It's Alive!

Jansen Art Center’s reanimated roster


What: "Fall Juried Exhibit," Mike Bathum's "Emerging Nature 2," "Through the Eyes of the Beholder" by Malissa Perry and Christen Matti

Where: Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St., Lynden


WHEN: 12pm-4:30pm Thurs.-Sat., through Nov. 21

Cost: Entry is free; please follow COVID-19 safety protocols


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Greeting visitors at the recently reanimated Jansen Art Center’s entrance is an emblem of the moment—an orange and yellow “virus” by David Syre in the Jansen’s Fall Juried Exhibit. He’s the creator of several other striking works, including “Bee Attack,” in colored marker on cotton paper.

Elsewhere in the sprawling space in Lynden, Skagit artist Gene Jaress’ dramatic “On the Horizon” (oil on canvas) dominates the east hallway. In the piano room, you’ll find his woodblock print, “Red Tulip Field at Dusk” and two menacing-looking images from his “Twelve Crows” monoprint series.

Lori VanEtta’s delightful acrylic painting “Bubbling with Pleasure” lightens the mood, as do Laurie Phillips’ whimsical felted-fabric pots, “Canyon Evening,” “Confetti Rainbow,” and “Monsoon Sunset” (merino wool, silk and glass beads).

A beautiful novelty are haunting cyanotype nature prints by Ellen Dooley, who follows in the footsteps of the “first” woman photographer, Anna Atkins. Her “Gold in the Trees,” combining cyanotype and gold leaf, is especially intriguing.

Among Andy Friedlander’s submissions, I was drawn to his fine linoleum block prints, especially “Birch Trees with Streams.” Ask nicely, and he’ll print one for you in your favorite color.

If you’re homesick for a fine oil landscape painting of a Skagit scene, none surpass Dave Nichols’ “Quiet Inlet.” More of Nichols’ work is on display at his La Conner Seaside Gallery.

Taking the stairs to the second floor, you’ll find acrylic/pencil landscape portraits by Patricia Sele-Brockman of Lynden. At the landing, you can’t miss four brilliant paintings by Gary Giovane, depicting wisteria, blackbirds, loons and hydrangea. He constructs his frames in an aboriginal style. Teaching school in Neah Bay gave him an appreciation of symbolic and spiritual native art, which, wed to his love of Celtic design, became his unmistakeable expression.

Realist charcoal drawings are the contribution of Lori Nelson-Clonts, and they range from almost geometrical (“Semiahmoo Dock”) to decidedly whimsical (“The Bagelry”). As she says, “Drawing is courageous. A mark made with charcoal cannot be taken back,” and she delights in the speed with which she can create a large image.

Photography is not overlooked. Tommy Gibson captures the abstract excitement of a pair of urban staircases. Jackson Faulkner documents the decline of America’s Rust Belt with photos of grain elevators, abandoned barns, the stunning archways of a ruined church and “the shame and suffering of a 1937 pickup freezing [in a field] for another winter.” By editing the images into highly colored prints on glossy metal, he conveys his strong emotions at the time he took them.

Two oil and acrylic portraits by Christopher Beaven stopped me cold with their masterful realism. His ambition is “to look beyond the surface,” to convey subtle emotions. What do you think? Is he on the path?

And how does Beaven’s work compare with the impressionist nature paintings of Ria Harboe (“Landmark Sentinel”) and Lorna Libert (“Over the Hill”), in the nearby music room, where they enjoyed a splendid show several years ago? You be the judge.

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