Janet Marcavage, a professor of art at the University of Puget Sound and chair of its Department of Art and Art History, pairs up with local porcelain artist Lois Harbaugh in two exhibits that opened this week to begin the new school year at Kittredge Gallery on the UPS campus.
Marcavage explores elements of light, space and color in her exhibit, “Prints at Play.” An overall motif of geometric shapes is displayed in all of these recent works. In her artist statement, she explains being intrigued by the folding, bending and turning of two-dimensional planes, as well as being inspired by playing with her young child. Indeed, one can imagine the images being educational in nature, revealing geometric patterns while also being pleasing to the eye with the bright color schemes.
The display begins with “Compose,” screen prints in four panels with yellow triangles and two sticks of various colors. “Enfold” is nine white panels, each containing three triangles.
“Stack” has cut etching prints of small shapes, stacked on top of one another, as the title would suggest. Octagons and circles in blue and purple are utilized on this piece.
“Expand” is a unique screen print installation of blocks in bright yellow and orange.
“Loop-de-loop” Is a flat surface upon which rests eight ribbons, not much larger than what one might wear as a lapel pin to raise awareness of a cause.
“Harbaugh” displays porcelain pieces fired by Pat Colyar at Kirkland Art Center. On the right is “The Vessel Alphabet,” three terra cotta objects on a pedestal about five feet off the ground. The companion piece on the left is four similar objects, the cold finish technique showing off the reddish-orange hue of the material.
“Using the Good China” is a rack containing six tea cups, a bit absurd to see an item this tall with fragile objects dangling from its arms.
The centerpiece is “Market now!” You can’t take it with you. There’s no room in the coffin.” It is a coffin on the floor, filled with a variety of porcelain items. As Harbaugh explained during her artist talk, in ancient cultures some people were buried with their personal effects under the belief they would be useful in the afterlife. Instead, the wealth stays behind in this realm, as evidenced by the archeological finds of burials grounds ranging from common peasants to monarch such as King Tut.
Harbaugh displays strong pottery skills, but the exhibit seems too small and lacking a real connecting thread between the items to quite sew it all together.
The exhibits will be on display through Oct. 18 at the gallery, located at the corner of North Lawrence and North 15th streets in Tacoma. It is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday noon to 5 p.m. Admission is always free.