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Conscience, Consciousness Personal and Political: Art from Moses Lake to Cashmere

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Well, this past week was quite the week for out of town art events which will continue this week, but more on that later.

Thursday, Martha Flores and I headed out to Moses Lake for the opening reception of the ‘Flux’ show by Hungarian born and classically trained artist Ildiko’ Kalapacs at the Moses Lake Museum and Art Center. Ildiko’s paintings are an interesting mix of colors textures and patterns and human figures many with photographs old and new attached as well.

Ildiko explained to me that the patterns come from the use of an Eastern European wall roller used in her native Hungaria to put colorful patterns on painted walls rather like we use wall paper. With this she creates various patterns then paints the figures according to the “reflection of her conscience and consciousness about the world at large as seen through the prism of the personal and political”.

When I asked her about the photographs which she has adhered to the lower corners of some of these paintings, she explained that she has chosen photos, some donated to her, that reveal timeless qualities of life or demonstrations of common cultural / familial dynamics as demonstrated by the poses and postures of these photo subjects from various cultures and time periods. Some of these can be from Hungary at the turn of the last century paired with newer photos like that of a young Japanese couple on their wedding day in which Ildiko sees the recurrent patterns of gender dynamics through time and across cultures.

As with many artists, the techniques were much easier for Ildiko to describe than the consciousness (or perhaps unconscious) aspects of these pieces several of which truly attract one to ponder and muse about what the intent conscious or otherwise was on the part of the artist. Some of these such as ‘Szeretet’, ‘raw war’, ‘Water’ and in particular ‘Look’ really can take you in and lead you to theorize. Ildiko really was a joy and a pleasure to meet and visit with.

Along with her collection of paintings, Ildiko had in this show a small group of clay fired busts (some of these also had the recurring patterns rolled into the clay like the paintings. Also, on display were some bronze sculptures like ‘Awkward Balance’ to balance out the show… pardon the pun.

The one that looks like a group sermon or a group surfing on a cross reminded me of a piece I conceived of years ago while asleep or perhaps in a trance. Hmmm… perhaps I revisit that piece sometime. I wonder what ever happened to the original.

While at the MAC Martha Flores and I were pleased to meet up with old friends from Soap Lake who gave us the updates on the progression of the painted door project of which I have written before and for which we painted a couple of historic scenes. The plans are drawn for an outdoor walkthrough garden which will have covered displays for the doors which are painted with historical scenes from Soap Lakes past. And, while we were visiting with Al and Rose Lundberg from the Soap Lake Art Guild we learned that the artist/architect Andy Kovack, who designed the newest iteration of the Giant Lava Lamp project for the City of Soap Lake, was there. We then met and visited with Andy and learned a bit about how that project is coming and discussed the idea of a smaller indoor version that could serve as the teaser and donation attraction to support the eventual build of the full on sixty foot outdoor lamp that is hoped will put Soap Lake back on the map.

Andy was great to visit with and we were so glad we got a chance to chat with him and the other great folks we met there. All in all it was a good show put on by Curator Ann Golden and the rest of the folks there at the MAC Center. And, to top it off the band Swingshift did a great job of playing music by Van Morison and some really good Jazz.

No sooner had we returned to town when a reminder came in telling of the Second Saturday opening reception out at the Cashmere Arts and Activities Center. And; so come Saturday, we made a point of stopping in on our way to another engagement to check out the opening for Arlene Delzer and Ann Bixby Smith.

While there we visited with old friends while enjoying the vibrant oils by Arlene depicting scenes as varied as the streets of ‘Old Tuscany’ or her take on the village life of Peruvian women in ‘Campesina’s’.

While there Ruth Mattson was eager to point out the realism of Arlene’s lighthouse painting which is quite enjoyable.

Also, featured this month is glasswork of Ann Bixby Smith. Some of these were quite engaging and full of color and abstract form which always draws my attention. Also, at CAAC this month is some elegant pottery by local potter Terry Johnson. I always enjoy seeing the work of Mr. Johnson where ever it is.

And, so it was good week indeed for art in the valley and beyond. And, the adventure continues this Thursday with the West Seattle Art Walk which we have been invited to attend. We are looking forward to meeting some new folks, friends and artists. Look for more writing on this upcoming event in the days to come.

Well, enough for now. Have a very artful week and lets all ponder on the words of Diego Rivera who said, “I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.” Dream On.

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