To create freely, to make art outside what anyone expects: That’s what these women want. They are four Americans of color; four who grew up in immigrant families. And they are about to unveil their brand-new weavings, ceramics, collages and sculpture at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.
“Material as Metaphor,” an exhibition so named because the art’s material is part of its message, opens Saturday, Dec. 15, at the center at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.
This is a family-friendly show with a variety of art media, two public receptions and activities for visitors, said Sarah Jane, the center’s gallery and program director.
First comes the opening party from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. At this free event, visitors will have their first chance to see a singular, large woven installation by Filipino-American artist Kristen Soller; seven works by Sri Lankan collagist Miriam Omura; a new creation by Peruvian-American sculptor Carolina Cueva and seven ceramic pieces by Haitian potter Kira Tippenhauer.
Tippenhauer, who works and teaches in Miami, is curator of the show; the rest of the artists live in the southeastern United States.
After that reception, the gallery will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays with free admission.
Since so much is happening around the December holidays, Jane opted to save the “Material as Metaphor” curator’s talk for next month. Tippenhauer will give a presentation — also free — at the artists’ reception from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19.
Jane and Tippenhauer met three years ago when Tippenhauer took a class at the Grunewald Guild near Leavenworth, where Jane was then arts program coordinator. Both fierce about art and equal opportunity, they stayed in touch.
“When Sarah Jane told me about the curatorial opportunity, I thought, oh, these are the people,” Tippenhauer said of Omura, Soller and Cueva.
“We’re all women from another culture” outside the United States, and women who spoke languages other than English while growing up. Identities are complicated.
Such artists often feel pressured to make art about “the struggle,” Tippenhauer said.
What if, she asked, every creative human felt free to do whatever feels right and natural in the moment?
“If you’re authentic [in your art], your experiences come through,” she said, adding that the participating artists all wanted to create new work for this show.
Omura’s art mixes found photographs — hundreds of them — with maps, drawings and paper shaped to resemble feathers. Cueva and Soller create unconventional sculptures and weavings. And Tippenhauer makes pottery with added fiber.
Jane, for her part, describes these pieces as “like playful people in grass skirts.” All is not serious here.
“We’re adding kids’ activities,” Jane noted, “hands-on things” throughout the exhibition, which stays on display through Feb. 17.
For more about exhibitions and activities at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, see PAFAC.org, visit the center’s Facebook page and phone 360-457-3532.
“The artists do some really playful things,” Jane said of the four women in “Material as Metaphor.”
“I feel like that’s a little bit subversive.”
She invites visitors — of any age — to see for themselves.