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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Terrain is endearingly local and heartbreakingly hopeful

By Audrey Overstreet For The Spokesman-Review

During the recent cold snap, local artists Stephanie Bogue and Tiffany Patterson painted, glittered, hammered and shivered late into the frigid nights. The two women worked overtime in the cold, cavernous Jensen Byrd warehouse to create what they hope will be mind-bending experiences for tonight’s Terrain.

The free, annual, one-night-only, juried, multimedia art-and-music event is 5 p.m. to midnight. Go to terrainspokane.com for more information on the exhibition and the bands scheduled to play. For the first time in Terrain’s 12-year history, the nonprofit arts organization secured funding to hire outside artists to build two of the show’s installations.

To give the bands a chance to shine, Bogue was put in charge of creating Terrain’s first Musicians’ Corner, and Patterson was tasked with building the event’s beloved Literature Park to showcase participating writers.

“With Musicians’ Corner, my goal is to create a really fun space for the bands to engage their fans,” explained Bogue, covered head to toe in paint splatters and wearing two wool caps over her long curly hair. On the floor of the Jensen Byrd building were huge slabs of wood she had spray-painted with bright pinks, greens and metallics in a retro ’80s and ’90s street-art style.

“It’s going to have a really cool, underground club vibe,” Bogue said. Bogue, who is a DJ herself, founded an arts-and-music festival business in 2016 called Unifest Co. with her musician/graphic designer husband, Matt Bogue. Bogue took on the art installation on behalf of Terrain as a solo project through another business she started, Moon Wild Studio.

Her vision for Terrain’s installation includes a nostalgic mashup of pre-tech era items such as cassette tapes, floppy disks and flip phones. The scene won’t just look rad. It also will serve as a functional merch booth and photo op for Terrain’s performing bands and their fans.

Traveling sofa Glitter Couch

“I was inspired with how people promoted themselves before the smart-tech era and with the eclectic collage-style,” Bogue said. Glitter Couch, the traveling sofa employed by Brittany Decker and Remelisa Cullitan to interview artists, will be placed in a prime spot for audiences to engage with musicians one-on-one and to take pics.

Musicians’ Corner will be in the space where 10 bands are scheduled to perform. “Think ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ meets the art of Roy Lichtenstein meets the pattern vibe of Yayoi Kusama meets the wardrobes of Missy Elliott meets ’80s synth pop meets peace vibes from the Woodstock era and fierce graphic styles of the social justice movement,” Bogue chuckled.

In another large but more quiet space of the warehouse, Terrain attendees will find Literature Park, where local authors and poets read and recite from their works. In the past, the area has been a nature setting with grass on the floor and a swing hanging from ropes in which writers can sit, swing and perform as though they were in a real park.

Patterson, who has had a piece in every Terrain since the beginning, said she jumped at the chance to design the park. “I didn’t submit anything this year, so it would have been the first time I didn’t have anything in the show, and I was so bummed,” Patterson said. “Now I can say I do have something in the show.”

Patterson’s installation will be quintessentially her. She will paint flowers all over the green tarp floor. She has already painted wooden stumps to sit on in the bright pinks, purples and pastels she typically favors. She will spray foam onto tall, sculptural forms to create drippy-looking, cone-shaped mountains.

A colorful Literature Park

She has been braiding giant fiber poof balls, hanging clouds with pink rain and painting rainbows with glitter in the sky. “I like the idea of being transported into the world of Tiffany,” Patterson said. “So I’ve taken all these mundane things like clouds and rain and made them sparkly and optimistic, sort of like the space you can exist in with a poet, even with all sorts of other stuff happening outside.”

“Site-specific installations are such a magical thing to experience,” said Terrain co-founder Ginger Ewing. “(With Musician’s Corner and Literature Park), we fell in love with the idea of introducing something new into the mix that people will start to anticipate year after year.”

After 12 years of seemingly boundless growth, Terrain has transformed from the little art show that could into one of the most-anticipated arts juggernauts of the year. People go to catch the latest expressions from exciting established and emerging local artists.

This year is shaping up to break many records. Again. There will be 271 artists (35 more than in previous years) and 453 pieces of artwork (also a new record). The artists hail from diverse backgrounds and varied disciplines.

From painting and poetry and sculpture and interactive installations to dance and film, the works of Terrain live up to their promise to sometimes wow, maybe confound but rarely bore.

Take the sculpture “Disarmed” by Howard and Lorraine Barlow that mixes wood, antler sheds and military stocks wrapped beautifully in fabric and knit wool.

Mutated, stark and beautiful

Vexing Media and Houdini Studios are collaborating on an immersive piece that includes music and projection. Works such as Melanie Lieb’s mutation painting, Jacob Johns’ stark portrait of a Native American and Miguel Gonzalez’s heart-filled Jesus are beautiful. They also make you think.

Azzah Sultan has a piece that meditates on the social pressures that Southeast Asian communities face to lighten one’s skin titled “Perfectly Blushed.” Boxes of rouge are stacked like the expensive and unattainable pyramids of beauty products found at department store makeup counters.

Other works unsettle or downright disturb – in a good way. The red-drenched self-portrait of Jewels Divine Dietrich shows her painfully bound but ready to battle. Jamie Junction’s black-and-white photograph of a discarded doll with her head in a toy oven seems just right.

Makayla Miracle’s sculpture of a melting hand pouring out its own arm from a teapot hits the spot of the most decimated housewife. Michael Nutkowitz’s digital art of a little boy watching President Donald Trump on TV may be the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy feeling you were looking for.

Just walking into the warehouse to witness all the creativity on the walls and stages is a rush. Rubbing elbows with area artists, watching family members gather around a young person’s first work in a show. It’s a feel-good celebration for a community that values creativity and free expression.

You want to live in a town like that. The entire scene is endearingly local and heartbreakingly hopeful. To successfully land a piece in Terrain is a rite of passage and a badge of honor. To fail is the creative’s dare to try again next year.

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