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The "Immerge" show and beyond

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Regina Case

Arts! Arcata is ... Well, it just always is. Arcata has talented artists, supportive businesses and even a fine symbiosis of both in the Arcata Artisans cooperative. HSU's art major is historically popular, and live music offers cheer in several stores. Despite all this, the event remains Jan Brady to Eureka's Marsha. Which is all the more reason to give it your love — it needs it. And although the list of exhibits is a short one this month, the night is not without its offerings.

Of particular note is the opening of "Immerge" at the Marsh Commons Community Building (101 South H St.). The show features the work of nearly a dozen established Humboldt County artists, including that of one of my favorites, Rachel Schlueter. Known for oils so lush a viewer could drown in them, Schlueter has recently been playing around with mixed media in preparation for an upcoming Eureka Studio Arts workshop she's teaching. On her website, Schlueter muses, "I'm very impressed by what can be expressed with cut up paper and paint. Images and design can get very abstract and bizarre, fast, and I think the experience triggers an altered state." The result is artwork that arrests the viewer.

Regina Case's easily recognized interiors are also in the show. Living spaces bleed into the outside world with an effect reminiscent of looking at a line drawing of a cube, the depth pivoting in and out, an optical illusion of perspective. The rooms glow with color, and so do the grasses, trees, hills. A wolf or dog may lurk or lie in the foreground or the background. The paintings are at once solid and ethereal, and the longer you spend with one of them, the more the distinction between inner world and outer, between the domestic and the wild, falls away.

Rounding out the "Immerge" exhibit, which includes several styles of painting plus photography, collage, assemblage and sculpture, are works by Georgia Long, Phyllis Barba, Noelle Cox, Natalie Craig, Kristen Hunter, Jesse Groeschen, Lauren Miller, Patricia Sennott and Linda Wise. The jazzy Dogbone provides music from 7 to 9 p.m.

Up in the plaza area, why not support the efforts of the youth? Art programs have dwindled as school budgets have been cut, making each encouragement and development of creative expression a small triumph on the part of teachers and directors everywhere. Arcata Exchange is hosting both art and music by Pacific Union students, while the Rocking Horse is showcasing "Out of This World," artwork culled from Ms. Watson's first grade class at Arcata Elementary.

Of course, you don't have to go to the monthly art walk to discover artists — although you should — this is Humboldt County, after all, and a person can't throw a rock without hitting some painter standing in front of a canvas somewhere. (Please don't throw rocks at painters. An artist's ego is fragile enough as it is.)

Case in point: A lovely Thursday afternoon at Moonstone Beach featured Mimi LaPlant and Kathy Stotler on their weekly outing capturing the rocks, sand and ocean on small canvases, unperturbed by the surfers jogging by, the barking dogs and the inquisitive looky-loos. You can see LaPlant's landscapes and abstract paintings this week at Arcata Artisans. Stotler isn't showing for Arts! Arcata, but you can find her collage pieces up at the Unitarian Church.

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Jennifer Savage

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