'Pillars' to open at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center
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Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Mixed-media creations by John and Robin Gumaelius, who hail from the Southern Olympic Peninsula, have arrived at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center. The artists will give a talk and stay for a reception this Friday afternoon.
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Mixed-media creations by John and Robin Gumaelius, who hail from the Southern Olympic Peninsula, have arrived at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center. The artists will give a talk and stay for a reception this Friday afternoon. Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The faces wear dreamy expressions, with eyes gazing away or closed in imaginary sojourns.

And these creatures — people, horses, bears, birds — are all together under one roof at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center thanks to their creators, Robin and John Gumaelius.

It makes sense that the 26 mixed-media sculptures in the Gumaelius show look like travelers. The couple who made them come from “the middle of nowhere,” as John puts it.

He and Robin live outside Cosmopolis, Grays Harbor County, in a house John built on stilts.

“Pillars” is the name of their first Port Angeles show at the fine arts center at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd. The title comes from the fact that many of the pieces are on the tall side.

Opening reception

John and Robin will give a talk on their art at the center at 3 p.m. Friday, then stay for the show's opening reception from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Both events are free to the public.

This pair is as unusual as the two's porcelain-wood-metal sculptures. They're full-time artists and have four children and 10 galleries showing their work, from Ashland and Portland, Ore., to the Patricia Rovzar Gallery in downtown Seattle.

They do not have a website or email.

“You can spend a lot of time answering email,” John said. “So we just don't.”

Working in tandem

What he and Robin do is work in tandem, shaping clay, carving its surfaces, attaching arms made of vine maple and madrona wood.

The works' names range from “Quiet Man Wearing Thoughts of Freedom” to “More Legs for Dancing.”

“We like to see people smile,” John said. “A lot of art tends to be pretty heavy-duty.”

He began his career as a metal sculptor but added clay after meeting Robin, a ceramicist, so they could spend more time together.

Creating together

After 11 years married, “we work together fluidly,” Robin added.

“Together, we make something better than either of us could make apart.”

The Gumaelius children, three girls and a boy, range in age from 3 to 10. The family also has two dogs, two cats, chickens and ducks at their rural place.

“Our studio looks over the garden,” Robin notes in a handwritten statement titled “Artist Ramblings.”

Now and then, chickens wander into the art space, but “they are not nearly as inspiring as our kids, who tumble into our laps, steal our shoes, poke our bellies, argue and throw clay wads while we're working.”

“Pillars” will stay through May 5 at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center gallery, which is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about the show and other activities at the center, visit www.PAFAC.org or phone 360-457-3532.

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

Last modified: February 20. 2013 5:36PM
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