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The Arts Scene: Changes afoot at Tieton's Boxx Gallery

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Spring always sees a lot of changes. Not only are the days lasting longer and nights getting shorter, but you see changes as new life comes to our gardens and trees. These shifts also are reflected in our outlook as we reorganize and plan.

During a recent visit to the Boxx Gallery in Tieton, I talked with Michelle Wyles about changes that are going on there.

She told me they are in the process of transitioning to a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The have put together a board that includes Wyles, Mike Longyear, Jane Gutting, Christie Tirado and Betsy Bloomfield. The nonprofit will be called Friends of Boxx Gallery.

Karen Quint is stepping away as gallery director. Quint says she has “enjoyed every moment of this amazing concept with passion and perseverance.” Now she plans “to spend more time in my new studio, focusing on my own art and, when possible, visiting my faraway family.”

Said Wyles: “Karen was fantastic to grow the gallery as far as it’s come and we are so grateful. My hope is that it can mature into an organization that will fulfill its goal of the creation, exhibition and appreciation of visual arts in Tieton, providing high quality, innovative and diverse arts exhibits.”

These changes are taking place in the midst of a new exhibit featuring T.A. Harris and Marty Lovins that opened April 3.

Harris began his career as a self-trained painter. He wrote in his artist statement that he exhibited his work and “continued painting until I ran aground with the medium. To get around the block I took up photography as a fine art medium and decided to get my formal education in the medium. I was really taken with color photography as a fine art medium, which few saw or understood at that time.”

After school he moved to Seattle and took a teaching position, starting work with “an idea of a kind of still life wherein I took scavenged materials (lead, wood, plastic, canvas, paint, etc.) and shaped them into abstract tableaux. The final product was a silver gelatin or platinum print, working in parallel with my photographs. Drawing was still important, contributing an esthetic and formal underpinning to my constructions.”

Seven years ago, Harris moved from Seattle to Yakima primarily “to live more cheaply and for the sunny climate,” he says. “My main practice is now painting, in particular mixed media, wax and collage on canvas glued to panels. I also work with 3D constructions using similar materials to the flat paintings and my constructions that resulted as photographs.”

The new director, Jackie Prout, wrote about Marty Lovins: “Lovins’ assemblages in this show include those that are the result of his collaboration with his daughter, artist Terri Lovins. An exchange of ideas, design and materials over the last months helped them both to keep going and make art in a tough time.”

“Over the past 40 years following, promoting and collecting Marty Lovins’ artwork, I’ve learned a bit about how he sees the world and how his creations express the subtle mysteries and complexities around us,” Prout said. “I’m always stunned by the elegant simplicity of his design sensibility and by his awareness of the beauty in common objects, natural and man-made. Old typewriter keys, buttons, rusted metal, shiny computer chips and pins from long ago find their way into his jewelry, shields and assemblages. These seemingly random bits and pieces combine to delight and puzzle the viewer and offer us a peek into his love of history, his wit, his curiosity and awareness.”

Along with these new developments, the Boxx has also announced a call for artists for a future exhibit titled “Images of the Shrub Steppe.” This is the fifth annual incarnation of this exhibit, which features works inspired by the shrub-steppe lands of the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy. The entries will be juried by Carolyn Nelson and the deadline is July 9.

The work of T.A. Harris and Marty Lovins will be up through April 24.

• David Lynx is executive director of the Larson Gallery at Yakima Valley College. His column runs weekly in Thursday’s SCENE section. Learn more at www.larsongallery.org.

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