Alaskan artist Herb Bonnet talks about his career in painting at the Juneau Pioneer Home, May 2015. Bonnet, who passed away in 2017 will be the subject of a retrospective exhibit Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Alaskan artist Herb Bonnet talks about his career in painting at the Juneau Pioneer Home, May 2015. Bonnet, who passed away in 2017 will be the subject of a retrospective exhibit Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

See a career-spanning collection and special exhibits Friday

Discovering stories and keeping them alive.

Michelle Bonnet Hale is still discovering stories about her late father.  

She’s collecting them and writing them down, as she organizes a retrospective featuring work in his honor. Her father, prolific Juneau painter Herb Bonnet, passed away in August 2017 at the age of 87.

“Most of the paintings have a story about them,” Bonnet Hale said in an interview. “These stories are everywhere. He might have had to give away a painting to settle off a bet. You never know. As I’m collecting these, I’m trying to document those stories.”

[Juneau painter leaves behind loved ones as well as paintings in half of Juneau’s homes]

For example, Bonnet Hale recently picked up a painting that her father had included in a trade for a BMW motorcycle.

“He had sold the motorcycle to this person a couple of years before, and he just really wanted it back,” Bonnet Hale said.

During the trade, Bonnet told the painting’s new owner that the piece depicting a rocky point was actually painted on top of a painting of a boy pulling a sled that didn’t sell.

“So there’s another painting under there,” Bonnet Hale said.

She said she intends to include some pads of paper at the retrospective’s opening planned for 4:30-7 p.m. at Juneau Arts & Culture Center, so stories about his work can be documented.

The retrospective will feature about 50 pieces of Bonnet’s work, but it could have been much larger.

Its title, “It-Could-Only-Ever-Be-Partial: Herb Bonnet Retrospective,” references the vast body of work Bonnet produced over about seven decades of painting. Bonnet Hale said he easily created hundreds of paintings.

“Herb was a very creative and a really good artist, but not the best record keeper so I actually have no idea where his paintings all are,” Bonnet Hale said. “They pop up. His originals pop up. You just never know where they’re going to show up.”

That pervasiveness means even if Juneau residents don’t recognize Bonnet’s name, they may gave seen his work.

She said his paintings can be seen in local banks, a radio station conference room, art-related stores and even in the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Chamber. Bonnet Hale is currently an Assembly member.

“That’s a big one,” Bonnet Hale said. “That’s a huge piece of his. Any time you go to an Assembly meeting, go ahead and turn around and look at that picture on the wall.”

Bonnet produced hundreds of paintings throughout the entirety of his life, and the retrospective includes works from all phases of Bonnet’s career.

“It’s going to be a fun way of looking at early pieces, late pieces, and I’ve got one sketch that he did for a high school English class, so some really early work that he did,” Bonnet Hale said. “A really obvious change you’ll see is at some point, I think in the ’60s, he switched from signing his last name with two T’s to one T.”

[Longtime Juneau artists plan retirement]

The switch stuck and is reflected in Bonnet Hale’s compound last name.

Some color and subject choices evident in the paintings that will be displayed throughout the month may also surprise attendees.

“A lot of people who are very familiar with his work will observe that he liked blues a lot, and it’s always fun to run across a painting with more greens and yellows,” Bonnet Hale said. “Everybody is most familiar with his scenes of Southeast Alaska. He loved to experiment. He did a lot of space paintings. He did a lot of war paintings. He was fascinated by World War II planes and boats. There will be some of those as well.”

Bonnet Hale said she plans to continue to collect her father’s artwork and would be interested in someday putting together an even more expansive showing.

“I’m 57, and I anticipate it will be an endless exploration for me until the day I die,” she said. “He was so well-known and so well-loved. I just feel like I’m going to continue to discover things.”

“My goal is to keep his legacy alive and make sure we don’t forget his work,” she added. “The only way to do that, I think, is to keep it out there.”

First Friday Schedule

The retrospective isn’t the only exhibition planned for Friday.

Here’s a full listing of evening’s events.

Alaska State Museum: Donald Varnell, 4:30-7 p.m., Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building, 395 Whittier St. Haida carver Donald Varnell brings diverse themes to his art and does not restrict his work to one specific medium. He is known for his cutting edge totem poles, panels and paintings, Varnell is recognized as one of the most successful contemporary Alaska Native artists whose current work challenges perceptions of tradition and meaning in Native American art. Varnell collaborated with museum curator Steve Henrikson to include works by Jim Schoppert, Alvin Amason, Lena Amason-Berns, Nathan Jackson, Jackson Polys, Delores Churchill and Selena Peratrovich.

JAHC: “It-Could-Only-Ever-Be-Partial Herb Bonnet Retrospective,” 4:30-7 p.m., Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier St. ” This exhibit is free and open to the public; all are welcome to attend. This show we will largely focus on paintings from private homes in Juneau. Many have not been shown in public for decades, if ever.

The exhibit will be up through the month.

The Davis Gallery: The Rolodex Project//On Leadership, by Sarah Campen, 4:30-7 p.m., Centennial Hall, 101 Egan Drive. The JAHC presents and installation exhibit featuring interactive film and sculpture elements and encourages viewers to participate.

The exhibit will be up through the month.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum: Crystal Cudworth, Painter & UAS Students, Creative Writers, 4:30-7 p.m., Fourth and Main streets. Two new exhibits open at the city museum for First Friday — “Changing Landscape in Juneau Alaska” by Crystal Cudworth and “Poems, Stories and Artifacts” by students of University of Alaska Southeast associate professor, Emily Wall. Cudworth, an artist who focuses on oil painting, will display recent works painted outdoors in the Gold Creek area. Cudworth was an artist-in-residence at The Canvas Community Art Studio in 2017 and Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat in 2016. “Poems, Stories and Artifacts” is an exhibit of ekphrastic writing from students in Wall’s creative writing class. Ekphrastic writing is a form of creative writing describing a work of art, an object or a visual image. For this project, students chose to observe an artifact from the Juneau-Douglas City Museum’s permanent collection and then wrote a poem or story on the object.

“Changing Landscape in Juneau Alaska” will be on display through Feb. 23, and “Poems, Stories and Artifacts” will be on display through March 29, 2019.

Coppa: A Cold of the Soul: A Photo Essay About Depression, 4-7 p.m., 917 Glacier Ave. #102. A photo essay about depression and anti-depressants will be on display.

The exhibit will be up through the month.

Amalga Distillery: Glo Ramirez, 4-8 p.m., 134 N. Franklin St. Amalga Distillery will host local artist Glo Ramirez and her work, “Once Upon A Monster,” which features fluffy, cute, snazzy little monsters that bring all sorts of emotions to those that let them in.

The exhibit will be up through the month.

Harbor Tea & Spice: It’s a Detox Tea party & Jamie’s Detox Program, 4:30-7:30 p.m., 175 S. Franklin St. Suite 105. Harbor Tea & Spice will serve this aromatic beverage in all its shades to arouse the senses and set hearts to become immersed in the different types of tea.

The event is First Friday only.

Kindred Post: Kaley McGoey, 4:30-7 p.m., 175 S. Franklin St. Share your birth date, time and place with Kaley McGoey for this pop-up star charts shop on Friday to take home a natal birth cart of your own.

The event is First Friday only

Alaskan Brewing Company Depot, 4:30-7 p.m., 219 S. Franklin St. The Alaskan Brewing Company Depot will feature a selection of their beer for First Friday. They also have gear 40 percent off and offering 15 off purchases of regularly priced items for First Friday.

The event is First Friday only.

Juneau Artists Gallery: Jayne Andreen, Jewelry Artist, 5:30-8 p.m., 145 S. Franklin St. Jewelry artist, Jayne Andreen, is the featured artist at the Juneau Artists Gallery for the month of February. Andreen creates jewelry with a variety of beads including semi-precious and precious gemstones. Come meet the artist at this First Friday event.

The exhibit will be up through the month.

Rainforest Yoga: Swarupa Toth, 5:15-6:15 p.m., 174 S. Franklin St., Suite 202B. A Taste of Yoga, will feature an hourlong gentle hatha yoga class that will feature a 20 minute relaxation body scan at the end. Swarupa Toth has been teaching and practicing yoga since 2002 and loves to share the more refined states of relaxation that yoga offers. Doors open at 5 p.m., and all equipment is at the studio.

The event is First Friday only.

Annie Kaill’s: WW Knits -Hand Knits and Willow+Luna Handbags, 4:30-7 p.m., 244 Front St. Annie Kaill’s February 2019 featured artists are Willow + Luna and WW Knits. Willow + Luna makes handcrafted bags in Juneau. WW Knits is a line of hand knitted hats, scarves, and more by Juneau artisan Willow Whitton.

The exhibit will be up through the month.

Triangle Club: Ocean Charts and Oyster Shooters 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m., 251 Front Street. They are celebrating Oysters and Oceans on First Friday in February. They will be serving Oyster Shooters starting at 4:30 pm. Have an oyster and enjoy NOAA Charts printed on metal.

The event is First Friday only.

Sketch Studio: MK MacNaughton, new oil paintings “Love in the Landscape,” 4:30-7:30 p.m., 122 Front St.

MK MacNaughton’s newest paintings celebrate Valentine’s Day with a focus on red in the landscape, and a new series of large colorful flowers.

The exhibit will be up through the month.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


Prints of “Rainy Night in Juneau” by Herb Bonnet keep the late Juneau artist’s work in the public eye. (Courtesy Photo | Michelle Bonnet Hale)

Prints of “Rainy Night in Juneau” by Herb Bonnet keep the late Juneau artist’s work in the public eye. (Courtesy Photo | Michelle Bonnet Hale)

“Tugboat Passage” a painting by Herb Bonnet can be seen in the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Chambers. (Courtesy Photo | Michelle Bonnet Hale)

“Tugboat Passage” a painting by Herb Bonnet can be seen in the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Chambers. (Courtesy Photo | Michelle Bonnet Hale)

“Snug Cover” is a painting by Herb Bonnet, whose work will be the subject of a retrospective Friday.(Courtesy Photo | Michelle Bonnet Hale)

“Snug Cover” is a painting by Herb Bonnet, whose work will be the subject of a retrospective Friday.(Courtesy Photo | Michelle Bonnet Hale)

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