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Visual Edge: American Vinyl Exhibition at B2 Gallery

Portraits of musicians with vinyl records to buy, sell and trade

"Face of the Blues - John Lee Hooker," giclee from acrylic on illustration board, by William Walts, at B2 Fine Arts Gallery. Courtesy photo

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Musical performances during openings at B2 Fine Art Gallery are nothing new, but the gallery is branching out into music in a big way with the first of a two-part series of art celebrating music. "SPIN 1: American Vinyl Exhibition" is the first of two shows with portraits of musicians in photography and paint augmented with vinyl records to buy, sell and trade; gallery talks and musical performances throughout the duration of the exhibition. This first show focuses on gospel, blues, country and folk, and includes art and photography celebrating giants of music from Woody Gutherie and Robert Johnson to Dylan. "SPIN II" will follow in the summer of 2014 covering, jazz, rock and contemporary musical genres.

The featured artworks consist mostly of portraits of musicians and include giclée prints from acrylic paintings by William Walts, watercolors and acrylics by David Lloyd Glover, photos by Robert Marovich and Jeff Jaisun, and paintings by Randy Leo Frechette.

From Walts are prints from paintings of Johnny Winters, Bob Dylan, Janice Joplin, B.B. King and others. Particularly strong are his paintings of Warren Haynes and of John Lee Hooker.

Glover provides watercolors of Muddy Waters and Sam Lightning Hopkins and an acrylic of the legendary Robert Johnson.

The show is important more as a documentary or archive of musical history and memorabilia than as fine art. Most of the work has a commercial or illustrational quality. As interesting as the artworks are, the music is even more interesting, as gallery owners Gary and Deborah Boone play vintage vinyl recordings throughout the show. Plus there are videos featuring blues legends and museum-like displays of old record players, and stacks and stacks of album covers visitors can thumb through just as in a record store. In fact, they have in many ways turned the gallery into a music store. One of the most memorable pieces in the show is a photo of Dr. John that was in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and is marred by water damage from the hurricane.

Also shown are abstract paintings by Judy Hentz Cox. They are excellent paintings unrelated to the themes of the show.

Musical performances in the gallery in conjunction with this show include a gospel extravaganza Sept. 20 and a country and folk hoedown Oct. 4. Both shows begin at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.

"SPIN 1: AMERICAN VINYL EXHIBITION," 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, till 8 p.m. Third Thursdays, through Nov. 16, B2 Fine Art Gallery, 711 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.238.5065

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