KETCHIKAN, Alaska — Some rubber cement, a liberal glob of acrylic ink, water and a chunk of plywood go a long way for Jim Guenther in creating the type of texture apparent in his abstract, water-inspired works.
And “you never know what you’re going to get,” Guenther explained as he described the most recent addition to his “Sacred Waters” collection of paintings, now being displ9ayed at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center in downtown Ketchikan.
Add some broken bits of plastic, a squirt or so of added coloring, more acrylic ink and a layering of to-be-removed plastic wrap: “And it’ll kind of make these little, just wavelets,” Guenther said, “that are kind of the undercoating of the scene.”
“This is really the direction that I’m going, more than anything else,” he later added, then contrasting the bolder style against some of his more subdued paintings. “I kind of go back and forth. It just refines itself.”
With his artwork now among the upper-level exhibits of the Discovery Center, Guenther is featuring the collection as part of the facility’s “Summer Art Show,” with co-exhibitor Felix Wong, who has on display his “Moonshine” collection of still photography.
Wong’s work, being displayed near the entrance of the center, offers a redo of the lobby that hasn’t seen a change of scene since the building opened, according to facility Director Leslie Swada, who said the show will last through September.
“Felix’s photographs are really, really huge, and so, they are going to be in the lobby area, interspersed with our permanent exhibtry,” Swada said before a June 16 opening reception for the art show.
“It’s going to be a really nice contrast, and I’m just really excited about it because we’ve never had a change in the lobby,” Swada said. “The center has been open since 1995, so I think it’s just going to be stunning.”
The “Moonshine” collection includes a series of long-exposure frames that capture starlit skies as a backdrop to several local landmarks, such as Deer Mountain and the tribal clanhouse replica at Totem Bight State Historical Park.
In addition to his abstract paintings, Guenther’s “Sacred Waters” collection also includes a limestone-and-spruce bust of Elizabeth Peratrovich, with the material sourced from Prince of Wales Island.
Guenther and Wong respectively featured similar solo shows with the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council during the 2016-17 season of the nonprofit’s Main Street Gallery exhibits.
They’re part of a robust art scene, Swada said, that essentially saved the Discovery Center show. She said the original artwork planned for the center’s “Summer Art Show” fell through last-minute.
“It was pretty crazy, because we were able to quickly find two local artists, Jim and Felix, that, you know, their work ties in with our mission, basically showcasing the forest and the people,” Swada said.
“It just worked out really well,” Swada said. “It just shows what a strong arts community we have, because, I mean, I was able to find those guys in less than 24 hours, and they were able to set it up, display it and everything — just an incredible arts community, so super thankful for that.”
Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com