Arts and Entertainment

Paintings engage views in musical chairs

Chris Feldt and Janice Shaw teamed up to make a dynamic curatorial duo for the pair of BAC shows on the theme of “chair.” - ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo
Chris Feldt and Janice Shaw teamed up to make a dynamic curatorial duo for the pair of BAC shows on the theme of “chair.”
— image credit: ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo

Bainbridge Arts and Crafts current exhibit, “Take a Seat,” invites viewers to interpret the title literally.

Beverly Shaw-Starkovich’s attractive paintings of chairs titled with the names of well-known melodies, and the accompanying group show of sculptures on the same theme, are a tempting lot.

“Music always evokes memories,” Shaw-Starkovich said. “A lot of people will relate to that element.”

Shaw-Starkovich’s paintings in pastel and oil bar make poignant subjects of the empty chairs.

Each has a distinct “personality” and each also functions as a melancholy frame that suggests the particular person who might have sat there.

The absent human presence may be as specific as it is in the piece the artist calls her favorite, “Someone to Watch Over Me,” which features a portrait of her grandson’s chair and a teddy bear that belonged to Shaw-Starkovich’s daughter.

But most of the chairs are lonely objects, like Shaw-Starkovich’s empty Adirondack-style lawn chair silhouetted against the sea and twilight sky, titled “Mood Indigo.”

“I intend them to evoke moodiness and tranquility,” Shaw-Starkovich said. “That’s the common thread running through all my work, even though the specific subject matter may vary.”

Another common element is Shaw-Starkovich’s emphasis on drawing as the basis for her work.

“I like drawing, and drawing is the foundation for any painting,” Shaw-Starkovich said. “I think you need to have the ‘bones.’ If you know color, if you know drawing, then it allows you to elaborate. Otherwise it’s like trying to cook without knowing how to separate two eggs.”

Keeping it real

This realistic bent attracted Shaw-Starkovich to training at the School of Realistic Art in Scottsdale Ariz. and at the University of Puget Sound in Seattle.

Deepening her knowledge is an ongoing process for Shaw-Starkovich, who annual attends a week-long watercolor workshop in Taos, N.M.

A former corporate insurance broker, Shaw-Starkovich turned her already-developed work ethic toward her artwork, avoiding a common pitfall for those who trade a corporate career for art: allowing their business acumen to outpace the development of their artistic imagery.

Instead, Shaw-Starkovich concentrates on work in the studio.

“I paint a lot; I paint every day,” Shaw-Starkovich said, “but I know it would be very, very hard to survive exclusively from art sales.”

* * * * *

Shaw-Starkovich’s show, “Take A Seat,” is on display at BAC through June 30. In a companion exhibit, “Chairs: A Group Exhibition,” co-curators Chris Feldt and Janice Shaw have assembled 11 artists who prove again that there are as many variations on a theme as there are artists. From Cameron Bahnson’s pun on a canvas butterfly chair painted with the image of a butterfly to a refurbished period piece like Caren Anderson’s Rococo dining chairs, the fantasy furniture “has legs.”

Call 842-3132 for more information.

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