Dale DeArmond passed away in 2006, but an exhibition of her work will shine new light on the prolific artist’s work.
Malin Babcock, DeArmond’s daughter-in-law, curated a collection of DeArmond’s work that will appear in “Art Matters” for Gallery Walk and through Dec. 14. Babcock said the display will include some new context for work from the late artist and longtime Juneau resident known for her wood engravings and woodcuts.
“I am honored and humbled,” Babcock said in an interview. “It’s a real responsibility to me to see the important pieces of her legacy go to the proper places.”
The collection that will be on display will include dozens of DeArmond’s works, and Babcock said many will be for sale.
Babcock said the works include a piece titled “Why Loon Laughs” that Babcock counts among her favorite DeArmond works.
“It was one of her very late wood engravings,” Babcock said. “It was intended to be part of a six-piece set with stories. She never finished them.”
It was within only the last several months that Babcock found a letter that included a story that was to appear with the loon story-inspired engraving. The letter has been framed, and it will appear with the piece to give it the context it nearly lacked.
In the story told to DeArmond by Martha Littlefield, Loon asks Raven, the most beautiful bird in the world, to make Loon “pretty.” Raven acquiesced, and in return, Loon told Raven that she would make Raven even more beautiful if Raven closed their eyes. While Raven’s eyes were closed, Loon rubbed soot and ashes into Raven’s feathers. Loon laughed when Raven saw that Loon’s handiwork transformed Raven into a plain, black bird, and according to the story, that’s why Loon laughs.
Babcock said she is regularly impressed by the amount of work that DeArmond produced, the variety of media in which she worked and the number of subjects she depicted.
She said her mother-in-law made woodcuts, engravings, books, sketches, silk screen prints and more. Alaska Native stories, life in Juneau and smaller villages were sources of inspiration, Babcock said.
“Dale herself did not concentrate on any one thing,” Babcock said.
Evan Hartung, whose photos will be on display at Devil’s Club Brewing Co., will have his first First Friday exhibition during Gallery Walk.
“No pressure,” Hartung joked in an interview. “I’m super excited.”
Hartung makes photographs using film, and most of his work depicts Southeast Alaska or fishing, which is what brought him from Oklahoma to Juneau.
Hartung said he did not fish Oklahoma lakes or rivers before pursuing commercial fishing in Alaska, but it seemed like a viable way to make it to Alaska, which was his goal. In 2014, Hartung made it to Juneau.
“Fishing was a huge part of my life,” he said. “Coming from Oklahoma to fish was kind of horrifying, but it worked out.”
The photos will be accompanied by poems contributed by Hartung’s friends.
“They’re still coming in,” Hartung said of the poems. “Some of them are right on point with the head space I was in when I took the photo. Some are way out in left field.”
He said both types of contributions add interesting context to the photos.
Hartung began photographing with film a few years before coming to Juneau during a 2011 family trip to Italy.
He said he bought a cheap camera from a friend and thought it would be fun to try.
Hartung has since upgraded his camera, but he still has his film developed at the same Tulsa, Oklahoma, store.
“They know me, and I trust them,” Hartung said.
He said the images film produces justify the extra effort.
“I think that it kind of captures more of the visceral feeling,” Hartung said.
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt