Story last updated at 2:54 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 2002

Paper exhibit exceeds regionalism
By Carey James
Staff Writer

photo: entertainment
  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
"Danger." by Todd Sherman took an honorable mention.  
In the past, Alaska artists may have had a reputation as traditionalists, but according to the juror of the Bunnell Street Gallery's "Alaska Juried Works on Paper" exhibit, the stereotype fits no more.

"After choosing works from the slides," said Wanda Seamster, an Anchorage artist and teacher of art, "I realized how little regionalism was reflected in my choices."

Instead of Alaska themes, Seamster said she found multidimensional works that resonated from the same topics artists around the nation were dealing with <> "cancer, stereotypes, September 11th, urban expansion, domestic violence, and environmental impact and preservation."

In addition, Seamster found more than 26 of the 177 works submitted featured "strong religious themes," leading her to agree with one art critic's opinion that "America was one of the world's most zealously religious countries."

The show, which opened this month, includes 30 works by 28 artists from around the state. Though many of the works are two-dimensional pictures and drawings, others took a sculptural approach to the medium prompt, like Homer artist Judy Winn, who created her work, "Birch" out of paper, paint and glue. The piece resembles a cross-section of a stand of birch with each tree's bark peeling back to reveal the paint-flecked surface below.

photo: entertainment
  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Homer artist Judy Winn's "Birch" is one of several three-dimensional artworks in the "Alaska Juried works on Paper."  
For Anchorage artist Artemis Bona Dea, "works on paper" was both literally and sculptural interpreted in her submissions "Spirit Midden" and "Raven, Read My Palm." The former is a three-dimensional artist's book filled with pages of glittering warm brown topped with gold details and the occasional gem.

Fairbanks artist Todd Sherman's work, "Dangers" is hard to miss when viewing this show. The larger-than-life woodcut print of a young boy and girl surrounded by sharks and other creatures floats on one side of the gallery and received honorable mention in the show.

On the opposite side of the room, Homer artist Anne Margret Wimerstedt's "Paper Gown #1" balances out Sherman's work. The equally large paper gown, created out of a massive collage of colors and trinkets, is decorated with small, light-catching gold circles.

Sheryl Maree Reily's "Christ has the keys to the car," was selected as Juror's Choice while Charity Green of Auke Bay, who submitted a mixed media work titled "Alaska Charity Paperdolls" and Anchorage photographer Richard Murphy's photo, "Texas Chapel Missed by the Light" received merit awards. Juneau artist Mark Daughhetee's untitled photo also received a honorable mention.

Seamster said though in the past, Alaska artists have been typecast, she sees this show as a contradiction of such beliefs.

"Despite shared influences, Alaska is still viewed by many as an enclave of traditional and frontier influences. I hope this exhibition is more evidence that Alaska artists can and do successfully range beyond regionalism in both subject and media."

"Alaska Juried Works on Paper" will be on display at the Bunnell Street Gallery through May 30. For more information, call 235-2662.

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