January in the Bear Gallery: John Hagen & Northern Portraiture

John Hagen ‘Wild Things’ // Northern Portraiture, an Open Entry Exhibition

 First Friday Reception: Jan. 6 , 5-7pm

On view in the Bear Gallery: Jan. 6-28, 2017


About John Hagen: Hagen is a Haines, Alaska based fine art photographer. He is a life long artist who studied photojournalism at University of Alaska Fairbanks and earned his BFA in New Media Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. His work has been shown in across the state of Alaska, in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Hagen has received an individual artist award from the Rasmuson Foundation. He is most recently the recipient of the Coonie Boochever Fellowship from the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation. Hagen’s work has appeared in publications across the state. For more than 6 years he worked as a photojournalist at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

“My introduction to art and expression was watching my father carve Tlingit style totem poles at his studio. I was encouraged as a youth to follow in my father’s footsteps as a carver, but quickly found that my artist calling was with a camera. Growing up, I didn’t fully appreciate the identity challenges of an Inupiaq artist, like my father, encountered when creating the art of another people.

I began to take photography serious in the 1990s when I started to study at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I worked as a photojournalist at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner through the 2000s. I slowed my freelance career to finish my BFA at Institute of American Indian Arts. My career as an artist began after graduation. I chose to set up a small artist practice in my hometown of Haines not only because it’s where I feel most connected to the land, but because while there is a lot commercial art available here, there are few artists doing expressive and modern Native art.

I explore notions of place and what it means to be Alaska Native through my art. My art is influenced by interaction between people and place. I am Aleut and Inupiaq but grew up in a region historically, and still, inhabited predominately by Tlingits. People often assume I am Tlingit and that this is the area of my ancestors. But it’s not.

I have experienced very little of my Aleut or Inupiaq culture. As I have been seeking to define my Alaska native identity, I am drawn to exploring the place I live compared to place my ancestors are from – the differences, the similarities and what it means to my own identity.

I use this search for ties to the land to inform my work. I am drawn to urban-wild interfaces, places where the nature and civilization collide. I am often drawn to small islands of nature, surrounded by civilization. I look for places where something wild and organic pokes through our technological trappings and vice versa. In my project “Wild Things,” I looked at how we seek to invoke wildness by bringing bears in effigy, or taxidermy wild animals, to our not so wild places like malls, airports and gift stores.”

Pictured Above: Bear, Juneau Airport by John Hagen. Archival Inkjet Print. 14″ x 9″


About Northern Portraiture:

This is the second time Fairbanks Arts has offered this open invitation exhibit, the first being in January of 2016. Northern Portraiture was open to all Interior Alaskan artists and asks artists to explore the history, implications, and alternate interpretations of portraiture as a genre.

Pictured: Will Koehler by Fairbanks Arts member, JR Ancheta. Archival Pigment Print. 15″ x 18″

Gift Shop Artist of the Month:

Cat Albright

img_0169Cat Albright is a retired teacher who has lived in Fairbanks since 1988.   She is married to a wonderful man, they share their house with three wild and mostly crazy cats. Her son is in the Army and currently deployed to Korea.   Cat enjoys gardening, reading, and most of all, working with fabric.

“I took my first quilting class about 25 years ago, and was hooked.  I have been quilting since then, and have explored many different styles.  In the past couple of years I have added to my quilting by playing with machine embroidery and I have recently started dyeing my own fabrics using a few different techniques.  I am excited to share my discoveries and hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed making them.”

Watercolor Artist of the Month:

Cheryl Berrong


Cheryl is a lifelong Alaskan, born in Ft. Yukon, Territory of Alaska, and raised in mining camps at Boundary, Chicken, in the 40-mile mining district. School was started in Tok Junction and she began drawing and painting with the help and encouragement of her mother, also an artist.

Cheryl is a multi-media artist who works primarily in watercolor. This is a challenging medium that allows light and color to express the beauty of her world. She is a signature member of the Alaska Watercolor Society. Her paintings have been displayed in Fairbanks at the Bear Gallery, S Salon, Woodway, North Pole Grange, Stephan Fine Arts Gallery, Denali State Bank, and Well Street Art Co., as well as a one woman show at the Whale’s Tail, Captain Cook Hotel, in Anchorage. Cheryl’s paintings have been  chosen for People’s Choice Award at the Annual 2007 Fairbanks Watercolor Society Show, and again in 2012. Her art has graced the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival 2007 poster and catalog cover. Her paintings are in private and public collections.