Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lightcatcher of the Whatcom Museum

The Lightcatcher is a fabulous addition to the Whatcom Museum. This building is for exhibiting fine arts, and it houses what is known as "FIG," or the children's museum. the current exhibition at the Lightcatcher, "Out of Bounds," is the art collection of two wonderful people, Driek and Michael Zirinsky.

I know Driek and Michael from my years at Boise State University. Michael was one of my teachers in the "History of Eastern Civilization" class (his area of expertise--History of the Middle East), and Driek was my mentor as I went through the English Secondary Education program. I certainly could not have made it through as gracefully without her guidance. And now, our paths cross again, in Bellingham, in the art world.

Driek and Michael have collected art from around the world and some mighty stunning pieces are displayed at the Lightcatcher:
Jeppe Hein "Fire Drawings" are mandalas created from the scorchings of a torch.
Chris Gilmore's "Lambretta" is the incredibly detailed motorcycle constructed of cardboard.
Lead Pencil Studio's Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo created "Inversion" to pay with solid and void and can also be viewed from above.
Cheryl Sturtleff's home-structions tell a compelling story of structure and emotion.
Susie J. Lee in "Fugue State" projects shadows of hands portraying varying stages of human relationship through handcast resin.
Long-Bin Chen sculpts faux stone heads from recycled books in "China Can Say No Again" and "Damoh" (from telephone books).
Ala Ebtekar has reverently painted "Ascension Buraq" with Tanka clouds and missiles on pages of an Islamic prayer book.
And then there is Enrique Chagoya's "Codex" an incredible book, a copy of which can be purchased at the gift store, "Endurance" footage of Shackleton's adventure in the Antarctic with penguins and pick axes projected on a tooth. Look for a painting with Medusa seeing her reflection as a smiley face. Definitely the gamut of emotions as one travels from the profound to the whimsical. The breath stopper, though, is Hung Liu's "September" a painting in process in 2001 with a Chinese woman in elaborate headdress and a peace crane juxtaposed. I wished for a bench to sit on to ponder this painting further.

The Zirinskys also own a couple of pieces created by John Grade, who has an installation in the Lightcatcher called "Bloom: The Elephant Bed." This cannot be explained. There's ink. There's paper. There are counterbalanced weights. There's binding that's corn-based to dissolve in Bellingham Bay waters. There's white. There's black.

So I bought a membership. It had to be done. Been there three times. Will be there again February 7 when John Grade comes to the Lightcatcher to speak about his work. There are a lot of people to thank for the existence of this fine art museum. I thank them all. And I thank Driek and Michael for sharing their art adventures with us 'hamsters.

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