EVERETT — The colorful, multi-dimensional exhibit opening today at the Schack Art Center is in itself proof that Snohomish County is home to a diverse group of artists who work in a wide variety of media.
“Our area is great for creativity,” said artist Kathryn Glowen. “It’s the environment, it’s a place where your mind can be free.”
The new year at the Schack opens with a show that celebrates the past. Looking Back: Honoring 25 Years of Artist of the Year features work by all of the artist-of-the-year award recipients dating back to 1992 when what would become the Schack was known as the Arts Council of Snohomish County.
Glowen, the honored artist in 2002, is excited for the exhibit’s opening reception, which is 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18 during the third Thursday Everett Art Walk. Most of the artists are expected to attend.
“I know so many of the artists, and it’s wonderful that we can show together,” Glowen said. “It will be so diverse…
No other word can best describe the exhibit, said Schack employee Jules Anslow, who was the artist of the year in 2010.
Many of the honored folks have gone in different directions since being named an artist of the year, said Anslow, who works in mixed media. Some will show art that defines them, others will exhibit new work.
“It’s really humbling to be included in this group. It’s kind of scary,” Anslow said. “It’s an amazing group of people, and I am in awe of all of them.”
Photographer Jim Arrabito, named artist of year 2015 along with stone sculptor Verena Schwippert, said it was an honor to share the award with her.
“As a man, I must say that Verena has the coolest tools,” Arrabito said. “It’s been a profound pleasure to continue the association all these years with the Arts Council and the Schack.”
Egg tempera painter Jack Gunter, the 1996 recipient, has praised the skills of watercolorist Joan Pinney. “Watercolor is too difficult for me,” Gunter said at Pinney’s artist-of-the-year show in 2014.
Likewise, Anslow touted the talents of 2011 honoree Paul Vexler, who recently completed a massive sculpture for the new Washington State University building in Everett.
Glowen, who is still healing up from a battle with sepsis more than a year ago, sees the group exhibit as a chance to participate with friends again. She describes herself as a crafter, a botanist and someone concerned about refugees around the world. Be sure to see her boat filled with globes and a pair of children’s shoes.
On the back side of the vessel, Glowen has printed: “Row, row, row your boat. Silently across the sea. Warily, warily, warily. Dreams that never will be.”
“I use fabric pieces like paints. I take clothes apart for my work. No man with a lovely tie is safe around me,” Glowen said. “My work is fun, but it has a serious side.”
In 1992, the Arts Council decided to recognize and applaud local artists who were “doing amazing things,” said Carie Collver, the Schack’s gallery director. The retrospective exhibit includes paintings, prints, photos, sculpture, glass and mixed media.
“It has made for a very interesting and awesome group show,” Collver said.
The artists, from 2017 back to 1992, are Gale Johansen, Chuck Close, James Arrabito and Verena Schwippert, Joan Pinney, James Madison, Kevin Pettelle, Paul Vexler, Jules Anslow, Merrilee Moore, Reg Akright, Joi and Dan LaChaussee, Stan Price, Terri Shinn, the late Bernie Webber, Dona Anderson, Kathryn Glowen, Janet Hamilton, Robert Mitchell, Karla Matzke, Cheri O’Brien, Lisa Spreacker, Jack Gunter, the late Genevieve Tuck, the late James L. Davis, Byron Bratt and the late Susan Jane Russell.
While the love fest goes on downstairs in the main gallery, the loft exhibit will challenge viewers with work by R. Allen Jensen and Timothy C. Ely.
Drawings & Digressions is displayed only through Feb. 8, so don’t miss this one. Ely, from Colfax, also plans to give a free lecture — “The Extra-Terrestrial Book” — at 7 p.m. Jan. 19. Pages of his books are framed and sport titles such as “Diagramming Fate.”
Jensen, of the Stanwood area, is a well-known and celebrated regional artist who for decades taught art at Western Washington University. Jensen is displaying 12 large groupings of his pieces.
“When they see these, people who know me might say, ‘Holy cow, Jensen.’ The images deal with politics. Many are what I call grotesquies (a take on selfies), which are pieces of famous faces matched with others. It’s about seeing life through other people’s eyes.”
For an octogenarian, Jensen has created a body of wild and somewhat morbid work that most would assume is by someone much younger. Be sure to read Jensen’s short bio and his artist’s statement. One installation is hung on skirt hangers. Another — “Just another pretty face & friends” — is tacked to the wall with push pins.
Jensen first met his co-exhibitor when Ely was a student in the art department at Western.
Ely began making books when he was a child, mixing drawing, painting, and words in his journals and comic books. During his undergraduate studies with Jensen, Ely’s philosophy of art, expression and books began to meld. This is also when he realized the importance of having a dedicated space to create.
“My first memory of R. Allen Jensen, when we met in 1970 in his office, was that it did not look like an (academic) office, but a drawing studio. No desk, but a drawing board,” said Ely in a statement. “In our decades-long friendship, many things were exchanged or passed on, but this core idea of having a space where ideas are physicalized has been a dominant force in my life.”
After graduate school at the University of Washington, Ely undertook a self-directed study of bookbinding and started fabricating the work he is known for today, which combines his take on English-style binding techniques with his visionary drawings. Over the past 40 years, Ely’s books and other works have sprung from a central core of concepts, inspired largely by science and other projects from the history of the human imagination.
If you go
Looking Back and Drawings & Digressions opens Jan. 11 at the Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett. Opening reception is 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18 during the Everett Art Walk. Drawings & Digressions closes Feb. 8 and Looking Back closes Feb. 24. More at www.schack.org.
The Schack also has announced its other exhibits for 2018.
The Regional Scholastic Art Awards is set for Feb. 12 through March 4. The Juried Art Show is March 8 through April 14. An exhibit titled The Intersection of Art & Math runs April 26 through June 2.
Jan and Chris Hopkins, Schack artists of the year for 2018, will open their show about Japanese American Internment on June 14. The reception is June 21, and the exhibit is displayed through Sept. 1.
From Oct. 4 through Nov. 3, see Voyager: Steve Jensen, and work by Pilchuck Glass School’s emerging artists in residence. The final show of the year is a holiday show, mid-November through the end of the year, featuring work by the Northwest Pastel Society.
Other Schack events this year include the 36th annual H’Arts Benefit Auction on Feb. 24, the artists’ garage sale on June 2, the Fresh Paint festival of artists at work on Aug. 18 and 19, and Schack-toberfest, Sept. 13-23.