Friday, October 25, 2013

Five artists to visit during Tacoma's Studio Tour

The Weekly Volcano, Oct. 24, 20013
"Blackbird" paper sculpture by Holly Senn
Get ready, Tacoma. The 12th annual Tacoma Studio Tour is happening Nov.2 and 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — that’s two full days to visit some of Tacoma’s better artists where they create their work, talk to them, view their art and enjoy demonstrations. You might even get to use some of their stuff to make your own art.

This year’s lineup of artists is as good as it gets. Even the cover to the Studio Tour guide is outstanding — a deceptively simple drawing by Sean Alexander.

With 39 participating artists or art groups, you will not be able to visit them all, so study the guide to decide which studios you want to visit. If you’re looking for recommendations, here are five artists whose studios I’d like to visit:

1. Holly Senn, one of the most intelligent and successful sculptor/installation artists in the South Sound. A librarian in her day job, Senn’s work is all about books, paper, the trees the paper comes from and related themes, and her pieces are all made from discarded library books. Few artists meld concept and form so seamlessly as Senn. Lately she’s been making nests (birds’ nests, hornets’ nests, bee hives) out of woven strips of paper (if you look closely you can read the words). Senn’s art is beautiful and thought-provoking, and I can promise she will be a gracious host.

2. Tacoma’s all-around favorite art gadabout, Lynn DiNino. DiNino is a sculptor who works with everything from concrete to sewing machines to Hostess cupcakes. Her work is funny, insightful and often socially relevant. Plus she is one of the best promoters of art events in T-town. You never know what she’s going to do next, but I can guarantee you’ll enjoy a visit to her studio.

3. Gabrielle Brown is a performance artist and sculptor. He is listed in the guide as artist, activist and shoe cobbler, and he calls himself a “garbologist.” As with DiNino, there’s not telling what you might run into when you visit his studio, but it’s sure to be entertaining.

4. Pat Haase is a sculptor who is new to me. I’ve never seen her work “in the flesh,” but pieces I’ve viewed online are fascinating. She is a realistic sculptor of figures, and I use the term “realistic” in its proper meaning as being natural and gritty as opposed to being idealized.

5. Betty Sapp Ragan is a photographer and printmaker. I’ve been impressed with some of her works in group shows. Most of what I’ve seen has been photo-collages of contemporary women in nooks and crannies and on pedestals of ancient buildings. They are interesting conceptually and impressive in their craftsmanship. Her latest work, according to the blurb in the guide, consists of hand-colored photo-collages of landscapes with the outlines of architectural features.

Now you can enjoy the tour and pick your own five favorites.

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