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Friday, January 22, 2021

Make.Shift artists build with Blue

Untitled (blue #1) oil on canvas in styrofoam frame, 54" x 42" created by blue exhibit artist Jackson Hunt. // photo courtesy of Jackson Hunt
Untitled (blue #1) oil on canvas in styrofoam frame, 54″ x 42″ created by blue exhibit artist Jackson Hunt. // photo courtesy of Jackson Hunt

A variety of paintings and sculptures has two Northwest artists feeling Blue as they work on their pieces for the Make.Shift Art Space exhibit Blue, which will be displayed in downtown Bellingham from Friday, March 4 to 26.

Western alumna Mariah Tate Klemens will display an array of sculptures as part of her complete collection in the exhibit titled Blue. Klemens graduated with Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in mixed media and art education.

“All of the works relate to failure or the potential for something that has not quite happened,” Klemens said.

The color blue represents failure, growth, potential and lost potential, Klemens said. In art history, the color blue is seen as a void or expanse, she said.

One of Klemens’ sculptures features a collection of live plants coated in blue paint with brown and green visible where the plants have grown out of the paint. Another sculpture will be a rubber, personal-size trampoline.

Klemens said paintings seem to make more sense in blue.

We thought the color blue would work really well with [those themes] because it is a unique color and expansive,” Klemens said. 

Jackson Hunt, a Portland, Oregon native, will have three pieces on display for the exhibit.

Hunt is working on blue, monochromatic figurative paintings inspired from photos revolving on his adolescence and growing up. He said the paintings have elements of photographic realism and are oil-based.

“[Oil] is nice, but creates difficulties when you are working on a timeline,” Hunt said.

One painting is inspired by Hunt’s late-grandmother and another is a monochromatic painting that depicts two high school-aged basketball players.

Hunt said he cannot predict what people’s response to the artwork will be because it is personal for everyone.

“I just hope everyone can find a personal point in their life to related [the art] to,” Hunt said. We are trying to touch on human experience.”

Hunt and Klemens have been discussing and planning this project for months. The two met when Klemens lived in Portland, Oregon over the summer and were introduced through a mutual friend.

The idea for the show came from Klemens’ idea to display the plants, which she began working on in August, 2015.

Hunt said he generally takes a long time to create his work – usually several months for oil paintings – but didn’t have as much time for this project.

“I’m just allowing myself a few weeks to really make the works, but have been thinking and planning them for longer,” Hunt said. He usually works in monochromes and likes the confines and limitation based on color, Hunt said.

The show will be a unique experience for Klemens because most of her exhibitions have been solo, she said.

“The story this exhibition will tell and the conversation the works have with each other is really unique,” Klemens said.

Hunt said it has been helpful to collaborate with Klemens for this project.

“It’s been was great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to push me in directions that I would not have gone normally,” Hunt said.
 To learn more about the exhibit visit the makeshift website. 


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