“A Tribute To The Written Word”

Artists: Robert Gigliotti, Randal Leek, Phillip Levine, Deb McCunn, Anita Mayer, Patricia Resseguie, Teresa Smith, Dinah Steveni, Kazutaka Uchida, Lori Vonderhorst and Donna Watson.

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Randal Leek, sculptures
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 â€œA Tribute to the Written Word”, Randal Leek
How language, books and journals have influenced Artists.
At some point in our development, at a time when our ancestors made symbols on the rock faces of caves and not only adapted stones and bones and antlers into tools, we decorated them with art. As the symbols of language evolved to record history and dreams and ancestry, we created poetry and stories and things of imagination. Abstractions of conscience. Ethereal explosions of light and color and shapes and form as expressions of creative art.  
I have found more inspiration for my art through reading science, learning about evolution and nature than through poetry or fictional writing. Through scientific research of others, and my own attempts to understand nature, my world has become more beautiful, more interesting, and yet, more unfathomable. Scientific literature feeds my curiosity about my world. Each inquiry leads to greater understanding and livens-up greater curiocity. Discovery is learning and is a creative process, not a goal. Similarly, Art is a continual discovery. 
 How I incorporate the feelings of inspiration into my life allows me to appreciate and love the world I am surrounded by to an infinite extent (at least I tell myself that). Whether artist, author, composer, mother, father or friend, the more we explore our creativity, the more creative we become and the more we appreciate new dimensions of creative expression by others. 
Through literature, I find new dimensions beyond my own limited abilities. Whereas sculpture is three-dimensional, literature has no physical dimension. And whereas the physical beauty of sculpture may be thought of as the medium of expression, the art of literature and language uses the mind as its medium. And because we each process the external world differently through our personal uniqueness, we imagine literature and sculpture and art and beauty in our own ways and in new ways if we are open and are able to mentor our creativity. 
Anita Mayer’s Vest, hand stiched, each $165
Anita Mayer
My inspiration for this body of work began with an elegant candy box. My Dad presented it to my mother on Valentine’s day 1926 with an engagement ring, wrapped in gold foil, centered in an array of chocolates. Their years of valentine card exchanges were tucked into the box and I had the gift of sharing the words written to each other throughout their long marriage.
There was the three page letter written by my mother-in-law to her special friend sharing sheer joy over the birth of her first born, my husband, Jack. I saved the letters Mom sent when she and Dad returned to Reggio, Italy, the home he had left at age twelve to immigrate to the United States. She shared Dad’s delight visiting his village and once again seeing long lost relatives. Dad wrote about traveling in a first class cabin in contrast to the long days in steerage when he first left Italy. In college I regularly received letters from Dad about his being a freshman state senator (an immigrant with an 8th grade education) and his enormous pride in being a part of his country’s government along with the challenges of politics.
I was able to share parts of my family’s history because of written cards and letters, history that would have been lost if sent by today’s e-mail or smart phones.
The books that I love to read are journals of men and women exploring this world in earlier times, letters written to wives during the founding of our country, letters home from service men during wars years, documentation of early train travel, all could have been lost if in today’s electronic communication.
History, love, travel, politics and even the history of war, were recorded in written form on paper, which allows us to share and learn from the experiences of others.
These all were part of the inspiration for my four kimonos in this exhibit: Title: Tribute to the Written Word
Language/Mail, Women’s Letters, Books and Journals
Anita Mayer
Donna Watson, paintings and collages
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Narrative, Donna Watson
I love books. The actual book with pages to turn. I have always been a book reader. I love words. I am attracted to text… the look of text.
As a collage artist, I see printed text as texture… a design element. I see text as an element of texture so I did not need to be able to read the
the actual words. They could be blurred, or obscured or even in a
foreign language. I was more interested in the appearance of text.
More recently, I have been adding poetry passages, words or phrases that are more apparent and have more meaning to me… one would be able to read the words. I now see text as part of the story, or narrative I am trying to convey in my work. The words have become part of my content. I see ‘narrative’ as a series of connected events, told in story form. Language has become an integral part of my art work.
The narrative running through my current body of work, or series, is called Bird in Tree (Ki no Tori). The birds are black birds and the trees are bare, no leaves. My past work has concentrated either on birds OR trees. For this series, I wanted to connect the birds to the trees. Trees are their natural refuge, and their sanctuary. I see the tree as the bridge between the earth and the sky, which is the birds’ domain. To me, both birds and trees represent the passage of time, the cycles of the seasons… rebirth every spring.
Donna Watson
Patricia Resseguie, sculptures
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Writing The Mantrams
Writing mantrams has been a regular spiritual practice in my life for over a decade. I do it as meditation and as a way to energize peace and healing in the world. It comes from the deepest part of me.
One afternoon, drowsing dreaming in the utter doldrums of pandemic isolation, I visualized the white slips of paper tied to every possible surface at the Shinto temples in Kyoto. They flutter in the breeze as prayers waft heavenward.
“That’s what I can do to help when I can do nothing else,” I thought. So every day for months, I wrote invocations of the Lord’s name – 21 different mantrams from the Hebrew, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Christian traditions on to 9” x 1” slips of white mulberry paper. Each slip was tied to a hog wire grid on the back fence. They fluttered in the breeze and flattened in the rain as the mantrams wafted heavenward. Colored by the weather, spotted by insects, faded and wrinkled, they felt ancient and mystical. These slips form the basis of “Heavenward,” which Robin Clark masterfully elaborated with his woodworking. The slips also appear in “I Weave A Silence I and II.”
During the months of writing, I used watercolor paper under the mulberry slips as a soft writing surface on my scarred worktable. The writing bled through the thin paper, leaving a vestige of illegible marks on the watercolor paper. It created unexpected pattern, also ancient and mystical. It also created the mantrams on the mulberry paper I use in other works. You will see these invocations coming to life in “Heart Fire” and “Walking The Mantram,” a reflection of another spiritual practice I use – repeating the mantram to rhythmic walking.
Patricia Resseguie
I Weave A Silence I and 2
30” H x 24” W x 2” D
May be hung vertical or horizontal
Weathered prayer slips on
mulberry paper, ink, canvas
$975 each
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Lori Vonderhorst, paintings and collages
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With a background in publishing and graphic design, I’ve always had a fondness for the printed word.  I collect ephemera — vintage dictionaries, old books and packaging, a scrap found on the sidewalk to use in collages. I love the look of old paper, stained and worn with the passage of time. Each piece holds a history of the journey from its origin to my hand.
I try to always bring a sketchbook when I travel, but don’t always use it for drawing. I’m often busy collecting bits and pieces that I keep in the pocket on the back cover, or glue onto a page, such as a ticket stub, feather or memento from the day.
When creating collages in my studio, I often work on multiples. I cover my tables with sheets of paper and sort my collected ephemera among the sheets until they seem to fit or tell a story.
Often one little word or mark inspires and informs the finished piece, whether it’s a collage, assemblage or background for a painting.
For this series, I sorted through my bins and boxes of old papers — many that have printed words or marks or marks on them — to create collage backgrounds on panels. I then perused my sketchbooks for images that work with the collaged backgrounds to create the finished piece. Often a word or mark on the collage paper is incorporated into the title.
I’ve been asked “why not use the original sketchbook drawings?” But I have one rule: what goes in the sketchbook, stays in the sketchbook!
Robert Gigliotti, sculptures
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Spiritual Journey – Robert E Gigliotti, 2023
My spiritual journey began long before my art journey. In time, they became one and the same. In 1967 as an undergrad, I took a course in Existential Philosophy. This was years before I envisioned becoming an artist. One of the books we read was Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus. This planted a seed that became a sculpture in 1987. The crux of Camus’ work was the insight that we are greater than our individual selves.
About 1984 I got interested in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, both non dual spiritual practices. Western religion seemed vacuous and even oppressive to me. The end goal of non dual spiritual practices is to teach that we are not separate beings struggling for recognition and happiness. This broadened the insights provided by Camus. Our true selves are literally Consciousness. Which means we do not die, merely change from. When we realize this Oneness it affects everything we do, including art.
I approach sculpture from two different perspectives. First, I try to make each piece interesting on a purely visual level. Secondly, I attempt to use symbolism from the physical world, mythology and spiritual practices to challenge the viewer’s paradigms about our relationship to each other, to our environment and to the universe.
In my opinion, the unveiling of the true Self and, consequently, nondual Spirit is the ultimate goal of art. You can substitute the word God, Tao, or whatever, for Spirit but it’s basically about the realization that “All is One” that I’m getting at. Nondual spiritual practices suggest that any separation we perceive between ourselves and others or any part of the physical or spiritual realms is an illusion.
I think that this is intuitively what artists are doing when they create art. It represents an attempt to go from the finite self to the timeless Self. This type of art is sometimes called transpersonal art. It occurred to me recently that what I am attempting could be called “visual koan”. The intent of a written koan is to instill the understanding that the separation between subject and object is an illusion. Some of my artwork is a visual attempt at this type of practice.
Purely representational art can expand ones consciousness as well, if it captures a timeless moment because Spirit itself is timeless; meaning not time everlasting but beyond time. I believe that any art that disarms you, makes you smile, or makes you think, is successful. At the very least, most artists hope for an emotional response to their work; I love it, I hate it, it makes me feel…etc. It’s not uncommon, however, for two viewers to get radically different impressions of a work. I hope my work will inspire you in some way.
Teresa Smith, paintings
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Nature Walk – Dog and His Artist by Teresa Smith
I drive five minutes to trailhead. Collie, Finnighan, excited to go. He wiggles and tries to get in the front seat as we approach. Upon arrival, Finn eagerly bounces out of the truck and the fun begins. 
We descend into the woods. The smells are rich and moldery. Cedar fronds pungent. Fir pitch has a luscious fragrance that I want to bottle and take home. A scent of sea air with an incoming tide. 
Greens and browns all around, with flecks of blue and red. There is gold and rust, crimson, and violet. A canopy of rich darkness, black as raven, then patterns bright as white where the sun touches leaves. I want to remember these patterns of light weaving through like warp and weft. 
Ocean spray flowers have gone by and are now kind of a beautiful brown- gray. Soft and dry to the touch. The leaves are green gold. Dark branches and twigs splay out in a rounded form providing beautiful patterns. There are patches of sky behind the tree limbs. Not to see the tree but the parts that are not the tree. Shapes of pale blue next to dark rich green. 
I am brought back around by two huge dogs charging towards us. Oh geez, do I drop the leash and run? A man is yelling and calling his dogs. They seem friendly, so I relax a bit, doing my best to stay on my feet.  A moment later, the adventure is done, and I say hello to the man. He apologizes, we smile at each other and move on down the trail in opposite directions.
I touch Finn’s rough fur and tell him he is such a good boy. In that moment, he is the most beautiful beast I have ever seen. On down the trail a bit I lay my hand on a fir tree. The bark is rough but for the patches of lichen and moss. I say hello and thank you, in awe of this magnificent living giant. Next tree a way down the path is cedar. Cedar is softer and has a calm soothing energy. Cedar offers grace. 
We keep going. Three miles. Three miles of awe, magnificence, adventure, healing and love until Finnighan and I are back at the truck. I drive away and into a different reality and all the things, but with a new sense of the world. I am soothed. Onwards.
Dinah Steveni,
8 clay Vessels available
Message On a Bottle,
approx. 10″h x 3″w Porcelain
$395 each
Dinah Steveni, 8 clay Vessels
Words Words Words
Homage to Hamlet
10″h x 3″w Porcelain
$395 each
Message On a Bottle, Dinah Steveni
The relationships between ceramics and text, pottery and words, are very old and very new. Much has been made of the use of words and text in art and in contemporary culture, especially in the new media technologies, but that has been true of ceramic objects since the very beginning of recorded history.¹
These playful carriers of words/messages are designed to display outside the bottle instead of the cartoony corked-up-and-tossed-into-the-sea bottle.
Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.²
What I really like about working with clay is that I can continually refresh and surprise myself. I’m fairly certain that I’m also happy regarding this collection as examples of Fetish – an inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers because it is consider to be inhabited by a spirit.
Pots are not simple objects, but they are familiar and often we confuse that familiarity with simplicity. Formally, pots are every bit as complex as paintings and sculpture. Sometimes they are more so because pottery adds the issue of utility, whether real or symbolic, to the analytical mix.³
Technical Information: Dove Porcelain, bisque ^04, gloss ^6, gold luster ^016, oxidation firing.
Paul Mathieu studiopotter.org/speaking-volumes-pottery-and-word
Martin Heidegger
Garth Clark
4 of Deb McCunn’s sculptures
Deb McCunn, sculptures
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Deborah McCunn
Curiosity gives us vitality, allowing us to find empathy and grow. Stretching and shaping clay is my vehicle for challenging cultural assumptions. The richness and versatility of the medium allow me to create stories with thought-provoking questions and a dose of humor. I started sculpting as a teenager, spent 20 years working in the male dominated world of banking and returned to art full time in 2005. My work tells personal stories and aspires to engage others in conversations about identity and choices. 
In 1869, John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet developed the ideas presented in The Subjection of Women. One argument in this text is that women have been coaxed, cajoled and pressured to be so many different things to different people, that women have become unknowable. Because of my personal experience in the corporate world, this resonates. Women proved themselves supremely capable in various jobs during World War II only to find themselves back in the kitchen at the end of the war. Since the 1950s, a scantily clad woman dressed in rabbit ears has been an iconic image of sensual desire. Appliances and gadgets made in the 1950s were sold using advertisements with gleeful women appearing completely fulfilled serving others. These ads always seemed ridiculous to me. These opposing images of women inspired me to dress rabbits up as women, instead of women dressing up as bunnies to satisfy men.
During my time in banking, I was a loan officer, branch manager and then a division manager. When I was successful, my male peers joked it was only because I shortened my skirt. If I wanted to be part of decision making, I had to smoke cigars, drink Scotch and hang out on the golf course where the real decisions were made. In those days, taking time off to attend a parent-teacher conference was unthinkable. Looking back at earlier generations, I’m grateful to all the groundbreaking women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg who paved the way for me and others. I hope my art will further conversation about what it means to be feminine, the roles women choose to accept along with the consequences of those roles. And ultimately, that dialogue can lead to more choices for future generations. 
Kazutaka Uchida
Left – Orion ( Disk} & Right – Orion (square prism)
8 X 20.5 X 29 and 8 X 8 X 24.5
white marble, gold leaf
Produced in 2022
Each $10,000
Kazutaka Uchida was born in 1948 in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from Tama University of Fine Arts in Tokyo in 1972. Following graduation, he went on to complete a course of study in sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in France in 1975 before returning to Japan to begin his career. In 1982, he received a special commission to conduct research on art handcrafts in local villages in Nepal, and in 1991, received another commission to conduct research on the culture of small minority groups in the People’s Republic of China. Uchida has completed many public and corporate commissions throughout Japan, and his work is in the permanent collection of some of the world’s most respected museums, including, the Museum of Fine Art in Kyoto and Toyota Museum of Fine Art. Since 1993, he has conducted many visits and workshops in the United States. He is currently a Professor of Art at a private university in Nagoya, Japan.
Phillip Levin
Enough, 2011
bronze 8,25 x 7.5 x 3.5
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Phillip Levine, whose sculptures dot the Northwest landscape
Phillip Levine, (1931 – 2021) a sculptor of well-known public artworks that dot the region’s landscape. A prolific artist who was professionally active for nearly 70 years, Levine is best known for accessible, large-scale bronze sculptures of the human form, with a timeless appeal matched by few of his contemporaries. Dozens of his bronze sculptures are on public display in the area, with even more in private collections around the world. Among his most famous works are Dancer With Flat Hat on the University of Washington campus near 15th Avenue Northeast, Walking on Logs on the approach to West Seattle, and Leap at Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane. Alert and active to the end, but on dialysis and suffering from ill health, Levine chose to end his life under the Death with Dignity Act.
Levine was born March 1, 1931, in Chicago, the younger of two children. During the Great Depression, his family moved to Denver. After studying art at the University of Colorado, he moved to New York City, working in advertising while continuing to paint and study. In 1956, he met Rachael Ann Hesselholt in Denver. They were married the next year.
Rachael encouraged Levine’s pursuit of a career in art, even when it meant living in public housing. Levine earned a Master of Fine Arts degree with a focus on ceramics in 1961 from the University of Washington. Rachael’s teaching job at community college kept the family of five afloat between Levine’s commissions.
In the mid-1960s, Levine began making human figures in bronze. His somewhat abstracted figures nearly always involve an element of balance and motion, conveying a sense of weightlessness despite their mass. He often melded mechanical elements with human forms, but never sacrificed their expressive nature. 
Levine has been awarded commissions for public places in the Northwest. He has more than 30 publicly and privately owned sculptures in public places in western Washington, half a dozen more in eastern Washington, four in California, and several in Oregon, in addition to his pieces in major private collections including those of King Hassan of Morocco, the mayor of Chongqing, China, and the prime minister of Japan. His corporate commissions include pieces for Shell Oil, Security Pacific Bank, Safeco, Pacific Northwest Bell, and the Martin Selig Corporation.