The Rob Schouten Gallery has its fourth anniversary this month and to celebrate, it honors the season of rebirth and renewal.
“Birds & Nests — The Art of Spring,” is open through May and features a flock of fine artists showing all manner of works on the theme. But a special highlight of the show features a collaborative sculpture by gallery artists Robert Adamson, Dan Freeman, Rob Schouten and Sharon Spencer. The artists have created a four-foot diameter nest that holds a gift of handblown, vibrantly-colored glass eggs, installed near the gallery’s entrance through May.
The idea was inspired by the new beginnings of spring, and by the continuing renewal of the gallery’s open doors.
“It was initially Rob’s idea to have four artists create an installation to celebrate the gallery’s fourth anniversary,” gallery manager Victory Schouten said.
“Once Dan, Sharon and Robert became involved the idea really took off,” she added.
The artists all said they had one of the best times ever creating the piece.
“When we got to work on this piece a work rhythm naturally revealed itself,” Freeman said. “We chatted, told stories, laughed and had a great time. We laughed at the seagulls squawking from the rooftops of the building and imagined they were laughing at us and making fun of our nest building skills,” he said.
Master nest builder Spencer said, for her, the project reflected the soulful spirit of renewal that the season brings and an affirmation for the artists.
“Rob and Dan were a delight to work with,” Spencer said. We all put a lot of joy and laughter into this project. This big nest holds much more than sticks, twigs and moss; the conversation went from the joys and heartaches of making a living as an artist to how grateful we all are to be doing what we love. We all realized — even more so — how very, very important art is for the heart and soul,” she said.
Rob Schouten asked Adamson to create the glass eggs and then happened to visit artist Jonni Reed after she finished pruning her fruit trees and had the twigs they needed. Freeman came up with the idea for the steel stand and Spencer found the lichens that would line the nest.
Schouten sounded like a kid in a candy store.
“The feeling of being in sync with other artists as you are creating is tremendously stimulating and inspiring and we are already talking about collaborating again,” Schouten said. “The metaphor of new life emerging didn’t go unnoticed either and it felt like we were giving birth to a fun and stimulating dimension of our personal creativity.”
Among all that creative spirit, Victory Schouten is forever grateful that they managed to keep the doors to the gallery open.
“We love that little gallery,” she said.
“And I am happy to know others love the gallery too, and really feel the connection, inspiration and beauty we want to offer; a haven for the spirit.”
That spirit is expansive with much of the art in this show.
The gallery also shows bronze and natural fiber nests by Spencer, welded steel sculptures by Freeman, handblown glass by Adamson and Janis Swalwell, handmade jewelry by Barbara Mundell and Tammi Sloan, encaustics by Kathleen Otley, paintings and prints by Linnane Armstrong, Anne Belov, Karin Bolstad, David Iles, Craig Johnson, Pete Jordan, Jacob Kohn, Stacey Neumiller, Jonni Reed, Rob Schouten, Wendy Wees, and Mark Van Wickler, as well as handwoven silk by Cyndi Wolfe, and ceramics by Maryon Atwood and Dan Ishler.
New to the gallery are Armstrong, Atwood, Bolstad, Ishler, Johnson, Sloan and Wees.
“The Birds & Nests — The Art of Spring” will run through May.
The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information call 360-222-3070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.