “mystic?”

Claire…

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History Highlight
Art of the American West

We battled wild winds and sideways rain to get to Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building last Sunday, but once we ditched our coats and entered “Art of the American West: Highlights of the Haub Family Collection from the Tacoma Art Museum,” weather woes were forgotten and it was all about…

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Events
Today
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

Santa's in Town

10:00am|Yeager's Toyland

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Little Women, the Musical

7:00pm|Sudden Valley Dance Barn

Anne of Green Gables

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Connelly Creek Nature Area

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am|Sunset Square

Hot Cider & Cool Art

10:00am|Morgan Block Studios

COffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Hidden Narrative Tour

3:30pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Drayton Harbor Shell-ebration

4:00pm|H Street Plaza

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Jingle Belles

4:00pm|La Conner

Ukulele Concert

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Holiday Movie Night

6:00pm|Bellingham High School

Holiday Night Market

6:00pm|Commercial Street

The Snow Queen

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Holiday Ball

7:00pm|Majestic

Vaudevillingham

7:00pm|Cirque Lab

Community Orchestra Winter Concert

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Skagit Valley Chorale's Heralding Christmas

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Ghosts and Brawling

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Wizard
Tomorrow
Santa's in Town

10:00am|Yeager's Toyland

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Little Women, the Musical

7:00pm|Sudden Valley Dance Barn

Anne of Green Gables

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Hot Cider & Cool Art

10:00am|Morgan Block Studios

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am|Sunset Square

The Snow Queen

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Skagit Valley Chorale's Heralding Christmas

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Ghosts and Brawling

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Make It and Take It

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Breakfast with Santa

9:00am|Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center

Coast Salish Winter Festival

10:00am|Lummi Gateway Center

Jingle Bell Dash

10:00am|Seafarers Memorial Park

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Sleighbells Ring

10:00am|Bellewood Acres

Holiday Tea

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Chainsaw Sculpting Open Studio

10:00am|Tomas Vrba Studio

Baker Beacon Rally

11:00am|Heather Meadow

Fairhaven Winterfest

12:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Peter James Holiday Gallery Sale and Reception

1:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Hansel and Gretel

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Youth Symphony Holiday Concert

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Eat Your Words Cookbook Club

2:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Holiday Wines from Spain

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Mozzarella Class

3:00pm|Appel Farms

Winter Dance Celebration

3:00pm|Brodniak Hall

Noel Trio

3:00pm|Jansen Art Center

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Not So Silent Night

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Winter Star Mountain Journey

7:00pm|Blaine Performing Arts Center

Kulshan Chorus Winter Concert

7:30pm|Bellingham High School

Skagit Symphony Holiday Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Wizard People, Dear Bellingham

8:00pm|Alternative Library

Teen Library Lock-In

8:00pm|Ferndale Library

Christmas Milonga Tango Experience

9:00pm|Presence Studio

Trove Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Sunday
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

Santa's in Town

10:00am|Yeager's Toyland

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am|Sunset Square

The Snow Queen

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Skagit Valley Chorale's Heralding Christmas

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Sleighbells Ring

10:00am|Bellewood Acres

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Winter's Return Concert

2:00pm|Skagit Valley Unitarian Fellowship

Nonfiction and Memoir Writing Group

3:00pm|Village Books

Nutcracker Holiday

3:00pm|Jansen Art Center

Holiday Chorus

3:00pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Whatcom Chorale's Messiah

3:30pm|Church of the Assumption

Backgammon Session

5:30pm|Parkway Village

Way North Comedy Showcase

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

see our complete calendar »

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