June in the Bear Gallery

First Friday Opening: June 2, 2023, 12–7 p.m., reception 5–7 p.m.
Exhibition On View: June 2–24, 2023
Gallery hours: Monday–Saturday, 12–6 p.m.

Join Fairbanks Arts in the Bear Gallery for our June exhibitions: Rough Cut by KC Crowley and Capturing Everyday Beauty with Paint by April Knox.

Rough Cut 
by KC Crowley

Rough Cut is a term applied to timber that is estimated or unfinished; Rough Cut is an exploration of mythical and spiritual reflection on the natural world and our role within its complex system; Rough Cut is to be coarse, common or uncouth; Rough Cut is an exhibition of woodblock prints and hand-made artist books created by KC Crowley.

“Each block of wood has a character, a personality that will come out in the printing. A successful piece is as much about getting your carving to cooperate with the woodgrain as it is to think up a good image to carve in the first place. For that reason, I often like to take concept sketches right from a little doodle in a notebook and draw directly onto the wood itself to make certain the curves of the grain will allow the curves of the image.”

KC Crowley

Born in Detroit in 1975 in Henry Ford Hospital (the same immortalized by Frida Kahlo’s paintings), Kevin “KC” Crowley first came to Alaska in 1999 to work in Nunam Iqua along the lower Yukon. In the intervening years, he has traveled, started a family overseas, and then returned to Anchorage, where he currently teaches a self-contained special education preschool program at his neighborhood school.

Never having studied art nor received any training other than an apprenticeship at a tattoo parlor in the ’90s, Crowley’s primary medium for artistic output during his traveling years was human skin.  However, Crowley wanted more creative control over his work and a better work schedule to raise his three young sons, so he took up printmaking a little over a decade ago. 

Completely self-taught from books checked out of the local library and lots of trial and error, Crowley’s method has been described as “primitive” or “rough-cut.” Early in his career, the famed Alaskan printmaker Gary Kaulitz was inspecting some of Crowley’s work at a gallery reception and commented, “You can’t really call yourself a printmaker, more like a wood-cutter.”

In keeping with these humble roots, Crowley has made a philosophical commitment to creating unique art that is hand-made and meaningful but priced for a working family. Each piece of art Crowley creates has been lovingly crafted by hand at each step, from sanding and carving the woodblock, inking and positioning artisanal papers, to turning the crank or printing press. All is done by hand, powered by nothing more than the food in the artist’s belly.

Crowley’s first opportunity to show work to the public came about a decade ago when, by happenstance, an employee at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward noticed him sitting by the tanks for hours sketching and painting. Every summer since, Crowley has shown work with the center in Seward and has contributed to their annual charitable events. Crowley’s woodcuts have a long-standing representation at Spirit Mountain Gallery in Chitina. In the summer of 2022, his exhibition “Sacred Waters” was extended for three extra months at the Valdez Museum. Recently Crowley has also participated in group shows at the Rasmuson Museum and IGCA in Anchorage and was the recipient of an Individual Artists Award by the Rasmuson Foundation in 2021.

When he is not helping neurodivergent preschoolers build the necessary skills for kindergarten or making art in his studio, Crowley can most often be found on the trails with his sons and a sketchbook.

You can connect with KC at https://www.mythinkworks.com/

Capturing Everyday Beauty with Paint
by April Knox

Capturing Everyday Beauty with Paint brings awareness to the beauty of the daily surroundings in the Interior by capturing the changing light throughout each season. April’s works are representational, impressionistic oil paintings, preserving an ordinary moment of Interior beauty with confident, bold brushstrokes and vibrant color.

April Knox is a plein air oil painter and geologist living in Fairbanks, born and raised in Indiana. Her painting career began about 15 years ago, inspired by the early American Impressionists. April loves to be quiet and observant outdoors, which made her naturally love plein-air painting. She likes to paint subjects that people pass by daily, helping them notice the beauty of the ordinary.

April moved to Fairbanks in 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in geology, during which she had to step back from painting full-time. After completing her degree, she worked as a geologist in Houston, Texas, but her heart and family were still in Alaska. So she and her husband moved back home to Fairbanks in 2020, and she has been plein air painting all over the Interior ever since. 

April had the privilege to study with Fred Doloresco and Don Stone. April’s technique and style were influenced by Emile Gruppe, John F. Carlson, and Robert Henri’s book “The Art Spirit.” April’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Indiana State Museum, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Central Insurance Company, and many private collections. She has exhibited in juried exhibitions, including Oil Painters of America, Salon International, Hoosier Salon, and Indiana Heritage Arts. Currently, her work can be found at 2 Street Gallery, Roaming Root Cellar, the Bear Gallery Gift Shop and on her website.

You can connect with April at https://www.aprilknoxart.com/

April is enthusiastic about being involved with the Fairbanks community. YOU can paint with April outside in the Interior or attend her free artist talk in the Bear Gallery!

Artist Talk with April Knox on Wednesday, June 7 at 7 p.m. titled: “April’s Journey in Brushstrokes from Indiana to Alaska” in the Bear Gallery.

This free artist talk will cover the changing landscapes throughout April’s development as an artist, focusing on what inspired, shaped and molded her style into the landscape painting seen today.

Artist Workshop with April Knox titled: “Plein Air Painting at Pioneer Park.”

This three-day workshop begins Tuesday, June 20, running Wednesday, June 21 and Thursday, June 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Registration is required ahead of the workshop. Read more and register here.

These exhibitions are free and open to the public thanks to support from our donors and members.