ArtBeat: Ship Creek artist co-op celebrates first anniversary

Mike Dunham

Anchorage Community Works, a “nonprofit shared workspace for artists” on Ship Creek, will celebrate its first anniversary with an open house/fundraiser/art auction on Friday, Aug. 8. The event is titled “Emergence,” which a blurb says reflects “the emergence of ACW for the past year and the fantastic emerging artists incubating within our walls.”

Art by people associated with the facility will be showcased. They include Enzina Marrari, Sheila Wyne, Keren Lowell and Ted Kincaid.

ACW board president Brooklyn Baggett points out that the venue also hosts a number of concerts -- everything from acoustic folk to molten thrash metal bands. So there’ll be music to accompany the event. Performers include Hot Club of Nunaka, the Hannah Yoter Band and Michael Howard.

Tickets, $20, are only available at the door. Baggett says that’s to make sure people who buy the tickets actually attend the celebration. It’s a 21-and-over affair catered by Spenard Roadhouse and will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8, at 349 E. Ship Creek Ave. More information at anchoragecommunityworks.com.

Young virtuosi perform

August is often a slow month for concerts of serious music, but two events take place next week that deserve some attention from the music-loving public.

The Anchorage Chamber Music Festival, a series of concerts and workshops, will open with a recital by the faculty, led by Alaska violinist Christine Li, who has arranged the festival with friends from music school. The program of music by Dvorak, Faure and others will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11, at Central Lutheran Church, Cordova and 15th.

There’ll be a soiree at a private home on Wednesday, followed by another concert at the Hotel Alyeska at 8 p.m. on Thursday and another faculty concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, in the UAA Arts Building Recital Hall. A program featuring students of the workshops will take place at 6 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the Anchorage Museum. Admission to the concerts is by donation. More information is available at anchoragechambermusicfestival.org.

The Anchorage Festival of Music will present the solo recital by its Young Artist of the Year, Ceylon Mitchell, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 3900 Wisconsin Ave. Mitchell, a flutist, is an alumnus of the Anchorage Youth Symphony and a graduate of East High School, where he was a  star athlete as well as notable musician, excelling in track and skiing and other sports. He has multiple degrees from Boston University and will attend the University of Maryland starting this fall. A video of him playing can be seen here.

The program will include music by Bach and Debussy. Admission is $25, $10 for students, with a reception to follow the recital, and tickets are available at centertix.net. Proceeds help continue the festival’s scholarship program. 

First Friday rambles

The visual art scene is anything but slow this month. Among the openings I made it to on Friday was a solo exhibit by Carmel Anderson of Ketchikan. The former New York fashion designer had commercial success with cards of her painting “Beautiful Wisdom,” which shows an older woman with a snowy owl perched on her head.

The current show at blue.hollomon gallery in the Olympic Center, “Wondering Wisdom,” continues the use of women and birds. The heads of the figures are usually attached to the body by tenuous means, like springs or ladders.

“It’s supposed to show how so many women’s minds are disconnected from their hearts, their bodies,” Anderson said. But disconnected in different ways: springs symbolize resiliency, ladders symbolize aspiration. The birds denote wisdom. The false beaks attached to the noses of several figures indicate the character desires to be wise. A cage on her head suggests she is “capturing” wisdom. Some birds perch in head-top nests or on lines strung between antlers that spring from the woman’s forehead.

All of the pictures show their figures two-dimensionally, either full face or full profile. But along with the paintings are sculptures that use the same female/bird/antler themes but in full three-dimensions. The heads on these figures are attached to their bodies with normal necks.

“Heavy Metal,” a solo show by Marjorie Scholl of Homer, is on display at the Carr Gottstein Building on the campus of Alaska Pacific University. These paintings show giant vehicles, industrial boats, even a helicopter -- gritty machines that make a lot of noise.

“I love the big trucks,” she said, contrasting the “masculinity” of front-end loaders and dump trucks with the “femininity” of Alaska wildflowers and sunsets.

Most of Scholl’s paintings are large, but a series of smaller frames -- and smaller rigs -- is also hanging. Those familiar with the lower Kenai Peninsula will recognize many of the settings, but at least one is an incongruous depiction of an Antarctic transport in a sunny Greek harbor.

The adjacent Grant Hall gallery is hosting drawings by 21 local artists curated by Katherine Coons, titled “Close to Hand.” Most make straightforward use of the medium, but some stretch the definition of “drawing.” “Strings Attached,” for instance, a white collage-like construction by K.N. Goodrich, includes, yes, strings. Cheryl Lyon’s “Gone to Seed” is a series of metallic panels tough enough to take polishing.

Several of the drawings have a narrative slant, like Lance Lekander’s “An Unexpected Turn,” which appears to show a dragon assaulted by skeletons, or Mariano Gonzalez’s “The Demon Wears a Jesus@ Shirt,” which is exactly what the title says, a horned dude sporting a T-shirt showing the Sacred Heart of Jesus image.

The single piece that kept pulling at me was Linda Lyons’ “The Source.” It’s an exotic plant growing in a surreal landscape, a motif that the artist regularly uses. But in this case it’s rendered in black and white instead of the bright colors that fill her paintings. I think I found myself studying this picture more precisely because it lacked the distraction of color. That focus on form is the great strength of classic drawing and it was the uncolored pieces in “Close to Hand” that I found the most compelling.