Arts and Entertainment

'Marriage of Bronze and Water' opens at PAFAC

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center opens a new decade by honoring its founding director, Duncan Yves McKiernan, with a retrospective exhibition. "A Marriage of Bronze and Water" features more than 30 bronze sculptures spanning the octogenarian's career, complemented with watercolor paintings by his wife and muse, the late Margaret "Peach" McKiernan.

The show runs Jan. 10-March 7 with an opening reception for McKiernan from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 10.

McKiernan developed a program at the art center that drew both well-known masters and lesser-known Olympic Peninsula talents.

He supplemented the visual fare with live performances of musicians and authors.

"From these seeds the center began its growth into a venue with wide regional appeal and significance, the Olympic Peninsula's art museum," said Jake Seniuk, McKiernan's successor in 1989 and curator of the exhibition.

Following two decades in Aberdeen, McKiernan returned to his birthplace, Port Angeles, in 1971, intrigued by the artistic possibilities of lost-wax casting. Soon after his return, he built a small foundry in an old garage. Under the classical European-style tutelage of Austrian sculptor Lillian von Hild, he worked in clay to create the first of many tabletop sculptures that he then cast in bronze in his garage foundry and later in a 300-pound capacity foundry.

His tabletop sculpture "Eggplant with Persimmon" appeared in PAFAC's Decade (10th anniversary) show and won Best of Show in 1984's Arts in Action on the Port Angeles waterfront.

In 1980, McKiernan's sleek 71/2-foot bronze "Cormorants" was installed at the City Pier as Port Angeles' first piece of public art.

In 1989 McKiernan created another public project - the Peace Bell - that was commissioned by the State Centennial Committee to represent Clallam County at the Washington Convention and Trade Center in Seattle. McKiernan paid tribute to the peninsula's Pacific partnerships with the Far East when he inscribed Peace through Trade on the face of the bell in five languages - Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian and English. He created a second casting of the bell that is sited on the Port Angeles harbor shore not far from the "Cormorants."

McKiernan's life-size bronze cougar, his last major work and the largest since "Cormorants," was inspired by his observation of a house cat drinking from a pool.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-

4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. PAFAC is at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles. Admission is free.

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