Shannon Borg photo

Shannon Borg photo

Artist celebrates San Juan Island beaches with ‘The Jeweled Shore’ exhibition

  • Thu Aug 26th, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by Friday harbor Atelier.

“Our island beaches are powerful, mysterious, and beautiful places, where we go to reflect, celebrate, and heal,” says artist Shannon Borg.

Borg invites you to meet the artists at a reception from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 27 at the Friday Harbor Atelier, in conjunction with WaterWorks Gallery’s latest opening.

Changing her life at 50 to study oil painting, Borg has been fascinated with one beach in particular — South Beach at American Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park — for years.

Now she is presenting a solo exhibition with paintings, drawings, photography, and paper sculpture on display, as well as an 18-foot-long oil painting on canvas of South Beach. “The Hours” includes six sections, each representing four hours in a day at South Beach, capturing some of the colors, abstract shapes and dynamic movement of the beach.

Borg has invited two other artists with special connections to the islands to join her. Seattle fiber artist Julia Wayne, who has been visiting the islands since she was a child, makes small, colorful fiber art pieces reminiscent of seaweed or sea creatures. Friday Harbor Jeweler Wendy Smith created a necklace and earrings from luminescent freshwater pearls specifically for the show.

“Our beaches carry messages of their natural and cultural history in an ever-shifting drama of driftwood, cycles of growth and death, erosion, tides, and light,” says Borg. “I am fascinated at how elemental the beach is, and yet how complex.”

Borg has created eight paper sculptures to represent her version of “The Elements” — Earth, Air, Fire, Water — and including elements from ancient Greek, Chinese, Native American, and Celtic traditions — Wood, Metal, the Void (or the Great Mystery), and Numbers (or the Universe, or Spirit).

“I wanted to create an exhibition that would show the imaginative diversity of ideas surrounding the beach,” she says. “It is a place where the tides transform the “littoral zone,” the region between highest high tide and lowest low tide, drastically. People gather to build driftwood structures that act as play forts, shelters, and shrines. They gather around fire pits and build stone cairns. These scenes feel so ancient, yet are about celebrating the present moment. It is a place of community, health, healing, and personal transformation.”

In the two weeks after the reception, the show will be open by appointment by calling 360-317-6563.

“These openings have become our own little art walk with art lovers and artists gathering to socialize outside, see art, and enjoy community,”Borg said.