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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Regional artists bring heads together, collaborate on Kolva-Sullivan Gallery show ‘That, Through Which We See … Differing Points of View’

By Azaria Podplesky For The Spokesman-Review

To hear Alex Biggs tell it, being an artist can sometimes feel like being in a cocoon. You’re comfortably isolated for long periods of time, chiseling away on your next creative endeavor.

But once you step out of the cocoon, you can often connect with other artists and art appreciators through the work you created while alone.

Looking to create more and leave her cocoon, Biggs started planning. Newly retired from a career in real estate, Biggs reached out to a group of fellow artists, many of them retired themselves, who she felt connected to and asked if they’d like to be part of a show she was putting together.

The show Biggs curated, “That, Through Which We See … Differing Points of View,” runs Fridays and Saturdays at the Kolva-Sullivan Gallery through Jan. 10. The show features collages, assemblages, dioramas, paintings and claywork from Biggs, MB, Larry Ellingson, Dan McCann, Wendy Franklund Miller, Kay O’Rourke and Roger Ralston.

Biggs was interested in creating dioramas after a friend challenged her to make one. She then proposed the idea to the rest of the group.

“They didn’t all want to do dioramas necessarily,” she said. “They wanted to do their stuff, but they were going to do something that went along with the idea of assemblages, collages and stuff. They all said ‘Okay, we’ll do whatever.’ And I said ‘That’s fine. I trust all of you.’ ”

Together, the artists discussed the story they wanted to share with viewers through their work, individually and as a whole.

“As we’ve moved through creative seasons and landscapes, we each have created art from our own perspective – personal expressions of our experiences. Now, we’re showcasing the results of our journeys from our differing points of view. Our view of life and its truths, formed by when and where we are born, plus genetics,” the group wrote.

McCann said in a statement collected by Biggs that he has been working in the arts for more than 40 years and often spends at least one to two hours in his studio each day. His three pieces in this show represent his chest and both legs.

Ellingson makes visual art, including assemblage, painting, photography and fabrication, and auditory art, for which he composes and performs music using electronics and found sound. In a statement collected by Biggs, Ellingson said he was interested in participating in the show because he admires and finds inspiration from the work of other artists.

“The process of getting together and agreeing on an approach, I knew would provide opportunities for cross-pollination, sometimes known as stealing ideas from others,” he said.

The largest of his pieces in the exhibit, “East of Bagan,” was inspired by a trip to Myanmar during which he admired the jagged lines of uneven fencing and irregularly shaped plots of land on a hot air balloon ride to view temples and shrines.

Other pieces in the show feature bird wings, animal jawbones, sticks and other natural elements. Others still feature collections of photographs and paper and painted collages, including Kay O’Rourke’s “Sir Asher Asks the Question,” which shows the Statue of Liberty riding a cat while surrounded by a jester of sorts and a person in a suit with the head of a rooster.

Biggs is excited for viewers to see the diversity of pieces in the exhibit and hopes they learn a little about the life of each artist through their work.

“It was from that idea that we were all creators and that we all come together with some common interests, which has to do with collecting stuff, putting it together, or having ideas that we could put together,” she said about the origins of “That, Through Which We See … Differing Points of View.”

“It was like ‘You can be so different, all of us, in our personalities and what we see going on in our lives,’ ” she added about seeing each artist’s pieces for the first time. “We’re a group of people from 70- to 80-something in this group and we’ve been through a lot and have had a lot of experiences. Now what are we doing? Where are we today?”