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Thursday, July 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Theme for this First Friday: art in dark rooms

Pullman-based intermedia artist Joe Hedges will be attending the opening reception of his exhibit at Chase Gallery on Friday afternoon. (Courtesy)
Pullman-based intermedia artist Joe Hedges will be attending the opening reception of his exhibit at Chase Gallery on Friday afternoon. (Courtesy)
By Audrey Overstreet For The Spokesman-Review

Forget New Year’s diet resolutions to boost your health. Recent research has shown that visiting art galleries and museums can lower anxiety and depression, increase critical thinking skills and even make you feel like you are falling in love.

So get out to Spokane’s free First Friday Art Walk to form a lasting, healthy habit in 2020. The following is a list of local highlights to explore this First Friday night. For more information on all participating venues, go to downtownspokane.org.

The Old West never looked so modern. Or maybe the Marlboro Man’s gone rock ’n’ roll. Decide for yourself when you check out Nevada native Elliott Kolbe’s screen prints on reclaimed metals and wood at Iron Goat Brewing. From 5-8 p.m. at 1302 W. Second Ave.

The Chase Gallery is opening a thought-provoking show by Pullman-based intermedia artist Joe Hedges. The assistant professor of painting/intermedia at Washington State University weaves together oil painting, new media, web art, installation and more to explore the effects of digital technologies on human experience. His show “Hypercombines,” through March 25, highlights the way that the ubiquitous smartphone, despite its convenience, resources and novelty, also has brought constant distraction and stress. In the piece “Island Hopping,” a beautiful ocean landscape is rendered in oil paint but is obscured with a glowing tablet screen containing Google search results of ocean water. Maddening, but pretty, too. Hedges will be at the opening reception from 4-7 p.m. 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. in the basement outside City Council chambers.

Pottery Place Plus features fiber artist Juaquetta Holcomb, who uses locally sourced fibers from sheep and alpaca, natural dyes and a spinning wheel to create beautifully colored textured yarns and garments. Colorful painters Linda Calahan and Katie Frey also will show their works at the Liberty Building. From 5-9 p.m. at 203 N. Washington St.

The fascinatingly detailed pen and ink art of Larry Bergman is on display at Robert Karl Cellars with a reception from 5-8 p.m. at 115 W. Pacific Ave.

Saranac Art Gallery has two shows: “Passengers” by Ann Porter and “Content Aware” by Ashley Vaughn. Porter’s photography, prints and silk hangings examine the attitudes of people as they wait in airports. Vaughn’s art show, “Content Aware,” explores the idea of content through drawing, words, photographs and the domestic frame. There will be a participatory aspect during the opening reception that will invite the public to contribute to the exhibition. From 4-8 p.m. at 25 W. Main Ave.

The Art Spirit and AS2 Galleries will present “Shifting Horizons – Perspectives of Our Relationship With the Earth,” an exhibition by Laura Truitt and Victoria Brace. Truitt, an assistant art professor at Gonzaga University, deconstructs landscapes and floats architectural shapes to force viewers, and herself, to face human impacts on the environment. Brace’s atmospheric paintings bring the beautiful and fragile parts of the earth to life. From 5-8 p.m. at the Wonder Building at 835 N. Post.

La Resistance is presenting an exciting group show in a dark room titled “Illuminate!” The gallery will be lit up by the artworks themselves. Artists include Robert Lamonte, Roin Morigeau, Amanda Caldwell, Miguel Maltos Gonzales, Violet Green, Chloe Farmin, LauraLee White, Julie Gautier-Downes Jackson & Kristen Gautier-Downes, Ginger Oakes, Larry Ellingson, Mark Addy, Audreana Camm and Anj Marth. Live spoken word will be performed by Alexander Manzoni, Stephen Pitters and Dennis Held. From 5-9 p.m. at 1816 E. Sprague Ave.

Dark rooms seem to be a theme this First Friday, but they are all so different. And oh, so trippy. The Kolva-Sullivan Gallery is hosting a couple of artists looking to alter viewers’ realities by blocking out light. “Vault” by Kelsey Brewer is an intimate, pitch black void housed within a domed structure. Inside, somatically connective technologies guide and support you to engage with an interior aspect of yourself and describe it in sensory terms. Synesthetic technologies including touch-based sound and sound-based sight that interact with you directly to change, complicate and confuse your normal perception of your senses.

Also at the Kolva-Sullivan is “Gazing” by Daniel Shieh. This installation also takes place in a dark room, but the 3-minute immersive experience involves four or more participants. Before entering the room, participants put on earplugs and goggles that illuminate their eyes. Because most characteristics that one would use to categorize a person will be subdued (such as eye color and skin color), participants will not be able to determine which person they are looking at. The act of looking at another person, often charged with an unequal power dynamic, is stripped of its power and replaced with a sense of mutual discovery. Both experiences can be had from 5-8 p.m. at 115 S. Adams St.

Avenue West Gallery in Kendall Yards presents the acrylic paintings of featured member artist Aaron Smith, as well as the acrylic paintings and acoustic guitars handcrafted by guest artist Joel Stehr. Neither Spokane-based artist has had formal art training, but that just makes their compelling skills and fresh perspectives even more impressive. The artists’ reception is from 5-8 p.m. at 907 W. Boone Ave.

Also in Kendall Yards, Linnea Tobias’ mixed-media paintings exploring the natural beauty of the Northwest are hanging in Core Pilates studio. Tobias’ birds, trees and plants are influenced by the patterns and pieces in her garden, textiles, family and even in her pets. From 5-8 p.m. at 1174 W. Summit Parkway.

Down the street at Craftsman Cellars are the watercolor creations by Karen Robinette. Even though the award-winning graphic designer’s paintings are representational, her focus is on the abstract quality of the interaction between positive and negative shapes. From 5-8 p.m. at 1194 W. Summit Parkway.

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