Find your 'Inner Child'

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By Nancy Coombs

Fuller Lodge Art Center offers an antidote to the winter doldrums with the latest exhibit, “Inner Child” and invites the whole community to an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday.
The call-for-artists for this show says, “Bring your inner child out to play. Show us work inspired by children and childhood, toys and play. Help us expand our imaginations and relive childhood memories.”
Over 30 artists answered the call and the Art Center is now awash in color and alive with imagination. From a free-flowing abstract painting by Jo Douglas of Youngsville, to a ceramic foot sporting little piggy toes by Anne Russell of Santa Fe, the gallery is filled with pieces that are amusing while carrying out the mission of awakening viewer curiosity.
Debra Gardner’s “Pencil Explosion” of colored pencils exudes the energy of childhood. Irene Berenstein’s photographs capture the importance of love and friendship in childhood with a glimpse of two hands reaching toward each other called “Approach,” and a mother and child in “El Beso.” Teralene Foxx shares two books she created for her grandchildren. “The Best Gift Ever” is based on a story Foxx wrote when she was 12 years old. More recently, she rewrote and illustrated the story to create a book for her grandchildren.
Local resident Alison Chilen created some latex masks specifically for this show. Chilen is a makeup artist for film, having done work on a number of movies. She moved back to Los Alamos last spring and has shared her talent with the Little Theater, assisting with makeup on “Suessical” and “Seascape.” For “Inner Child” she created a series of half-face masks, first sculpted in clay, then cast in latex and hand-painted. Before the masks were hung for display, just about every person who saw the masks tried at least one on, with a big smile, completing the disguise.
FLAC Director Ken Nebel, who assumed leadership of the Art Center last summer, makes an effort to broaden the pool of artists who share their work in Los Alamos.
Nebel searches for artists whose style fits the theme, then invites them to apply for the show. “Inner Child” is graced with the works of Juli Cady Ryan of Cincinnati, Ohio, who is part of a Whimsical Art Organization, and was thrilled to send her work to New Mexico.
Nebel discovered ceramicists Kathleen Wall of Jemez Pueblo and Anne Russell through a New Mexico ceramicist group. Besides “This Little Piggy,” Russell shows three other pieces, all interpretations of fairy tales that bring an adult perspective to childhood tales.
Wall captures the joy of Kashari in a sprawling ceramic figure titled, “Hay It’s Me,” that greets visitors as they enter the gallery. Wall has another ceramic piece as well as two bronze pieces, capturing joy in all the figures.
Gordon McDonough titled his interactive wooden sculpture “After Inventing the Wheel, They Decided to Invent Catch.” The piece has a hand crank which makes a platform tilt, causing a metal wheel to roll from one figure to the other.
McDonough, who
works with children at the Bradbury Science Museum, certainly found a way to awaken the inner child.
Marshall Jansen fills the Portal Gallery with his “Just Cuz” artwork, an exploration of many media and a contemporary attitude. Jansen showed to great success in the Art Center in the TAG show last summer, with his street-inspired art.
His bold use of color and pop culture influence appeal to all ages, and complement the “Inner Child” show.
The “Inner Child” exhibit runs from Friday through Feb. 1 at the Fuller Lodge Art Center, 2132 Central Avenue. The Art Center is open from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Images from the show can be viewed at www.fullerlodgeartcenter.com.