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Olympic Peninsula, Washington
August 24, 2008
From journal Port Angeles... So Much To Do!
Port Angeles, Washington
January 12, 2003
Now, I’ll start by saying that I am about the farthest thing you could find from an art critic. In fact, I don’t know the first thing about art or what might make it good or bad. So my evaluation is a humble one, done only from my first impressions and total lack of education on the subject. Maybe it is better that way . . .
Anyway, the Fine Arts Center building holds changing displays done by Northwest artists. The most recent exhibit is by an artist named Allen Moe, a former Park Ranger at Denali National Park, who is now a full-time artist based in Skagit County, Washington. His exhibit is called Life Vessels and consists of clay pottery covered and decorated with animal skin and parts. Now as disgusting as this sounds, it was really beautiful and creative pottery. There were vessels covered with cow stomachs or deerskin stretched over the clay. The decorations included fish heads, fish scales, ladybugs, and bones--all of which were surprisingly beautiful in this format. The volunteer said that the artist "doesn’t let anything go to waste"--and apparently he gets his materials from salvaged animals and roadkill. The ladybug piece said the ladybugs were found in his attack. From what I’ve seen at this exhibit and others, these indoor exhibits are high quality.
The other aspect of the Fine Arts Center is its "Art Outside" exhibit, which it calls a "museum without walls" in its brochure. Art Outside is a collection of 79 artworks, again by Northwest artists, displayed along walking paths on 5 acres of land called Webster Woods (former estate of Esther Barrows Webster, artist and founder of the Fine Arts Center). Maps are sold for $1. The artwork itself is somewhat intentionally hidden in the wooded landscape. Many of the pieces are made of natural materials and blend in, while others you need to look up in the trees. It will take you some time to find them all.
This is where my analysis of the artwork gets critical. I am an avid outdoors person and appreciate the use of natural materials and that nature is art, but some of these works did not strike me as anything terribly special. Some were interesting and I really liked them, but others looked like one of the neighborhood kids played with rocks or string, and called it artwork. I recommend a visit to judge for yourself.
From journal Olympic Peninsula for all seasons