PORT TOWNSEND — Northwind Art Best Gallery will open its spring exhibit season with Image & Abstraction featuring Jane Friedman, known for her encaustic and oil paintings, and award-winning wood sculptor Alan Newberg.
The show will be on display at the Northwind Art Best Gallery at 701 Water St., from Thursday through April 25. Exhibit hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
Newberg’s abstract wood sculptures evoke the sensuousness of nature and the feminine, while Friedman’s encaustic and oil paintings are inspired by the interplay of human nature and the natural environment, organizers said.
“The 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional art forms complement each other, with organic, subtle color palettes, and strong compositional balance,” according to a press release.
Friedman’s work is primarily encaustic, oil, and PanPastel on wood.
The frames are made of steel, thrown into the ocean for a week to rust, and then lightly polished and waxed.
Friedman remarks, “I enjoy the thought that our local Puget Sound waters bring their own experience of living with the rising and falling tides to frame the paintings,” Friedman said.
She completed her bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and ceramics at the University of Alaska in Anchorage.
Her study culminated in a graduate exhibit, “From Innocence to Experience.”
She has been featured in solo and group shows in Anchorage, including Stonington Gallery and the International Gallery of Contemporary Art. Her work is part of the permanent collection at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.
“Art carries an aesthetic value that can delight its viewers or, perhaps, expose disturbing truths, conjuring feelings of disgust and provoking social change,” Friedman said.
“Moreover, art connects and awakens human emotion. These emotions can be complicated because the same moment may produce a broad spectrum of feelings and associations.”
She said that her present series incorporates images from a range of experiences.
“These paintings aim to be relatable, but not necessarily realistic,” she said. “Instead, I have taken creative license with shape and color to illustrate the feelings and potential for joyful discovery.”
Newberg attributes his passion for working in wood to his upbringing in South Dakota where his family has operated a ponderosa pine sawmill since 1923. He worked there from the age of 15 and on into his college years. His family tradition expressed itself in him as the lifelong journey of an artist who sculpts in wood.
“For me, more than anything else, art is a kind of thinking,” Newberg said. “It is a way of responding to events in life that, for some reason, catch my attention or offer an opportunity.
“It also is a doing. Nothing gets made that does not seek to fill some human need. It is the very process of making that lends meaning to art, literally giving form to ideas and emotions.”
Major examples of Newberg’s work can be found in a number of public and corporate art collections including Butler Museum of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.
Newberg maintains a studio near Bremerton and is a founding member of the Collective Visions Gallery.
Newberg taught art for over 40 years including many years at Olympic College in Bremerton. Before moving to the Puget Sound area in 1989, he was a tenured professor of art and chair of the art department at Montana State University-Billings.
He holds a bachelor’s from the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, S.D., a master’s from the University of Wyoming, and an master’s of fine arts from the University of Oregon.
The two artists will get together to talk informally about their work, influences, inspiration and processes at 7 p.m. April 14. Viewers are encouraged to bring questions.
The online Zoom event is free, but registration is required at NorthwindArt.org.
Northwind Art is an arts nonprofit organization formed in January through the merger of Port Townsend School of the Arts and Northwind Arts Center.
The new institution is dedicated to the mission of cultivating the arts through education, exhibits and artist advancement — with two gallery locations and online classes and workshops.
For more information, see NorthwindArt.org.