Arts and Entertainment

The unifying agent of art, on display at CVG

Susan Sweetwater’s poetry-inspired encaustic painting “Broken Pieces.” - Bill Mickelson/Staff Photo
Susan Sweetwater’s poetry-inspired encaustic painting “Broken Pieces.”
— image credit: Bill Mickelson/Staff Photo

Collaboration abounds in an exhibit of installations, sculpture, encaustic painting and poetry.

Collective Visions artists Susan Sweetwater and DeAnna Pindell seem to share an almost telepathic connection.

While Pindell works mainly in 3D sculpture, Sweetwater chiefly in 2D encaustic paintings, the artists are similar in that both are somewhat abstract and idealistic, and both consistently carry organic, earthy overtones in their work. Both also teach. But what’s more, they said they often find one another working in the exact same medium or with the exact same imagery without any prior knowledge or communication on the matter.

“It’s kind of spooky,” Sweetwater says with a laugh, taking a break from writing a piece of poetry on the wall of the CVG showroom, in preparation for her and Pindell’s show “Parallel/Paralax.”

In this particular, aptly titled case, both artists had planned at least one installation piece for the show. When it all came together, both, to their surprise, had been working with the imagery of trees.

Which, of course, given the fact that both artists reside in the Northwest, isn’t all that unusual. But upon further investigation, they also found they had both invoked the use of an unusual media — rope. And both had used rope as part of a tree piece.

In Pindell’s installation “Sequestrium,” the viewer is invited into a theatrical artistic venue — underneath the earth amidst the root system of a tree with the roots delineated by hanging pieces of rope. In Sweetwater’s wall-hanging “The Trees May Save Us,” the viewer is shown the innards of two symmetric trees, placed side by side — one an actual slice of a tree, the other the artist’s replication of the exact opposite of that tree slice, with a spiraling piece rope symbolizing its life rings.

A fairly simple, though long-winded, example the seemingly clairvoyant creative connection between Sweetwater and Pindell illustrates the power of art as a unifying agent. And it also exemplifies the purpose of Bremerton’s Collective Visions Gallery.

“Some people find spoken or written language more comfortable, while for others of us, we’re more oriented to a visual language for communication,” Sweetwater said.

Collective Visions, a gallery run by its artists, has been providing a venue and local amplification for that kind of communication, while inspiring connectivity between artists and public interaction with art for more than a decade in downtown Bremerton.

While both Sweetwater and Pindell are similarly creative souls who’ve found their respective voices through art, on some levels they’re also quite disparate.

Pindell, who lives near Port Townsend, is a rebel-type Northwest native who was adamantly discouraged from the life of an artist when she was a kid, growing up in Seattle. Sweetwater, who lives in Bremerton, is a bit more passive and a transplant from the Midwest, jokingly notes her first artistic medium as the Crayons she used as a young child.

But each feel they were, in a way, destined to become artists. And perhaps, in a way, they were destined to come together at Collective Visions.

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