A rite of spring for art lovers, Coeur d’Alene’s ArtWalk begins today with an event featuring fresh work from 13 artists at The Art Spirit Gallery.
An opening reception at the fine art gallery will help mark the season’s start and highlight pieces by some of the gallery’s core regional artists – including Harold Balazs, Mel McCuddin, Mary Farrell and Del Gish – along with pieces by artists new or newer to the space.
The latter include:
• Chuck Aydlett, a clay artist in Helena whose hand-built pieces are drawn on with pencils and paints.
• Ken Fenton, a retired pipefitter in Fruitland, Idaho, who welds stainless steel pipes, nuts and bolts into vessel forms and grinds and polishes them into gleaming vases and bowls with geometric patterns.
• Kerry Moosman, a clay artist in Boise whose coil-built vases and larger vessels offer a contrast between rough interiors, with tool marks left, and burnished and variegated exteriors.
They’ll join a cadre of artists working in various media whose work may be more familiar among residents of the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane areas.
Balazs’ large sculptural works dot the Inland Northwest. His most recent work appears on a smaller scale.
“Harold painted hard all winter at the kitchen table,” said Steve Gibbs, the gallery’s owner. While the 85-year-old Mead artist has difficulty standing, he painted a series of “lively acrylic paintings.”
McCuddin, of Spokane, paints human and animal figures, usually solitary ones and often ambiguously lighted. He calls himself a figurative expressionist, coaxing form from a layer of abstract “underpaint.”
“People flock in to see his work,” Gibbs said.
Spokane printmaker Farrell’s many-layered pieces often portray human or tangled plant forms. Gish, of Medical Lake, paints portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Others whose work will appear in the exhibit: Morse Clary, of Pasco, who uses mixed media to create book forms; Claudia Pettis, of Whidbey Island, Wash., who raises rare species of sheep and combines oil and charcoal to make paintings of them; Sister Paula Turnbull, of Spokane, a sculptor; Cary Weigand, of Jacksonville, Ore., who sculpts using porcelain; and Spokane oil painter Gordon Wilson.
Gibbs said he’s particularly excited about new paintings by Victoria Brace, a Russian-born and -trained artist who illuminates the beauty in easily overlooked subjects, including urban Spokane landscapes. Her oil painting “South Freya” gazes north from a hill in Spokane.
ArtWalks run from 5 to 8 p.m. on the second Friday of each month, April through December, in downtown Coeur d’Alene. For a map and a list of venues participating in tonight’s event, go to www.artsincda.org.>