By coincidence, common themes sometimes happen at new shows opening at Homer galleries. This month, that theme is explorations in natural media like clay, wood and stone. At Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery, local artists Deb Lowney and Dan Fischer collaborate on "Sticks and Stones," using found objects like driftwood, beach stones and pushki stalks to create durable art suitable for display indoors and outdoors. "Being Here," Sitka artist Rebecca Poulson's show at Fireweed Gallery, uses wood to create wood-cut engravings and prints. At Bunnell Street Arts Center, Emily Longbrake looks at how closed form clay pieces like vases or bowls can morph into sculptures evoking natural objects like pinecones, seeds and shells.
Even photography explores images in nature, as Kenai photographer Joe Kashi looks for abstract images in natural visions, like drops of water beading on a window. Kashi's show opens at Kachemak Bay Campus. He does a talk April 6 on finding abstraction in daily life.
At the Homer Council on the Arts, although February's photography exhibit by Joshua Veldstra and Sierra Smith continues through March and has no First Friday reception, a gallery concert by Dave Gerard and friends has an artistic element beyond performance. Gerard, a carpenter and woodworker, plays on "Homer-made" instruments he crafted.
While not an art opening, First Friday also includes the capstone address by writer Tim O'Brien on his Big Read book much of Homer has been reading the past six weeks, "The Things They Carried." O'Brien's presentation starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Mariner Theatre, with a book signing afterward.
Bunnell Street Arts Center
106 W. Bunnell Ave.
Sculptures by Emily Longbrake
Paintings by Suzanne Dvorak
5-7 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception; 6 p.m., artists talk
11 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Suzanne Dvorak art demo and workshop
1-3 p.m., Saturday, Emily Longbrake art demo and workshop
Ceramic artist Emily Longbrake explores the sculptural possibilities of clay in this exhibit. After throwing a closed form such as a pot or vase, she carves perforations into the clay. When fired, the pieces melt, shift and warp, "adding additional fluidity to a material we usually think of as rigid," she said. "The orbs might remind you of pine cones, buoys, seeds, shells, pods, husks, webs, nets, intersections or many other objects. I am inspired by both natural and man-made patterns, especially those that balance positive and negative space and that meld structural stability with an interesting pattern or sense of rhythm."
Painter Suzanne Dvorak, who has lived in Homer and Halibut Cove and worked on commercial fishing boats, writes that she uses "muted edges and layers of color to meld images of snow, water, branches, rolling hills and open space. I combine shadows on snow with trees that have web-like branches and trunks reminiscent of dock pilings." Dvorak grew up in Vermont, where she began painting on plein-air excursions with her grandmother, an accomplished artist. "In recent years, my paintings have been less about the scene and more about the shapes, edges, lines, patterns and colors that suggest the scene," Dvorak said in her artist's statement. "My paintings in this show suggest landscape and summarize the intersections of circumstance and place that affect my expression as a painter."
475 E. Pioneer Ave.
Being Here, wood engravings by Rebecca Poulson
5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception
Sitka artist Rebecca Poulson shows her wood-cut engravings that reflect her appreciation of the Alaska landscape, hisitory and her work experience. Poulson worked as a shipwright reparing wooden fishing boats and has crewed on trollers and longliners. She learned wood engraving from the artist Dale DeArmond.
Homer Big Read
Mariner Theatre, Homer High School
Tim O'Brien capstone address
7:30 p.m. First Friday
The six-week Homer Big Read of Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" closes with an author appearance and presentation by Tim O'Brien. O'Brien will be available for a book-signing after the presentation, and the Homer Bookstore will have his work available for purchase at the event. The event is free and open to the public. Erin Hollowell, coordinator of the Friends of the Homer Public Library, said, "Everyone who had brought Tim O'Brien to their community to speak raved about what a wonderful opportunity it was. One librarian wrote to me in no uncertain terms, 'If you can find any way to have him come to Homer to speak, do it.'"
Homer Council on the Arts
344 W. Pioneer Ave.
Homer-made tunes and instruments, gallery concert by Dave Gerard and friends
7:30 p.m First Friday
Musician, carpenter and instrument maker Dave Gerard performs in concert with some of his Homer-made instruments. Admission is $5 youth, $10 HCOA members and $15 general. There is no reception for "Culturak Expression," a photography exhibit by Joshua Veldstra and Sierra Smith that opened earlier in February, but the show remains up through March.
Kachemak Bay Campus
533 E. Pioneer Ave., Pioneer Hall Commons
5-6:30 p.m., First Friday Reception
Abstracted: Finding a Sense of Abstraction in Daily Life, by Joe Kashi
As the title of his show susggess, Kenai photographer and attorney Joe Kashi's new work looks at abstract images in daily life. Kashi also will do a photohgraphy talk on how he uses abstraciton in photography from 1-3 p.m. April 6 at Pioneer Hall.
Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery
471 E. Pioneer Ave.
Sticks and Stones, art by Deb Lowney and Dan Fischer
5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception
"Sticks and Stones" features nature inspired art from Deb Lowney and Dan Fischer. Their collaboration features found and natural media, including driftwood, beach stones and pushki stalks.