Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Visual Voices: Women Painter’s of Washington

Junior League of Yakima hosted a reception for the Women Painter’s of Washington as Larson Gallery celebrated both the women and a vibrant, compelling show, Visual Voices, on Saturday, February 21. Gallery visitors connected with the artists who traveled from Seattle, Olympia, Kirkland, Bainbridge Island and other points around the state to discuss a show that was technically intriguing as well as extremely varied. 

Marilyn Farrell Webberley of Kirkland had two paintings in the show: My Red Bow featured a young Chinese girl, but Webberley took the First Place Award with her oil on canvas entitled “Namaste”, featuring women of Mahrasta, India gathering under the shade of a thatched hut.  The women are wearing traditional Marathi saris in pastel colors and leaning into the canvas in greeting.  A third term YVCC student at the reception, Akshay Thapar, said “Namaste” was his personal favorite, but it also surprised him that the subject matter was of India.  Thapar who comes from northern India is studying art under Martin Nyarko.  It was Thapar’s third visit to the gallery for this particular art show and he had to steal an hour to join the celebration before heading back to his job.

Second place honors went to a popular oil painting by Beverly Shaw Starkovich from Edmonds entitled “Waiting for Dashiell Hammett”.  A woman wearing a red Fedora pulled down to her brow and clutching her red overcoat closely in front reminded viewers of characters created by Dashiell Hammett.  The woman in red could have been meeting Sam Spade straight out of The Maltese Falcon or lunching with Nick and Nora Charles made famous in Hammett’s book, The Thin Man. Sarah Morgan, Junior League Sustainer, and her husband Matt were both attracted to this painting.  Matt found the simple pieces with lots of depth the most compelling.  He was taken particularly with “ Precious” a charcoal on paper piece by Koren Richter of Seatlle. Matt said, “The sheer simplicity of this drawing, the way the woman looked down at her hands,” pulls the viewer from her eyes to her hands. Simplicity. Yet it’s all the viewer needs to know.”

“Looking Up” by Rita Gesinger of Issaquah took Third Place honors for her depiction of native women wrapped in colorful shawls turned toward a sky filled with celebration.  The painting reflects the strength of women and is rendered in oil bar that creates bold textures.  Gesinger also created “My Inner Voice is Joy!” illustrating a beautician standing in a hair salon, wearing a hot pink apron, and joyfully wielding brush and hair dryer against a background of bold reds and chartreuse. 

One of the few landscape pieces was one called “Transitions: Thornton Creek Series” in oil pastel by Marsha Lippert from Seattle.  Lippert captures the changes in the life of a creek that flows near 8th Ave. N.E. and N.E. 105th Street in Seattle.  She says that the evolution of the creek reminds her of her own “personal growth in life and art”.

Some themes resonated with what one might expect of women. Junior League member, Sonja Dodge, said she was “particularly drawn to the Women Painters’ show because many spoke boldly to women.”  One favorite was “Listening Palace” by Carole Barrer of Seattle that showed an egg framed by a white box on a muted background.  The artist called the piece a “place of gestation” that recognized “one’s potential”.  Dodge’s other favorite echoed one that Noel Moxley was particularly drawn to as well called “My Mother Never Owned a Dryer!” by Woodway artist, Judith Heim.  Dodge and Moxley both spoke about how the world has changed and how most people no longer hang laundry out to dry.  Moxley laughed saying that she had just hung some outside before coming to the gallery.  Perhaps future generations will embrace the art of hanging clothes outside to dry.  


In addition to “Listening Palace” there were several depictions of eggs reminding viewers of motherhood.  Two paintings, by Kristin Morris of Woodinville, spoke metaphorically of motherhood. “Cherish the One” and “Full of Promise”--both acrylic on canvas--speak to the “different cycles” of being a mother.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cody Beebe: At Home and on the Road

Born in 1985 in Yakima, Wash., Cody Beebe is an American Rock n’ Roll singer/songwriter. Although he first picked up a guitar at the age of 16, he put his love for music on the back-burner to attend college and pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

After graduating from Washington State University in 2008, he moved to Seattle to start in the music industry, foregoing a career in civil engineering to chase his music dreams. In 2010, he formed an Americana/Rock band, Cody Beebe & The Crooks. Since then, he has toured to more than 30 US states, released two full-length studio albums and is currently gearing up for the biggest push in his career.

Every bit a musician, his talent as a photographer was completely unknown, until now. Beebe an unintended photographer, is a fervent Instagram user and, like many people, he documents his travels on the popular social media tool. As he travels, he snaps images of the countryside, the quirky landmarks and various stages on which he has performed. Over time, his artistic eye sharpened. His talent for design began to pour into the shots, and the images became an art form of their own.
The images in this exhibit were chosen from more than 20,000 images captured in his travels. The exhibition marries music and photography, giving the viewer a bird’s-eye view of life as a traveling musician—the barns, the landscape, the road, the hardships, the truck full of luggage, the equipment and, of course, the stage.

These works were created using aluminum sheets, a new photographic format. This is the first one-person photography show in the gallery and the first using entirely aluminum. This new technology fuses the image into the metal surface, creating a magical luminescence. The detail and resolution on metal is unsurpassed.

Few musicians have such a stage presence. Known for his striking red hair and beard, Beebe sings with a grit and honesty that has captured critics’ attention worldwide.

He has the look of a mountain man with the long hair and beard, but, beyond the rugged exterior, the man has a tender, intellectual side, a smile that puts one at ease and eyes that have a gaze of sudden knowing.

He is everything a superstar, a classic star, while also so unassuming and kind. In a crowd of fans, he is accessible—he seems to know everyone. He does not appear to know he is a “thing,” a talent or a phenomenon. On stage, his red hair is an extension of his music, as it illustrates the powerful chords of his voice, flowing through the air as he rocks.

Among his list of accomplishments, he and the Crooks have traveled extensively and touched the hearts of adoring fans in the far reaches of the US Last fall, the band was asked to perform as the Seahawks tailgate party band, playing for thousands of fans before each home game. Upon receiving a call from Austin Jenckes, a contestant from NBC’s The Voice, the Crooks toured with him throughout most of 2014, opening the shows and playing behind Jenckes as his band. In 2011, they reached No. 64 on the Triple A Radio charts with their song “Waiting On You” as the the only independent band in the list.

He has played with such notable acts as Stevie Nicks, Buddy Guy, Josh Turner, Jimmy Vaughan, Austin Jenckes, Allen Stone, Sturgill Simpson, Augustana and many others.  The Crooks are also heading to Europe in February of 2015 on their first international tour, where they will play 25 shows in five countries—all in a month. Beebe and the Crooks partner with Naches Heights Winery each year to produce a vintage of red wine called Crooked Red, which is for sale at various locations around the state.

In 2012, he and the Crooks founded the annual Chinook Music Festival, which brings nearly 30 bands and 1,500 people each year to a festival site on Chinook Pass. In 2015, the Chinook brand will expand, taking on a few more festivals and a number of one-off concert events.

Beebe is also a film producer. His company, Digital Vendetta Productions, creates corporate brand videos, music videos, documentary-style works and commercials. Along with Australian guitarist Blake Noble, violinist Tim Snider, bass player Eric Miller and famed Candlebox drummer Scott Mercado, Beebe is now also fronting a new band called Rust On the Rails that has big plans for 2015.