Artist bends boundaries with translucent medium
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Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Portland, Ore., artist Alex Hirsch will be exhibiting her show, "Leaning into the Light," in Port Angeles starting today.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Ask Alex Hirsch what you're looking at — is this a painting, or what? — and she pauses.

“That's a tricky question,” replied the artist, who on Wednesday was setting up the show that opens today at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.

“It is a painting,” Hirsch allowed, “using glass as a medium.”

“Leaning into the Light” is the title of her exhibit, an especially large one for which Hirsch has brought 14 works in glass and 75 drawings.

The Portland, Ore., artist seeks to “push the definitions and the media,” so of course it's not easy to label her work.

But Hirsch has no trouble explaining her hopes for the show. She'll give a free talk at 4 p.m. Friday and then stay for a free reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the fine arts center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Her aquamarine fused-glass pieces “Transport” and “Transport II” are examples of art made to take the viewer away from life's workday stresses.

“It's kind of a quiet body of work,” Hirsch said.

With it, she seeks to invite people into a private space, where they will feel “transported,” she said, “into a place of tranquility and centeredness.”

This is not unlike a yoga class, Hirsch said: People are together in the gallery, but each is having his or her own inner experience.

The numerous drawings in “Leaning into the Light” are interrelated, “like a complex piece of music,” she added.

As for the other pieces, “these are really interesting,” said Robin Anderson, executive director of the fine arts center. “They look like paper, but they're on glass.”

In her Friday afternoon discussion, Hirsch will talk about her process and what was on her mind while creating these works. And she hopes to take lots of questions.

“Nothing has a plan before I start,” she said. “Everything is an improvisation, with me trying to pull it off . . . For me, it's a metaphor for living: OK, this is what's happening, how can I go with this and make it work?”

“Leaning into the Light” will stay on display through Sept. 1 at the fine arts center, which is open Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is free to the center's indoor gallery and to the surrounding Webster's Woods art park.

The 5-acre park, which has walking trails and scores of sculptures and mixed-media artwork in it, is open daily from dawn till dusk.

For details about other activities at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, visit or phone 360-457-3532.

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at

Last modified: July 17. 2013 5:59PM
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