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Caricatures above and below the First City New exhibit hits MSG: New exhibit hits Main Street Gallery
The work of Jess Davila and Andrea Murphy, from their exhibition “Above and Below the Water” featuring paintings on canvas and glass, is shown at the Main Street Gallery. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek


By ALAINA BARTEL
Daily News Staff Writer

Andrea Murphy and Jess Davila will take people above and below the waters of Ketchikan in their new exhibit that opened on Friday at the Main Street Gallery.

For “Above and Below the Water,” Murphy, a local musician, artist, bartender and radio host, has been playing around with a technique called Verre Églomisé: a French term referring to the process of painting backwards on a piece of glass. It’s done by applying paint to a piece of glass and then looking at the glass on the opposite side to create an image.

Murphy used the technique on refurbished window frames, and said her pieces in the show are simple representations of the painting style. When viewing her art, Murphy said she hopes people can see the layers of the process, and consider the details of what it takes to paint backwards.

“With this chunk of paintings, I wanted to test, experiment and challenge myself with seeing what happens with the windows, because each time I work on one, it opens up another technique,” she said. “… I’m kind of exploring, it’s kind of a vulnerable thing with this technique. I’m playing with a painting that’s kind of backwards and (I’m) not sure exactly what’s going to happen.”

The artist has been working on the series since the beginning of the summer and said she wanted to do a simple exhibit with her friend, Davila, because they have always wanted to work together. The two have both lived in Ketchikan for about 10 years and have been laying low artistically, according to Murphy.

In the exhibit, community members can take a look at Murphy’s above-ground depictions of Ketchikan, and Davila’s underwater scenes. Murphy described her own art as an in-between of abstract and realism, and thinks it’s good for the community to see different representations of art — and her.

“Sometimes working, people are like, ‘Oh, you do more than bartend?’ People have other facets to them, it’s nice to be able to share another perspective — another part of me,” Murphy said.

Davila has 10 paintings in “Above and Below the Water,” that are mixed-media caricatures of sea creatures. She used acrylic, oil and paint markers to bring Ketchikan’s jellyfish, rockfish and salmon to life. Davila, a busy mom and fisheries biologist for the U.S. Forest Service, called her work a “mixed bag.”

“It’s celebrating Ketchikan and all of our life above and below, and we love our diamond in the (rough) so I think people will too,” Davila said. “They’ll see a lot of fun humor that we bring to our art … and celebrate our beautiful community as well.”

The exhibit is the first of the 2018-2019 exhibit season at the Main Street Gallery. Each March, the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council accepts applications for individual, group and curated shows from the community and beyond.

The Arts Council’s mission is to provide exhibit opportunities for both emerging and established artists, expose the Ketchikan community to a broad variety of visual art forms, encourage local participation and appreciation of the arts, and provide a non-judgmental environment for innovation, according to the KAAHC.

Its program development committee nominates a selection panel with diverse artistic interests, which assesses applications and puts forth recommendations for the board to approve each season.

The 2018-2019 season is as follows:

• Sept. 7-28: “Above and Below the Water.”

• October 5-26: “The Cultivated Table.” Chef and artist Robin Leventhal will present an exploration in free form ceramics with a collection of hand-built oyster platters and accoutrements, “celebrating the connection between touch, taste, texture and terra.”

 • Nov. 2-30: “Manifest X.” A joint project, a collaboration by Jackson Polys and Robert Mills to create “new activations of ceremonial items” as “Indigenous people negotiating the complexities of settler colonialism.”

• Dec. 7-14: “Ketchikan Youth in Art.” This is a multi-media open-call exhibit inviting area youth to display their work, celebrating the arts in Ketchikan’s schools and community.

• Jan. 4-25: “Cleo Weston a Retrospective - 1930-2010.” Cleo Weston was one of the founders of the Ketchikan Arts and Crafts Guild, and owner of a local art store. This curated exhibit celebrates her life, her art and her influence on artists she encouraged and mentored.

• Feb. 8-22: “The 33rd Annual Wearable Art Show Exhibit.” Get close up and personal with selected pieces from the “Circus of Curiosities” runway show.

• March 1-29: “Art and Science on the Katmai Coast.” Cordova artist David Rosenthal joined scientists studying environmental impact in Katmai National Park and created a body of work reflecting his experience.

• April 5-26: “My Secret Synergy Garden.” An “exciting new direction in kinetic art sculptures” for artist Rhonda Green, with hand-constructed sculptural art pieces made from recycled, new and found metal objects.

• May 3-31: “Merge: Human + Machine.” New works from artist Evon Zerbetz, as she considers mechanical and organic themes in dimensional linocut constructions.

• June 7-July 26: “Artists of Ketchikan.” A yearly invitational exhibit featuring established and emerging Ketchikan artists.

• Aug. 2-30: “Blueberry Arts Festival Art Exhibit.” An open-call exhibit for the whole community working in any medium.