Northwest Museum of Arts + Culture

Loop is very excited to introduce The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, whose collection of art, artifacts and primary source material is impressive and inspiring. The Works on Paper collection includes contributions from students and instructors at the Spokane Art Center, funded by Roosevelt's New Deal, which brought free art insruction to the Spokane, WA community from 1938 - 1942.

One fantastic artist from that period is Vanessa Helder, whose creamy color pallette presents the landscape-changing Coulee Dam and illustrates the vernacular life in the town created to support it. Helder has an impresssive resume, but I was intrigued by her inclusion in the "Realists and Magic Realists" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1943, a show that included artist Edward Hopper. I'll have to research that next !

[ shown above, watercolors Grand Coulee Heights, 1939-1941 : Coulee Dam, Looking West, 1939-1941 : Sunday Morning in Grand Coulee, 1939-1941 ]

I was also love the work of Northwest Modernist, Kathleen Gemberling Adkison. I am interested generally in how one's landscape influences their sense of self, and moving to Spokane seems to have been pivotal to Adkinson's artistic development. As the Museum notes, "In 1948 she moved to Spokane, becoming steeped in the stark geological landscape of the Spokane area where she was able to begin "thinking, seeing, and painting with a heightened sense of self." In the basement of her house she brushed, pooled, poured, and dripped paint onto fully stretched and primed canvases set on the floor. Kathleen Gemberling Adkison is considered, after Clyfford Still, the major modernist painter to emerge from eastern Washington ... " . I love 'Moss Wraith' from 1977, a silkscreen shown here :

The Museum also has an incredible program called Art At Work which encourages individuals and businesses to bring art into their homes + offices on a rotating rental basis... The Museum delivers and installs your selection of local art, and after three months, replaces it with something new! If you fall in love with the piece [ and how can you not ?! ], then you can apply your rental fee to a discounted purchase price. What a fantastic way to bring art into everyday life, while promoting artists and supporting their community...

The Museum also has podcasts about highlights from their collections and new exhibits. I am going to try and take a break later to listen to Contested Ground: The Landscape Redrawn.
PS : Loop and doodlespark are honored to be part of the MAC giftshop ! Thanks, Lori !

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would also add that the MAC has a great collection of woodblocks by Jane Dunning Baldwin that also are regionalist in nature. Maybe even more than Helder, since she lived in Eastern Washington all her life. Baldwin shows the region through her artistic eyes from her early years in the late 30s all the way up through the 70s and 80s. You can see her move through social realism, to impressionism, to modernism, but all with the same regional subject matter.