First Friday Spokane, December 2010

December’s First Friday artist receptions and exhibitions

Annette Farrell

Graphics Editor

Spokane’s monthly celebration of local art and galleries, otherwise

know as First Friday, featured art of many mediums and artists of many kinds. The Spokane Arts Commission featured 24 venues in all. Let’s take a look at five events that took place during the first weekend of December.

Kolva-Sullivan Gallery & Track Side Studio
115 Adams St.

This gallery is located around the corner from Washington Square, which is home to a Rocket Bakery and the clothing boutique Fringe and Fray. These two gallery spaces share the same front door. To the left is the pottery studio shared by two owners who use the space to work and display their craft. To the right, the Kolva-Sullivan gallery hosts the reception for Matt Boland’s “Scream and Shine” exhibition of pottery sculpture, which is partly a celebration of the artist’s return to Eastern Washington.

Boland is glad to be back in Spokane. He has seen Spokane’s art scene, and Spokane itself, grow a lot over the years. There is a belief held by many Spokanites that Spokane has no culture, but Boland said that this is the wrong way to think about it.

“If you’re assuming there is no culture, then its going to die out. [Spokane] has really grown, and it’s going to keep growing,” Boland said.

The industrial gallery space of the Kolva-Sullivan gallery features a series of Boland’s sculptures depicting men in underwear, contorted into outlandish positions. Each angry, stru

ggling figure would have a rather imposing presence if not for the fact that they are stripped down to their whitey-tighties, with beer bellies and pink skin revealed.

“My current work addresses the ongoing obsession, in my life as well as those around me, with self-improvement,” Boland said.

One sculpture, called “Too Carry My Own Weight,” is composed of a floating man struggling to carry a copy of himself in a net. Through this sculpture, Boland communicates the kind of inner struggle that everyone experiences. Sometimes people struggle to carry their own metaphorical baggage, and sometimes it is actually the physical body that hold us back.

Boland uses the underwear as a contrast to the anger and struggle present in the little clay men. Contrast, which Boland says is different from

merely ‘opposite’, is important to this series. As one can see in the show’s title, “Scream and Shine,” Boland likes putting together contrasting concepts. It is a way to see things a little differently, and to create new meaning.

Fringe and Fray
1325 W 1st  


This vintage clothing boutique has made space on the walls for the paintings of local artists and teacher Darcy Lee Drury. Her brightly colored paintings are imaginative and energetic. She creates flowing images of flowers, fish and abstract designs. Her portraits are also unique in the way she emphasizes the lips and creates big bright eyes, while keeping the personality of the individual in the painting.

You may have seen her work at the Terrain art show last October. If not, you can expect to see her work at other venues around town in the future. Examples of her work can also be viewed at her website,

Second Space Gallery
610 W Second

Second Space opened on Friday with a juried exhibition titled “Lipstick and Rouge.”
Artists were required to submit an original work made within the last two years that uses the color red. Judging the show is Karen Kaiser, assistant curator of the Jundt Art Museum. Most of the submissions came from Spokane, but there were a few works that came from places as far away as Chicago.

Vlasta Smola’s “Bailando Flamenco” is a stylized oil painting of a vivacious flamingo, with a spanish lace fan for a wing, and an undulating flamenco skirt for a body. Smola’s painting expresses the passion and heat of the color red, exemplifying the show’s theme.

“Lipstick and Rouge” can be viewed at the gallery through the end of the December.

Saranac Art Project
W 25 Main St

If you are looking for video installations in Eastern Washington, the Saranac Art Project is the place to go. This month’s show, called “Digital Matters,” is a display of digital art projected on the wall, displayed on TV screens, played through speakers and printed on paper.

Pulsating sounds that ebb and swell fill the gallery, while technicolor moving pictures slide across the screens. One of the videos uses an image from a Washington state traffic cam, and blurs the image sideways, the way a slow computer sometimes repeats a segment of web page on accident. Hanging on the wall are printed compositions of abstract forms. The works in this gallery all have a heavy dose of computer manipulation in them.

According to the Saranac Art Project website, this show attempts to answer questions about the nature of the digital medium as an art form. The show runs through January 1.

The Museum of Arts and Culture
2316 W. First Ave

Saturday afternoon brought local artists and art appreciators to the MAC for the artist reception of Timothy Ely and his exhibition “Line of Sight.” On display are Ely’s hand bound and illustrated art books.

This exhibition is unique on several different levels because the art is in the form of books, and the exhibits represent the artist’s work created as early as elementary school, and as recent as this year. Audience members had the opportunity to hear directly from the artist, who spoke about his influences, and answered questions like why he uses unreadable text.

Each of his books is a unique work of art, and to get the full experience, you must hold the book in your hands and flip through the pages. All of the books displayed in cases, but Ely created a new book for this exhibition specifically so people could touch it and flip through the pages. The difference between books and paintings, according to Ely, is that books are a much more intimate experience, while 2-D paintings are more passive, like furniture.

“I’m interested in the ideas of people,” Ely said,.

Ely’s compositions are dominated by geometric shapes made precisely with mechanical instruments like compasses. His inspiration comes from science fiction novels that he began to collect and read at the age of eight. The process and materials used in the making of a book are still Ely’s favorite part of making art.

He has also developed a kind of fake alphabet, which he uses in place of text normally found in books. Ely does not want the viewer to get distracted by meaning contained in paragraphs and sentences. Walking up to one of Ely’s compositions might seem strange at first because of the lack of information beyond the abstract designs.

When asked about content and meaning in his abstract drawings and symbols Ely said, “I don’t think anything can be made without meaning, so I can safely say ‘yes,’ [my paintings] have meaning.”

“Line of Sight” will be exhibited at the MAC through April 16, 2011.



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