Saturday, February 25, 2017

Limbo Dance

Now that the hard decision has been made, not to continue the brick and mortar gallery for another year, there's a bit of a lull, a drop in energy, a feeling of coasting.

I went to an art reception last night at Kolva Sullivan Gallery to see the last day of curator Jennifer LaRue's show featuring the works of Ric Gendron and Karen Mobley. It was an interesting meld of totally disparate art renderings. Gendron's were vibrant with color and emotional impact. Mobley's were more intellectual studies in line and form, devoid of color. Interestingly, they worked together as a compatible show, allowing the viewer to savor different approaches.

Responding at Kolva Sullivan Gallery (photography by Jennifer LaRue)

I came away from that visual feast with a touch of sadness, in that I no longer have reason to see art other than to just see and personally experience the art. I am no longer planning ahead to future Little Dog Art Gallery exhibits, no longer need to evaluate art and artists for that purpose. A part of my persona has become seemingly defunct.

It's jarring.

An alternative way to function relative to art is imperative. Just viewing art unilaterally isn't what I want. I don't relish this solo limbo dance. Curious and excited to discover what comes next.

However, all that aside, "Gaelic on Garland (et cetera)" is coming in next Tuesday, and I do relish welcoming the art and the artists, and seeing how to mix it up resulting in a good Little Dog Art Gallery finale.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Energy of a New Exhibit

I've thoroughly enjoyed creating and mounting all ten exhibits I've put together for LITTLE DOG Art Gallery. Each one was distinctively different from the others; most had a theme, which changed each month.

I've never had a solo show for an artist. I thought I might get around to that as time progressed. I wanted to offer a variety of work to entice gallery visitors.

My favorite show was probably "Origins of Fear," a show I invited Megan Holden to curate. I sent out a call to artists, and Megan juried what came in. We had a great number of submissions, but Megan was clear about how she wanted the show to look, and was ruthless in turning aside art. She chose well.

I may have enjoyed this show best because there was incredible viewer interaction. Callahan Freet had photographs "Fabrications" of ambiguous smoke shapes and viewers were invited to write down what fearful things they saw in the smoke. It was fascinating to see all the different interpretations. The other work in "Origins of Fear" was sometimes upsetting and off-putting, like Tom Norton's "Room 208 aka Mother Please," or Joseph Tomlinson's "Wait til They're Asleep," but some dynamic came into play, where because it was portrayed in art on the wall of a gallery, a dialog opened up and people spoke openly about their own fears and experiences. It became almost a group therapy, a sharing of the experience of fear.

"Fabrications" by Callahan Freet

"Room 208 aka Mother Please" by Tom Norton

"Wait til They're Asleep" by Joseph Tomlinson

Yes, each exhibit had it's own power and identity. They were ALL incredible shows.

"Horse/Crow" is coming down February 28th, and was a vibrant and colorful exhibit. With the dreary winter weather, I hoped this showing of bright work would help dispel wintry blues. Gallery visitors have responded well to "Horse/Crow" and have enjoyed the dual features of Terry Davitt Powell's monoprints and Clancie Pleasants paintings. Both artists are strongly influenced by crows and their interpretations are distinctively different, and at the same time visually compelling. The work of these two artists, Terry Davitt Powell from California and Clancie Pleasants from Idaho, was accompanied by eight other Spokane artists' concepts of crows and horses.

The anticipation is building momentum with the end of the above show and the incoming "Gaelic on Garland (et cetera)" exhibit for March. As I'm sure you might guess, the theme of March's show is tied in with Saint Patrick's Day. The Garland District is hosting a Pub Crawl on March 17th, the same day the gallery will have their art reception.

I had anticipated the March show being specifically centered around Irish subjects, or Celtic, or Emerald Isle. However, gallery logistics have forced a different aspect to this show.

LITTLE DOG Art Gallery will not be renewing our lease in April. It's been a rather sudden decision, but one well thought out and necessary.  Regrettably this makes the March exhibit the last show, and the gallery will close April 1st.

Because there are many artists who have volunteered and supported our gallery efforts, I've invited them to at least show their work in the gallery before it closes, hence, the "et cetera." Those works will be general interest and not specific to Irish theme.

It's still exciting to plan a new show and to see how it shapes up. There will be a YA fantasy author's talk March 11th (Kate Poitevin's Saving Tir Gaeltacht), the artists' reception on March 17th, and a Celtic Henna activity with Kim Long on March 18. "Gaelic on Garland (et cetera)"  will come down and the gallery will close on March 21, 2017.

Colored Pencil Celtic Knot by Kim Long

Friday, February 17, 2017

All Around Good Luck

"Good Luck Horse" is one of the found object metal sculptures Karlene Schoedel has in "Horse/Crow" Exhibit through February at LITTLE DOG Art Gallery.  She probably made to sit on a flat surface, but I have it displayed on the wall right in front of my desk. I look up and there it is: GOOD LUCK.

I look over to the right and I see Terry Davitt Powell's monoprint "Polka Dot Mare." How lucky is that!  I glance farther right and I see "V" and "Dancing Stallions." More monoprints, more awesome luck! I look all around the gallery at the incredible visual treat of the art on walls and displayed on pedestals; so much talent.

I am so gosh darn fortunate to take in and hang new artwork each month. AND I enjoy seeing it all and sharing it with gallery visitors from the community or from other regions! Some visitors even purchase a work of art. That, too, is very fortunate.

It's fun when families come in with young children who "ooooh" and "aaaaah" at the pretty colors and shapes, and ask questions about what they see. How lucky are THEY that they have an opportunity to visit a gallery and see good artwork firsthand rather than in a magazine or a book. Lucky for our community, too, that children are being introduced to an appreciation for culture, that they will carry on with them as they become adults and leaders in our community.

Okay, so I'm off on a tangent far beyond simply looking up and seeing "Good Luck Horse." Or am I?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Victory or Defeat?

Trophy Series by Rob McKirdie
Artist and Fine Art Instructor at Spokane Falls Community College

I was quite taken with McKirdie's found object series in the exhibit currently at LITTLE DOG, addressing the significance/insignificance of trophies and how over the years they encourage and applaud excellence, or totally lose context when presented to everyone regardless of merit, just so none feel left out.

It seems to me that a healthy sense of competition is a component of survival, of striving to improve performance or production. A trophy loses significance if it is presented arbitrarily, just because.

The titles aptly convey series significance: Victory or Defeat, Triumph, Catastrophic Failure, Victorgaurus Rex.

These are comparatively small works by McKirdie. You can see other examples of his found object assemblages at his website:

So. California Monoprints Showing in Spokane

January 31 – February 28, 2017

Featuring monoprints by California artist Terry Davitt Powell and Idaho Clancie Pleasants’ acrylic paintings, plus additional works celebrating Horse and Crow by Carmen Hall, Karen Swanson, Karlene Schoedel, Ann Contois, Kay West, Kim Long, Marion Flanary, Tom Quinn and Rob McKirdie.

Terry Davitt Powell

The images I create become, for me, a framework to celebrate animals and the natural world they represent, asking the viewer to once again see the creatures represented as living individuals, rather than as the generic concepts of horse or bird communicated by the disembodied graphic imagery typically used to describe animals. That is, I seek to re-nature that which has been de-natured.

Terry Davitt Powell's statement set the tone for this showing of the many interpretations of theme. LITTLE DOG is pleased to bring art from another part of our country and introduce it to Spokane viewers.

Following are a few of the works in Horse/Crow. The rest can be seen on LITTLE DOG website at

"Polka Dot Mare" Monoprint Terry Davitt Powell

"Horse/Crow Meet" Acrylic by Clancie Pleasants
"Feather Your Nest #2" Acrylic by Linnea Tobias

"Equus" Acrylic by Kay West

A portion of the work displayed in Horse/Crow exhibit at LITTLE DOG

"The Pallid Bust of Pallas" Acrylic by Tom Quinn

More of the exhibit along a back west wall, including "There Are Crows in My Wheat Field" by Karen Swanson

"Deliberation" Monoprint by Terry Davitt Powell