While admitting they have a place in nature, many people’s reaction to bugs is a heartfelt EEEWWW!   River Gallery artist Carol Chapel has a different opinion. Chapel is fascinated by the intricacy of all parts of these tiny creatures that share our world.   She says, “Insects are so easily ignored, considered a nuisance, or smacked with a newspaper. They don’t get the appreciation they deserve for their beauty and place in our universe!”   She joins the June Focus Artist Anna Mallard and several other brave River Gallery partners and associates for “Bugging Out,” a wonderful, quirky, creepy, extravaganza of bug-related art.

“Bugging Out” brings a wealth of insects in a way we rarely get to see them, celebrating their intricate forms, beautiful colors, and creepy coolness.  Mallard’s signature folk art gourds sport a delicious array of crawlies, while Chapel’s drawings and paintings from a series entitled “Unseen World” are sourced from her collection of insects viewed through her microscope.   In addition, are Sheryl Thompson’s monoprints with bugs, Maria Winner is showing her beaded entomological specimens, Becki Hesedahl fudges the line a little with a couple of spider watercolors (yes, we know they are not insects), and assemblage artist,  Ann Durley will make you smile with a new clock featuring a different sort of bug.

Bugs are just the beginning of  River Gallery’s offerings this summer.  June’s featured window artist is Pat Berman with a selection of ceramic figures and vessels.  There is also a retrospective of the work of Hilary Russell who passed away in April.  A long time Independence resident, educator, and gallery partner, Russell’s paintings and prints have shown in galleries throughout the United States, and are represented in many private collections.

To celebrate the August eclipse,  a show entitled “Eclipsing Color: Adventures in Black and White” is on the schedule.   This show challenges gallery artists to forego the allure of color and concentrate on the effects of black and white.   In keeping with the theme of dark and light, the gallery will also feature photographer Dean Hanson with his show called “Portraits,” a show of black and white photography.   In the fall,  in collaboration with the Luckiamute Watershed Council, the Gallery will present “Local Waters,” a juried show of two and three-dimensional artwork that expresses the diversity of the streams and wetlands and their connection to the richness and abundance of our wildlife and landscape.

As artist  Becki Hesedahl observes, “River Gallery might not be the best-kept secret in Polk County, but close!”  Sitting in Independence, slightly out of our normal round of art-related sites, people may not know the gallery or forget to check it out, but it is one of the longest-lived co-op galleries in the area.  As you can see from the rundown of interesting events, the short trip to Independence is well worth the time.