Deviant art and smashing sculptures; two art openings in Langley Jan. 19

Posted in Feature, Visual Art
“Maiden Flight (Queen Bee)” by Jerry Wenstrom will be at the "Komikon" exhibit. (Photo courtesy of MUSEO)

“Maiden Flight (Queen Bee)” by Jerry Wenstrom will be at the “Komikon” exhibit. (Photo courtesy of MUSEO)

Whidbey Life Magazine

The downtown Langley art scene will be breaking all the rules this Saturday night with comic book-influenced inventions and sculptor Sue Taves’ special brand of broken, then mended, stone hearts.

Museo’s “Komikon” and Brackenwood Gallery’s “Mending Hearts” both open with receptions from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 in downtown Langley.

After its annual winter break, island art hipsters always look forward to Museo’s mid-January show for its creative marginality and opening night spectacle. Gallery owner Sandra Jarvis said that, although the title refers to a convention for comic book enthusiasts, she just liked the word “Komikon” and the idea that it follows a deviant kind of artistic attitude. This exhibit will seek to explore the impact comic books, cartoons, graphic novels and various forms of computerized animation and the effects of such has on art created by locals. The art of Roy Lichtenstein and Roger Shimomura were some of what inspired the idea, she said.

She asked invited artists to, “Invent your own superhero, design a video game, explore the light and dark sides of animation, create a political cartoon, or go wherever your ideas and creativity take you,” Jarvis said.

“We look forward, as well, to some creative costumes for the opening reception. Once again, let’s light up the cold days and nights of winter with a memorable exhibit!” Jarvis said.

“Komikon” will run through Feb. 25 at 215 First St. in Langley.

“Komikon” will provide plenty of color and creativity from those attending the opening night, but also, down the way on First Street, Brackenwood Gallery will also be breaking the boundaries of art with its show “Mending Hearts” in a collaboration of stone carver and sculptor Taves, photographer Michael Stadler and mixed-media artist Zia Gipson.

Taves created the concept for the show.

“I’ve been working on it in between other projects for years,” she said.  “I carved the hearts and then broke them, while having Michael take photographs of the hearts shattering. Zia worked with me to put some back together and then I put lots more together. Over 40 sculptures have been broken and “mended,” Taves added.

Sculptor Sue Taves breaks a heart.( Michael Stadler photo)

Sculptor Sue Taves breaks a heart.( Michael Stadler photo)

It’s an interesting concept that may be even more “deviant” than the “Komikon” theme, with its techno-minded through-line that is fast becoming the new normal for art and otherwise in today’s technology-infused world. The idea of capturing the action and shards of an artist shattering stone on film is compelling, as is the idea of contemplating the reassembled sculpture after the fact and all the implications it presents, especially when one considers the fragility of the human heart.

Local filmmakers Sharon Shoemaker and Robbie Cribbs also managed to make a short film of the process. Their short video records the process as Taves stands high on a ladder and drops one of her stone heart creations onto a black granite base. One imagines that the original deviant, Jackson Pollock, that great splatterer of paint, would approve of such shattering of stone.

Gallery co-owner Rene Neff is in love with the whole thing.

“It’s an exhibit that will engage your mind in multifaceted ways,” Neff wrote in her gallery site blog.

“As I wandered around the studio gazing at the different sculptures I found myself thinking about my own personal history with heartbreak, then wondering how in the world these artists thought of mending a heart with fur, then looking at the stake through the heart and thinking, yeah I get that!” she wrote.

“I found myself ping-ponging back and forth between emotion and marveling at the problem solving involved in putting these hearts together again.”

Heartbreak, literally.

“Mending Hearts” runs through Feb. 25. For more, visit or

 (Pictured at top, “Mighty Miss Muffet” by Butch Arthur for “Komikon.” Photo courtesy of MUSEO.)


Patricia Duff is an award-winning journalist whose most recent kudos include several wins in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association 2011 competition.

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