Three northwestern artists will be featured at The Gallery at the Park in Richland, October 4 – 28.
Their Northwestern background is strongly represented in their art. Michael J. Lewis is a representational artist depicting western themes, wildlife and landscape images. Anne Beard is an accomplished furniture designer whose designs are more like pieces of art than furnishings. April Ottey makes unique jewelry using her metalsmithing talents.
Michael Lewis was raised in a Wyoming household that taught him to love art. His father was an artist and he took Michael to the finest art galleries in Jackson, WY. Thus he became familiar with the finest painters. When he was about 10 years old, his father took him to visit famed illustrator and studio artist, John Clymer at his studio.
Lewis moved to Othello 26 years ago to teach art at Othello High School. During that time, he served 5 years on the board of directors for the John Clymer Museum and Gallery in Ellensburg, WA. After teaching for 23 years and surviving a life threatening illness he took a leap of faith and resigned from teaching. He has since pursued his art career and has been invited to participate in the finest shows throughout the southwest and pacific northwest.
After a great deal of consideration, Lewis concluded that he wanted this show opportunity, at The Gallery at the Park, to celebrate the Hanford Reach. “At the time of my decision I did not realize that this area would be included in one of our nation's newest national parks! I was further thrilled to discover our national parks are celebrating 100 years! This makes my theme selection very relevant.” The artworks will depict landscape, wildlife, ranch life and Wanapum peoples found in the Hanford Reach area. He is also creating portraits of three Tri-cities residents that worked on the Hanford Properties in the 1950s. Lewis remarks, “I could paint for years and not run out of subject matter for the Hanford Reach.”
A veteran of her craft, Anne Beard grew up on a mountain ranch in Washington and has lived on the Oregon high desert for the past two decades where she creates one-of-a kind, upholstered furnishings for the contemporary western lifestyle. “I'm pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit regionally. The Tri-Cities is so fortunate to have a venue such as the Allied Arts Center that enriches the community in so many ways.”
Blending the individual expression and functional practicality characteristic of traditional western crafts, Anne infuses her work with vignettes of the western landscape. Her designs range from tailored ottomans depicting a cameo of a cowgirl and her favorite horse to nature inspired armchairs appliquéd with frolicsome chickadees on snow covered pine.
A strong sense of individuality, coupled with decades of focused experimentation, Anne's work is uniquely identifiable. Appliquéing the finest wool gabardines, her pieces are frequently accented with cow or deer hide, pictorial nail heads or minute pieces of hand applied Tamarack bark. Given the attention to detail lavished on each one-of-a-kind piece, Anne produces a limited number of custom orders each year. In viewing these pieces, one must go beyond seeing them as furniture and appreciate them for what they are, three-dimensional art.
Growing up in rural Montana, April Ottey was always drawn to the old dump on her parent’s farm. The interaction between the rusting pieces of homesteader’s trash and the mosses and decaying logs and glacial stones on the forest floor drew her in. As she progressed through her education and maturation as an artist, her attraction to the images created by these haphazard juxtapositions remained a constant.
While completing her MFA in photography at Central Washington University she was introduced to working with metals. Ottey tells us, “This was an impactful experience in the course of my artistic interests. My work has evolved over the years; I still incorporate objects that I find into my work. However, with metalsmithing I am also able to create work that combines textures, shapes and layers as if each was a relic left behind by one person and picked up and cherished by another.” Her work explores the relationships between natural objects and hand crafted pieces where the mark of nature isn't so different from the mark of the maker.
April taught jewelry and metalsmithing for 8 years at New Horizons High School in Pasco and Hanford High School in Richland. “I love teaching and watching my students acquire new techniques and learn how to express themselves in metal”. For the past fifteen years, she has had a studio in her home. Presently she works full time in her studio creating jewelry and teaching classes.
Be sure to stop in The Gallery at the Park in Richland during October and see these artists’ creations. The Gallery is located at 89 Lee Blvd in Richland and is open Tuesday – Friday 10:00 – 5:30, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00 and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00. For more information on classes and other artist opportunities check our website www.galleryatthepark.org.