Posted in Kenai Peninsula College
“Bikadelic” is an acrylic on canvas painting by Kaitlin Vadla.
By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter
I recently was invited to help judge the current Kenai Peninsula College Student Exhibit with Cathleen Rolph, and found it to be a difficult task because there were so many wonderful pieces to consider. That is a great sign for an exhibit that has many first-year students, and speaks volumes about the quality of instruction occurring there.
The Juror’s Choice Award went to already accomplished artist Chris Banas for his self-portrait in pastel. The bold, confident lines and poignant rendering is, in my opinion, quite simply the way portraits should be done. My sense upon coming across it was that it moved me to want to know the artist as well as the subject (which, it turned out, were one in the same in this case). I didn’t have any trouble casting my vote in that direction.
By Zirrus VanDevere for the Redoubt Reporter
“Hieroglyphic Morning” by Jayne Jones is part of the art faculty exhibit at the Gary L. Freeburg Gallery at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus through Sept. 15.
It’s time again for the faculty art exhibit at the Gary L. Freeburg Gallery at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus, and it looks like it’s going to be an interesting year.
The most intriguing offering is Celia Anderson’s large-format painting on paper called “Tricksters.” In it, ravens appear to be tearing up an American flag, scrap by scrap, and flying off with the pieces. It is left to the viewer to decide who or what the tricksters represent, I suppose, and most folks are likely to have an opinion about it. I love the piece for its more formal delights — the vibrant brushstrokes and well-handled composition create a work that is dynamic and entirely engaging. If ravens were to pick it apart, I think each scrap would be an amazing little painting.
Right beside it sits a mixed-media piece by Kathleen Rolph, where a puppetlike version of a raven sits in a birch “tree,” and two adorable babies sit in a nest. From what I know about these types of events, it is likely synchronicity rather than planning at play, so it was fun to see. Continue reading
Photos courtesy of Central Kenai Peninsula Photograph Collection. Ed Kimbrall and his son, Edward, pose with a large rainbow trout in front of Ed’s old pickup in 1960.
When Marge Mullen drove home one day in 1998 and discovered three small cardboard beer boxes on her front porch, she had no idea where the contents of those boxes would lead her. Today the contents comprise a portion of an important historical collection that was just made available to public viewing this spring.
The boxes contained a few odds and ends, but mainly photographs — piles of photographs, many of them dating back more than 30 years — and no note indicating who had delivered them, or why. Mullen carried the boxes inside and began examining the images. She found familiar scenes from peninsula history, in addition to dozens of photographs chronicling the devastation that the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake had wrought in Seward, Anchorage and along Turnagain Arm.
A short time later, her telephone rang. The caller was Freddie Billingslea, who admitted to the surprise delivery. She told Mullen that the photos had been taken by Dick Mommsen, who, along with Billingslea and her husband, had begun the Kalifonsky Nordic Ski Club in the late 1960s. After Mommsen died, she found herself with his photos; Mullen’s affiliation with the Soldotna Historical Society may have made her seem the ideal candidate to hold onto and find some use for Mommsen’s pictures.
“Why Freddie gave them to me, I don’t know,” Mullen said, “but that was the start of the whole thing. Shortly after that — I don’t know how the word got around — Mary Pat King from Jeff King’s guide service bought Loren Stewart’s old house, and down in the basement were these pingpong tables full of, again, old beer boxes — with cobwebs and spiders and mouse droppings.” Continue reading
By Naomi Klouda
Photo by Naomi Klouda, Homer Tribune. Kenai Peninsula College anthropology professor Alan Boraas leads a tour through the now-abandoned Kalifornsky Village.
An indentation in the earth indicates a home site dating back to A.D. 1200, a clue left behind by ancient Dena’ina peoples who once inhabited a now-abandoned village.
Semi-subterranean homes were used by all Native Arctic and sub-Arctic peoples of Alaska, said anthropologist Alan Boraas, leading a village tour for his Kenai Peninsula College anthropology students. The house site is made more impressive by a square offshoot on the back of the earthen home, giving modern people a more intimate glimpse.
“It could have been a back bedroom, or a bathing room where steam was used,” he said.
The main room had benches on the side, a fire crib filled with sand and firewood at the center for what people craved: “Fireside therapy,” Boraas said.
This is the first year Boraas has taught a long-distance education course available to students at KPC’s Kachemak Bay Campus, as well as students at Soldotna’s Kenai River Campus. Distance education was an experience that didn’t always sit right.
“I couldn’t see my students’ eyes,” he lightly complained, standing now before most all of his 20 students at an abandoned graveyard. He had just read a story told by Peter Kalifornsky at the side of Kalifornsky’s grave.
If ghosts are real, then it seemed amongst the drooping spruce boughs and dried leaves, at least one might be listening. This would be the preferred way to teach a class that focused on the Kenai Peninsula’s indigenous peoples — in person, around the actual sites, respectfully calling up stories heavy with meanings and now preserved, thanks to Kalifornsky’s memorizations.
The long-distance class involved Boraas sitting at a table under the eye of a video camera while teaching his Kenai River Campus class. A television monitor in Homer broadcasts the lecture to students at the Kachemak Bay Campus. The tour was the first time they all met in person.
That’s a lot different from oral tradition the anthropologist has enjoyed: his work with one of the last speakers of the Kenai Dena’ina.
Kalifornsky, known as Uncle Pete to tribal members, was born in 1911 at Kalifornsky Village and died in Kenai in 1993. In addition to being a fluent speaker, he was a prolific writer. His 1991 “A Dena’ina Legacy: K’tl’egh’i Sukdu,” edited by James Kari and Boraas, is a collection of his writings between 1972 and 1990 and was a winner of the 1992 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Continue reading
By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter
“Good Things Come in Threes,” by Patty Youngren, is part of a student show on display this month at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus.
There’s plenty to find interesting at the student exhibition currently on view at the Gary L. Freeburg Gallery at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus. The photography and pastel work are profuse and generally excellent, and the scant examples of nonwatercolor painting and printmaking on fiber are notable, as well.
“Good Things Come in Threes,” an acrylic painting by Patty Youngren, is a lot of fun, with colorfully bold and dynamic painting defining something as mundane as three cans of paint. The heavy strokes pulling downward in the background make the harmless cans seem ominous and slightly unsettling. I respond well to any amount of conceptualism in art, and this one seems to be moving in that direction. Void of much of a sense of conceptualism, but interesting to look at, nonetheless, are Sherril Miller’s “Spawned” and Juanita Hillhouse’s “Kinetic Frog.” They are each examples of a polychromatic screen print. Continue reading