by Sally Vongsathorn
The San Juan Islands Museum of Art is proud to present a new summer exhibit showcasing 3 distinct artists, all reasons to schedule a visit on your summer calendar. The work of painters Kurt Solmssen and Zev Robinson and mixed-media artist Kalina Winska will be on display through September 11, 2023, with a delicious opportunity to attend a Farm-to-Table dinner on Aug. 26. Visit SJIMA.org for more information.
“We love the things we love for what they are.” A simple line written by poet Robert Frost that speaks volumes about the power of those unfailing, familiar things that are the bedrock of our lives. This love for ordinary, everyday moments and the grandeur of the familiar is at the core of Bays and Tides: a Painterly Vision, a collection of paintings by Kurt Solmssen, in the Nichols Gallery. In his luminous plein-air (painted outdoors) paintings we are treated to scenes that convey the small, sweet moments of family life and the grandeur of our PNW coastal light. The 23 paintings are grounded in a strong sense of place that speaks to Solmssen’s deep understanding of his landscape. We see the people and places that make up the elemental microcosm of Solmssen’s bayside life. The soothing sway of a hammock in dappled shade, teacup reflections cast on a table, oars leaning against a cedar trunk, a glass vase holding gold forsythia, and a patiently waiting rowboat on the beach: small details cumulatively conveying life’s largesse.
Walk by SJIMA’s lofty atrium, day and night, to take in Unusual Phenomena, Kalina Winska’s billowy installation. You’ll be caught up in a compelling representation of unstable global weather systems that shifts with ambient light and shadow. The large-scale, mixed-media display uses Tyvek, ropes, buoys and computer-generated NOAA reports to convey the numerous, unusual climate occurrences on our planet. Winska’s interpretation of the unpredictability and chaotic nature of weather patterns invites our interaction at different times of day and kinds of weather. Walking through and around the large-scale piece recreates the feeling of unstable atmospheric forces. We may ponder questions about the environmental impacts of climate change even as we experience the colorful, playful and imaginary elements of Winska’s artwork.
Art, food and politics coalesce in the North Gallery with paintings by Scottish/Canadian documentary filmmaker/artist, Zev Robinson. In his colorful food-themed paintings, the domain of chefs, cooks, and food workers is honored. We see lusciously rendered fruits and vegetables, soup pots listening as cooks converse, a chef slicing into a handsome hunk of cheese, and food workers restoring depleted energies in a canteen scene.
On Aug. 26, in partnership with SJIMA, Warm Valley Farms on Orcas Island will host a culinary harvest celebration prepared by Avery Adams, celebrated Chef of Matia—named by the New York Times in 2022 as one of the 50 most exciting places to eat in the United States. The eight-course dinner alfresco will be served on the farm, featuring fresh local farm products.
Farm stewards Annie McIntyre and Joel Stewart will be present to represent their commitment to organic and regenerative farming practices grounded in history and place, and how they produce exquisite seasonal produce, flowers, fruit, eggs, pork and lamb. Visit the SJIMA website for ticketing details.
The Town of Friday Harbor, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Browne’s Home Center, Printonyx, Harbor Rentals, Honeywell, and anonymous gifts.
About San Juan Islands Museum of Art: At the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, we celebrate artists, creativity, community and generosity through exhibits, education, and events. Located on beautiful San Juan Island in the Pacific Northwest, SJIMA connects islanders and visitors from around the world through powerful and timely museum exhibits and programming. Learn more: SJIMA.org.