New art exhibitions bloom in April at galleries across the island

Check out the following range of new artwork on display at local galleries and art venues in April. Many of the following exhibits are included in the First Friday of April Gallery Cruise, which is scheduled to take place from approximately 5-8 p.m. on Friday, April 1.

Treasure hunt on the island: To celebrate spring, Island Paper Chase will open the “Trees and Branches” exhibit on April 1, featuring new origami pieces by gallerist Alice Larson.

She was motivated to create origami bonsai trees through a conversation with a visitor to her shop a year ago. Inspired by miniature living trees, these small-scale works of art are made from wire populated with hundreds of tiny origami paper crane leaves. Each is placed on a piece of weathered beach wood. Larson said she learned a lot about tree structure while making these creations while finding the basics provided a great excuse for a walk on the beach.

The branch portion of the show is inspired by the flowering fruit trees that herald our Northwest spring. Multiple folded paper flowers are attached to the madrone branches, creating images like the flowering trees around us. Some are in cherry, apple and similar natural floral colors, while Larson has taken the liberty with others to offer a fuller spring palette.

Island Paper Chase will be open for gallery cruising from the first Friday until 9 p.m. Normal gallery hours are “noon (roughly) until at least 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Larson said.

Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union:

For the months of April and May, the PSCCU will present the work of John Woodard. The Credit Union will not be open for the Gallery Cruise on the First Friday in April, but hopes to hold a First Friday event in May. In April, see Woodard’s work during regular Credit Union hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

A native of the Pacific Northwest and a resident of the island since 1977, Woodard studied with Jacob Lawrence, his mentor and most influential professor, at the University of Washington. Like Lawrence, Woodard’s work, regardless of medium, relies on sophisticated composition and careful attention to the tension between negative and positive forms.

Her work is unified by an enduring passion for understanding how color works in opposition to value. The vistas of Puget Sound and the misty woods surrounding his island home serve as his inspiration.

SUITCASE Gallery: In April, Galerie VALISE will present “Animals in Odd Places,” an exhibition of works by collective member Corinne Lightweaver and guest artist Ted Meyer.

In other work, the two artists tackle serious issues of advocacy for patients with serious physical and mental health issues, but in this exhibition, their whimsical wonders come together in a family-friendly spectacle meant to delight all ages.

“I do my own work and coordinate the work of others on disease and survivorship,” Meyer said. “Between this serious work, I’ve always done lighter images…the work in this show often involves animals and people flying around as if breaking the bonds of earth’s gravity.”

“I think [Ted’s] humorous art is just what we need when we step out of the shadows of COVID or, frankly, anytime,” Lightweaver said. “Ted lives in both Los Angeles and Twentynine Palms, California, where beautiful landscapes inspire his desert images.”

The animals in Lightweaver’s art are part of his personal lexicon. His affinity with animals started early. Growing up with chickens isn’t unique to Vashon, but in LA it was quite different. His father subscribed to a Welsh corgi magazine, his mother to The House Rabbit Newsletter, his sister to The British Hedgehog Society Newsletter and Lightweaver to The Rat Report. A lifelong interest in animals informs Lightweaver’s work.

During April, the VALISE gallery will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The opening ceremony will take place on the first Friday, April 1, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the exhibition may be presented in preview on Friday afternoon. The show runs until Saturday, April 30. The VALISE Gallery is located at 17633 Vashon Highway SW.

Vashon Elderly Center: The Vashon Senior Center Photo Club will present a group exhibition, “Pareidolia and Vashon Sightings”, from April to May. A reception is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 1. The word pareidolia explores “the tendency of perception to impose meaningful interpretation on a nebulous stimulus so that one sees an object, pattern, or meaning where there is none,” according to Wikipedia. Vashon Sightings is a collection of unusual and fun images that often inspire the response “Only on Vashon!”

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