A broad spectacle

Chuck Smart’s “Garden of Eve” piece won “Best of Show” at the Collective Visions show. - Courtesy photo
Chuck Smart’s “Garden of Eve” piece won “Best of Show” at the Collective Visions show.
— image credit: Courtesy photo


What’s Up writer

For the first time in a long time last weekend, the spotlight of the state’s art world shined on Bremerton.

More than 250 artists from 58 cities all across Washington — as far away as Republic and as near as Fourth Street in Bremerton — entered more than 600 pieces into the first annual CVG show at Collective Visions Gallery. By way of digital slides, renowned juror Susan Parke, 18-year curator of LaConnor’s Museum of Northwest Art, whittled that list down to a broad 147 entries into categories of 3D, 2D and photography for the show.

On Feb. 2, the show opened and the winners were crowned. But the art will hang throughout the month.

“I think it was an ambitious project to show the Collective Visions audience just what’s going on in the state’s art world,” Parke said via a telephone interview before she’d seen the actual, physically put-together show. “This show is going to appeal to a very broad range of audience, from the person who just wants to see some art to the connoisseur.”

Saturday evening at the gallery, her expectations were met and surpassed.

The show is a wide-reaching spectacle that drew a host of both locals and out-of-towners, artists and art-lovers alike, for the grand opening. Entries range from traditional to experimental, the soft-spoken to the extravagant, the solemn to the quirky. A lot of the diversity you’d expect from a show comprised of statewide entries, but then there were a few things you wouldn’t expect at all.

Like the second place winner of the 3D category, Bernadette Vielbig’s “Second Hand Icons.” It’s one of the first pieces that you see when heading downstairs to the lower level.

First, about half-way down the staircase, you see a pair or porcelain Buddha statuettes on the wall, and when you reach the bottom it grows into an entire wall full of porcelain pigs and cats and angels and all in between. Out of about 20 different pieces or porcelain, there are a pair of white shoes hanging near the top that seem conspicuously out of place.

Someone steps in to take a closer look at the odd piece, and a motion censor sets the shoes dancing while the song “These Boots Are Made For Walking” kicks in and the viewer jumps back.

Ah, surprise, surprise.

“There were some big surprises, unexpected compositions and unexpected ways of presenting things,” Parke said.

Vielbig also had an interesting entry upstairs comprised of about 20 different shoehorns surrounding an old pair of Mary Janes, and then there was Carol Milne’s giant green, glass-blown hand, titled “Darn,” which both added to the show’s quirky quality.

Karen Hackenberg’s stark paintings and Jennifer Zwick’s poignant photography cut through with their clarity to earn first and third place respectively in their categories.

Hackenberg’s “Forbearance” is simple in subject matter, featuring a portrait of a burly man offset by that of a roaring bear, however its precision, detail, size and color caught eyes all the way from the other side of the gallery.

Zwick’s photo “The Explorers,” displayed in the CVG front window, is a depiction of two girls who had cut a hold through the living room floor, one still above looking down and the other underneath the house with a flashlight.

“I was quite impressed with the photography entries,” Parke noted. “Digital images are becoming more and more interesting all the time, at first I had dismissed them as being mechanical.”

But pieces like the Best of Show winner, Bremerton artist Chuck Smart’s photo “Garden of Eve” are making Parke a fan of the digitally enhanced medium.

The CVG Show will hang through Feb. 29 at Collective Visions Gallery, 331 Pacific Ave. in Bremerton. A few show-related events remain including a Geniuses of Jazz concert Feb. 15 and artist lectures Feb. 10 and 22. Info: www.collectivevisions.com or call (360) 377-8327.

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