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Mr. Downer is a nationally known artist who has shown in Alaska since the 1980’s. He moved from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula in 1989. An avid fly fisherman since he was ten years old, Downer began the odyssey that has led to a lifelong devotion to rivers and fishing for salmonids. As part of his process, Downer now translates the experiences of fishing for Kenai Rainbows and Copper Kings into wall relief abstractions depicting fishing locations, conflating references to American Color Field paintings, Abstract Expressionism, Photo Realism, and the 2000 year-old Asian art of suiseki rock appreciation and display. Myntti is presenting two bodies of work in “Cosmic Rivers.” The first is a survey of her art with astronomy and the cosmos as a focus. Since the initial exhibition of the cosmos series at the Ketchikan Arts and Humanities Council in 1999, she has been developing other forms of astronomical representation with examples from other bodies of work represented in “Cosmic Rivers.” The second part is a sampling of her work on the figurative-- themes which have been consistent throughout her work since 1984. They are marriage, family and architecture rendered in oil, marker, pastel, aquatint and watercolor.Downer taught painting and drawing at Kenai Peninsula College for five seasons in the early 1990’s. A move to New York City enabled a successful exhibition decade including two major solo shows: the Hudson River Museum showcased his “Hudson River Portrait” compositions that showed details of the river’s entire watershed, and “View From Above” a historical visual analysis of the 5 boroughs of New York City presented at the Museum of the City of New York as part of the city-wide Centennial Anniversary. In 2001, Downer returned to his west coast roots (the artist grew up in Pasadena) and settled in Joshua Tree where he presently chairs the Copper Mountain College Art Department. There he has created a significant digital art curriculum that emphasizes multimedia skills in digital photography, student exposure to the history of still photography, and the techniques of graphic design. Mr. Downer is also building the college’s reputation as the only school in the country to specialize in earth works exhibitions incorporating natural and manmade elements installed in site specific locations around the campus. His work is always based on fishing trips, with the latest development fine-tuning the attached cedar boxes that display the rock arrangements. This involves the sensitive display of river rocks in the suiseki inspired Japanese tradition of asymmetrically balanced stone arranging. In effect this means adding the geologic matter of sculpted river stones collected from specific sites, and also often adding examples of the fishing terminal tackle used for the salmonid that has been targeted.Digital photography is another important component of Downer’s work. Having studied with West Coast Straight Photography School masters in the San Francisco Bay Area at Stanford and San Francisco State, Downer has thirty years perfecting this style and the art and science of photography. His current emphasis is creating large scale panoramic landscapes and figure-in-landscape studies of earth goddesses in earth works environments, examples of which will be on display. Myntti lived for 8 years of her adult life in Anchorage and married a local boy, Leif Selkregg in 1989. She made art in Boston and London and New York when she and Leif lived there but came back to Alaska to have her children. They left the last time in 1998 for points eastward-Chicago. She spends most of her time between Chicago and Ely, Minnesota where she has a cabin and a summer studio. Myntti was educated at the University of Idaho and the University of Paris. Her work can be found in museum and library collections such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York Public Library, Laguna Art Museum/Orange County Museum, Mexican Fine Arts Museum, Chicago, University of Santa Barbara Library, and The Anchorage Museum of History and Art among several others.
Contact information: 760-401-9018
Spelman Evans Downer
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