Cascadia exhibit spotlights NW artists in Alaska

Apr 08, 2018
Courtesy of: Cascadia Art Museum “Juneau,” Virna Haffer, Juneau, 1938. Bromide print, estate of Vina Haffer.

In this first of its kind exhibition, opening on April 5, Cascadia Art Museum will present works created by Northwest artists who traveled to Alaska in the mid-20th century.

In the summer of 1938, Tacoma photographer Virna Haffer (1899-1974) visited Alaska with her husband, Norman Randall, a mining engineer, and produced a series of works while traveling in the Windham Bay region and other parts of the state.

Cascadia will be featuring 30 of these vintage photographs, shown publicly for the first time.

In 1959, Danny Pierce (1920-2014) and his budding family moved to Alaska, where under a Carnegie Grant, he became the first artist-in-residence at the University of Alaska. The following year, he founded the university’s art department, the first in the state.

As founder, Pierce made a significant contribution to painting and printmaking in Alaska, working with both Native and Caucasian artists and students. His bold modernist works introduced a new international aesthetic that had previously not been promoted in the region.

Other artists featured in the exhibition include Steven Fuller (1911-1999), an early teacher of Dale Chihuly at the University of Washington, as well as Pierce’s students, the native Alaskan artists Bernard Katexac (1922-1997) and Joseph Senungetuk (b. 1940).

“This exciting exhibition shows another facet of ‘Greater Cascadia’,” said museum president Lindsey Echelbarger. “Washington state and Alaska have had a close relationship for well over 100 years.

Earlier Northwest artists were constantly traveling to Alaska to paint natural wonders. This exhibition differs in that we focus on more unfamiliar but fascinating modernist works, as well as rare photography.”

The exhibition is sponsored by a $25,000 grant from the Elizabeth Wallace Living Trust. “Bette” Stadler Wallace was raised in nearby Alderwood Manor and was a 1942 graduate of Edmonds High School.

She spent her adult years in Mountainview, California, and after her recent death her estate has been distributed to charitable causes.

Funds for the Modern Alaska exhibition were given in memory of Bette’s brother Emil Stadler (Edmonds High School class of 1936), who spent 70 years living in Alaska.


“Modern Alaska: Art of the Midnight Sun, 1930-1970”

Where: Cascadia Art Museum , 190 Sunset Ave. S, Edmonds
When: April 5-July 1. Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays
Admission: $7 seniors and children; $10 adults. Free for active members. Tours for school-age children and special memory-care programs are available. Free admission 5-8 p.m. on third Thursday during Art Walk Edmonds.
Information: www.cascadiaartmuseum.org

 

 

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