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The Arts Scene: 'Chroma Chameleon' Exhibit is cohesive -- and much more

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This past Saturday I found my way to Ellensburg again, this time driving up the Yakima River Canyon to see people boating and fishing.

My purpose for the drive was to view the exhibit by my colleague, John Bissonette, a painter and art instructor at Yakima Valley College. His work was part of a two-person show with ceramic artist Sarah Haven of Ellensburg.

Haven is the Gallery One retail manager and also has a studio practice creating ceramic vessels. Her intrigue with color and pattern makes itself known in the myriad designs she overlays onto her functional, hand-built works.

Gallery One describes Bissonette as “interested in images and information that are in flux. No one object that he makes is meant to be understood as a unified statement or something to be comprehended concretely. Much like memes, search histories and information that comes to us via the digital, any one piece has the potential to be re-imagined at some point in the future.”

What I found about their exhibit, “Chroma Chameleon,” was that it felt very cohesive. The color, line and shape utilized by Bissonette is echoed in Haven’s work. The exterior of Haven’s bowl and mugs are the color of clay with a ring of colored glaze, but the inside is filled with analytic line.

For example, to complement Bissonette’s “Remnant I,” Haven added a similar descriptive line on the interior of her bowls. The pairing of the two artists using similar hues and shades worked well.

I visited with some other artists who were there to see the exhibit, and one, Julie Prather, told me about the new exhibit of Lorraine Barlow’s work at 420 Loft gallery.

Of her work, the gallery writes that “Lorraine is a breathtaking artist whose work explores life, death, betrayal and acceptance. Her beautiful images keep you looking even as they sometimes break your heart. In short, this exhibit is emotional.”

What was most intriguing was a large work on paper showing the legs of a little girl holding a toy rabbit in the upper left corner with a large amount of negative space leading down to a dead rabbit in the bottom right. Although you cannot see the girl’s face, you can feel the anguish caused by the sudden realization.

The 420 Loft gallery is just a few steps away from Gallery One. The exhibit of Barlow’s work will be up through November. “Chroma Chameleon” will be on exhibit until Nov. 14 at Gallery One.

• David Lynx is executive director of the Larson Gallery at Yakima Valley College. He writes this weekly column for SCENE. Learn more at www.larsongallery.org.

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