The Alaska State Council on the Arts is purchasing pieces from two Homer artists for its Alaska Contemporary Art Bank. Deland Anderson and Deb Lowney are among 18 artists that were selected to become part of the state’s collection of art. State of Alaska offices and agencies will now have the opportunity to take their artwork out on loan and display them in their offices.
Alaska State Council on the Arts executive director, Andrea Noble-Pelant, said the goal of the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank is twofold:
“The first goal is to expose more Alaskans to high-quality work by contemporary Alaska artists through loaning original artwork to public offices, and the second goal is to invest in Alaska's creative industry through direct purchase of Alaska artist’s work,” she said.
Artists who apply for their art to be part of the collection must live in Alaska or have lived in Alaska at the time they created their work. Alaska is one of the few states that purchases art for display in public offices.
Homer resident Deb Lowney, whose work was selected for the collection, said, “To me, that’s just incredible. I mean it’s an incredible opportunity but it’s also an incredible honor.” Lowney carves wood sculptures and submitted three pieces to the bank, all of which dealt with water.
“One was ‘Estuary’, one was called “Mudflaps” and the other was called ‘Rough Seas’ and they just dealt with the motion or state of water and the one that the state bought was called ‘Estuary,’” she said.
Volunteer artists and residents from around the state judged which pieces of art would be selected. Lowney’s piece “Estuary” is a wall hanging made with small pieces of wood:
“They were 1-inch by 1-inch pieces of wood that had been given texture and then lined up next to each other and that made into basically my canvas to then paint,” she said. “So they became a solid piece of wood by just putting them all together. And so the texture was very random throughout it.”
She said she hopes people see this piece and reflect on their relationship with water. Artist Deland Anderson, whose art was also selected for the bank, says he too draws inspiration from the landscape in Alaska.
“Oh the light, it's different from anywhere else I've been,” he said. “The colors are really vivid and bright because the sun is always at a lower angle, even during the summer, than you have anywhere down south.”
He paints in a dot style, which derives from the Aboriginal people of Australia. It’s the second time one of his paintings was chosen for the bank.
“It is called ‘Welcome to Shaktoolik’ a village in Norton Sound on the Bering Sea,” he said. “A village that I visited some years ago, and it's just a painting of all the little buildings all lined up along the strip of beach where the village is.”
He said he hopes the painting inspires calmness.
“It's a piece about how relaxing and in touch life is in the villages in Alaska,” he said. “How casual things are…”
Anderson and Lowney’s pieces will be added to the roughly 700 works the bank has already. There was a reception for the new artists Thursday in Anchorage and the artwork will be available for loan beginning on Jan. 19.