Arts and Entertainment

Gallery remembers South Whidbey Artist

Virginia Bloom adjusts a painting by Ken Hassrick at Blooms Winery Taste for Wine & Art.  - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Virginia Bloom adjusts a painting by Ken Hassrick at Blooms Winery Taste for Wine & Art.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

The work of Ken Hassrick, a longtime figurative artist on the Island, is being remembered at Blooms Winery Taste for Wine & Art for the next two months.

The pieces cover Hassrick’s work as he explored the relationship between realism and the abstract of the female figure. The gallery will show 21 pieces from the artist with proceeds benefitting the Arts in Education program, which is sponsored by the Whidbey Island Arts Council.

Before Hassrick passed away in 2004, he shared with Frank Rose, a friend and member of the council, that he wanted his work to go back into the arts community. Together, they reviewed his work and developed several shows, he said.

In a press release, Hassrick was quoted as saying of the female figure, “It is without a doubt one of the most complicated and ever variable of subjects. In seeing these paintings, I hope you will find some of the excitement and enjoyment that I have found in creating them.”

Hassrick began many of the pieces shown at the gallery by working in charcoal first. He then applied a water-based acrylic spray to his work before backfilling it with color. He repeated this process several times to work the color on top of the charcoal. Hassrick created this process in the early 1980s, Rose said.

“I enjoy his technique and the finish that he gets. His skin tones are unique,” Rose said. “I like the way he was able to use that technique to portray women, and the composition of his work.”

Owner and winemaker Virginia Bloom selected the pieces at the gallery and enjoys Hassrick’s work. She said all the portraits are female, but each conveys something different. It’s great that he had the ability to do that, she said.

“You can get a sense for the people and beauty he saw in each person,” Bloom said. “His work is very simple and clean.”

Bloom said Hassrick was a great and funny person to be around as well. Bloom remembers going to picnics with Hassrick and his wife, Barbara. They always had friends around, they were wonderful people, she said.

“It’s nice to have these paintings around to remember him by,” she said.

The council will use the proceeds from Hassrick’s work to support the artists in residence program. The program puts an artist in classrooms from K-12 throughout the South Whidbey School District to accommodate for the reduction of art classes. The program needs $700 for one artist to teach 20 hours in the classroom during the 2013-2014 school year, Rose said.

The program is an effective way to expose kids to art in our classrooms, he said.

The show also features artist Richard Rhydes in his first gallery showing. Rhydes is also an admirer of Hassrick’s work and was thrilled to be a part of the show, Bloom said.

Rhydes’ work features paintings and landscapes using the pointillism style, a technique using dots with the tip of a brush to form a larger image.

An opening reception will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at the winery. The show will run through the end of October.


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