— from Diane Martindale —
The three new exhibitions opening March 4 at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art truly are for everyone who loves working with wood, painters, bookworms, collectors of odd objects in the forest, and those who care about forest destruction and erosion.
Morse Clary, a gifted, accomplished sculptor, sees each of his elegant “books” as a study of sculptural metaphor and the visual and tactile qualities of wood in CELEBRATIONS.
In CHARRED TOTEMS by Suze Woolf, the artist’s anxiety about climate change emerges in this series on burned-over forests. A strange and stunning beauty is accompanied by destruction and heartbreak in these cast paper sculptures and pine beetle books.
A REFLECTION OF VESSEL is a site-specific installation for the SJIMA glass atrium; Aaron Haba invites the viewer to look toward the heavens to see the beauty inside our own human vessels. He encourages the visitor to consider and explore, among other things, the suffering, longing and deep connection that runs through all living things.
These three exhibitions also kick off the 2017 schedule of DIALOGUES FROM THE FOREST. The season touches the special culture of the Pacific Northwest and explores and honors the resources of the abundant, Northwest landscape, which artists transform into statements of celebration and genuine concern.
In this seminal exhibition of Clary’s life’s work, he presents a fascinating array of woods, fiber, jewels, bones, stems, lichen and other materials from the natural environment, which have informed and inspired him. Clary’s work is saturated with the love of nature and its great mysteries, and the plethora of beautiful solutions to problems of form, color, texture, and line used to convey the visual and tactile elements that are the language of the visual arts.
He says, “There is occasionally a musical reference as I often hear composition as a way of seeing/feeling my way to it.” Clary is immersed in the meditative handiwork of carefully cutting and shaping each element to fit its place in the narrative. He considers each work a celebration of something.
A professional artist for over forty years, Morse spent thirty-two years as a college art educator in Nebraska, Ohio, Idaho and Washington. He is Faculty Emeritus at Columbia Basin College and lives in the Tri-Cities area. Clary has multiple publications and exhibitions to his credit as well as guest teaching opportunities and public works of art.
Seattle artist, Suze Woolf says of her work, “I’ve met my goal when I’ve transported the viewer into the world of the painting but that viewer remains aware my hand wielded the brush. The painting walks a line between invoking reality and a collection of brush strokes,” the artist states.
Woolf’s work may be seen in several public collections in Washington and Arizona. She has been a guest juror and workshop speaker at multiple forums. Her awards include artist in residence appointments at Glacier, Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks and exhibitions in Durango, Oklahoma, University of Puget Sound, Denver, St. George, UT, British Columbia and New York.
Haba uses repetitious pattern to create a form, and sometimes, with a form, creates an empty space, here revealed by looking UP to see IN.
Aaron grew up in a diverse family of artists, teachers and poets so the practice of exploring one’s creativity was part of daily life. Working out of his studio on Camano Island, Aaron Haba creates a wide range of sculptural pieces, including gallery installations and site-specific outdoor sculptures. Employing the creative practice he learned early, he brings to life work, which explores the deep connection that runs through all living things.
His work has been shown throughout the Northwest, Bellevue Art Museum, and in NYC. He is the recipient of a GAP grant from Artist Trust and in 2015 was awarded a Fellowship Residency at the Millay Colony in New York City.
The sponsors of DIALOGUES FROM THE FOREST Part 1 are Peg Gerlock & Phil Johnson, Printonyx, Earthbox, Friday Harbor Suites and Harbor Rentals. Part 1 is on exhibit through May 15.
Continuing DIALOGUES FROM THE FOREST Part 2, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, SJIMA will play a major role in exposing its visitors to an iconic art form and the cultural foundation of our current and historic First Nations people. It prompts further conversation concerning Northwest culture, the forest and its original inhabitants. The exhibition in all three galleries will feature emerging First Nation artists as well as established ones.
Admission is $10 for adults and free for those under 18. Every third Monday of the month is free for all. The hours are Mar. 4- Apr. 30 are Friday-Monday 11 to 5. From May 1-15 the hours are Thursday-Monday 11 to 6. Call 360-370-5050 to arrange docent–led group tours. For more information visit their website at www.sjima.org. At the heart of the Salish Sea, SJIMA enriches the community, arts and artists as we champion authenticity of our islands’ expression, place and connections. SJIMA is registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to indicate the third Monday of the month as free admission.