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Quantity and quality

Annual postcard show at South Puget Sound Community College

Untitled painting by Spencer McDowell. Photo credit: Alec Clayton

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The defining thing about the annual postcard show at South Puget Sound Community College is humor, is variety, is lots and lots of little works of art -- is most of all that nothing is rejected. Every work submitted is accepted into the show without judgment, which means inevitably there is a lot of mediocre art, but as has been proven year after year, there is always enough good art to make it worth your while to visit the show. 

Well over 100 local artists are included with well over 200 works of art, each by requirement the size of a standard postcard. Paintings, drawings and collages cover three walls of the gallery in three stacks, and sculptures fill numerous stands.

Visitors to the gallery can vote on their favorites and bid on them in a silent auction.

This year's theme is While You Were Out -- a theme that is presented in words and images, with many a visual pun.

Visitors to the gallery who make gallery-going a habit will recognize many names, as there are works by several of South Sound's most well-known artists plus a plethora of amateurs, students and unknown artists, some of whom are surprisingly good, and some of whom are forgettable.

None of the "postcards" are titled, and no media are listed.

There is an enjoyable collage by Emily Zabronski picturing a party that includes pictures of de Kooning's "Woman I," Christ on a cross, and many other figures. Parties thrown presumably when heads of household are out is a popular theme in the show.

Gail Wharton Ramsey also pictures a house party scene with the clever wording, "While you were out nobody noticed." That's cold.  

Maitri Sojourner is showing three collages made of fabric, which, taken together (reading top to bottom), spell out "While you were out I sat with the moon."

Marc Pease entered three cards, each with a comical picture of Donald Trump playing golf. The pictures are built out from the surface with plaster, gel or maybe papier-mâché and look like figures by Red Grooms.

Karen LaGrave Small is represented with two nicely executed paintings of reclining nudes, one of which is particularly striking due to luminous pinks and yellows.

Ron Hinton's card is a wall-hanging metal sculpture that is abstract with an attractive contrast of materials and textures including wire mesh.

Carol Hannum has six pieces in the show, one of which brilliantly pictures skirts hanging on a clothesline with the written title "outskirts."

One of my favorite pieces is a sculpture by Sean Barnes of detritus including driftwood, a pill container, seashells and a pacifier washed up on a beach.

Joe Batt is regionally famous for his ceramic sculptures of rabbits. Here he has two pairs of rabbits fighting: one pair boxing and the other wrestling.

Susan Christian's abstract paintings in dark brown, blue and off-white remind me a lot of paintings by Clyfford Still. These are strong paintings.  

Becky Knold's sculpture of a scruffy dog with fur like a tangle of wire, actually a tangle of sword fern roots, says while you were out I forgot to groom the dog.

I also loved Ruth Fuller's sweet little watercolor of a couple dancing and Spencer McDowell's haunting picture of a red devil with a bird-mask head floating in a clear blue sky. The colors in this one stand out when seen from all the way across the gallery.

WHILE YOU WERE OUT, noon to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, through Feb. 1, closing reception Feb. 1, 6-8 p.m., Sound Community College, Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery, 2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia,

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