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Weeds?

They sure aren’t seen as a thing of beauty when they sprout up in your garden or the middle of the lawn. But two Ellensburg artists have used their creative, plant-based inspirations to create their latest exhibit in the 420 Building Loft Gallery.

The show by Renee Adams and Rachel Kirk is made available through a grant by the Ellensburg Arts Commission. Kirk’s work features biological imagery through pen and ink, two-dimensional mixed media. Adams’ sculpture work is also plant based.

PUTTING GRANT MONEY TO WORK

“What is exciting about this show is that the grant allowed me to do some blacksmithing with my friend Maria Cristalli. I was able to use her shop and learn from her,” said Adams, who is the exhibition and publicity coordinator at Gallery One Visual Arts Center. “I’ve worked a little bit with steel, but this was a new material for me.”

Three of her pieces stand as tall as seven feet, some are more intricate fine detail of such native weeds like Purslane Pigweed or Horsetail Scouring Rush Snake Grass.

NATURE INSPIRED

Kirk’s 23-piece contribution to the show features two-dimensional, mixed media drawings with traditional drawing materials and paint. Her imagery generally is nature inspired.

“What I do isn’t necessarily about weeds, but it is all organically inspired,” said Kirk, who is an associate professor of drawing in the Department of Art and Design at Central Washington University.

“It might be like a leaf. So, there is a scientific element to my observation. I like to use a lot of great colors and a lot of textures. You might see something in it that I didn’t intentionally set out to do.”

The lighting in the 420 Loft Gallery is exquisite coming in from the north windows, giving each piece of work a glimmer and a shine bringing out the subtleties.

‘VERY SURREAL’

“The exhibit is very organic work. It’s very surreal,” curator Scott Mayberry said. “There is some great detail, greater than most work. Some of Renee’s smaller pieces are very highly detailed, seemingly fragile. Then there are pieces six-seven feet tall.

“Rachel’s work is a nice complement to what’s going on around it.”

Adams has 13 pieces ranging in size with an emphasis on weeds, both native and non-native to the Pacific Northwest.

“The emphasis of the show is to draw attention to the kind of plants that we don’t think much about, we don’t see as having any value,” Adams said. “I wanted to create to scale and give them a presence so you notice them more.

“Some are larger than life and some are really, really tiny. Also, with funding from the arts commission, I was able to create a brochure that goes along with the work that helps explain the weeds and a description of the weeds that are in the show.”

COMBINATION OF TALENT

The show isn’t a collaboration per se, but a complementary bit of work that showcases the talents of two impressive local artists. Kirk has been featured in galleries over the past 20 years, although the pandemic disrupted even the best laid intentions.

“I don’t show often, usually four-five shows a year,” she said. “All this work is new and pretty fresh work. With the 2020 lockdown and the pandemic I haven’t been able to show much at all.

“So, it’s given me a chance to sit down and crank out the work. This gives me a chance to show what I’ve been working on.”

RUNS THROUGH MAY 30

The exhibit will run through May 30. The 420 Loft Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, but views can be made by appointment by reaching out to 420loftartgallery@gmail.com, or by calling (509) 925-5638 or message on Facebook @420loftartgallery.

Rodney Harwood: award-winning journalist and columnist. Lover of golf and the written word. I can be reached at rharwood@kvnews.com

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