San Juan Islands Museum of Art brings natural forms to public in ‘Substrate: Underlying Currents.’

Submitted by the San Juan Islands Museum of Art

In the spacious Nichols Gallery at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, Susan Singleton, Kandis Susol and Hannah Alex-Glasser have created an elegant exhibition, “Substrate: Underlying Currents.” The three artists worked together to bring mature, intelligent work inspired by natural forms to the public. The close association of the artists and their philosophies bring an unmistakable harmony to the exhibition.

The theme for SJIMA’s 2018 is “The female gaze,” as it focuses on a select group of dedicated, innovative and insightful artists who bring a feminine perspective to their creations and to the audience’s experience. These women share a devotion to their craft and an important counterbalancing message of peace, healing and beauty in troubled times. All expertly use materials and processes indigenous to our lush Northwest.

Susol writes of her work that the visitor should “taste with their eyes” of the intended sense of simplicity and purity. To her, spiritual practices are crucial to her art and her life.

“This work has become my meditation practice,” she said. “It gives me a resting place to experience simple beauty.”

Susol developed an unconventional way of making paper so each piece is unique and, most of all, imperfect. Designed with wax, demar resin and paper, her art is informed by insight into her own imperfections as she searches for a way to see we are all unique but similar, flawed but beautiful.

Singleton is known nationally and internationally for both large-scale architectural work as well as more intimate poetic pieces. Her art investigates the textural surfaces of paper with a patina of wear. Japanese Washi paper and paper from Nepal and India are used to bring the rich traditions of papermaking from each culture to her work. She frequently explores a storyline with each piece using photographic images, block printing, silkscreen, etching, stenciling and stitching. She often sands, rubs and scratches the surface of the piece.

Alex-Glasser’s work grows out of a fundamental connection with nature, “whose beauty, complexity and integrity have been, for me, a constant source of centering and awe.” Her clay works are hand-built, unglazed and fired in an open flame. She feels deeply connected to the archetypal feminine in the material she works with earth, and in the form vessel.

She views her art and the process, as a “quiet form of activism” with the respectful and persistently physical and symbolic acts of cultural re-balancing.

“In the way that the loosely described Northwest School brought the qualities of dappled light, mysticism and the quietude of Pacific Northwest nature to their audiences in the mid 20th century,” writes Christian Carlson of the Perry and Carlson Gallery. “Kandis, Hannah and Susan’s work dialogues (sic) on such a level — the quiet power of monochrome schema, the play of light on surfaces, and the viewer’s experience of being drawn, layer after layer, into complexities where a singular experience awaits.”

Susol has exhibited throughout coastal Washington in solo and group shows, galleries, studio tours and the SJIMA Artists’ Registry shows. She is a fiber arts graduate of the University of Washington and has advanced study in design and encaustics.

Singleton’s work is in public and private collections such as Alliance Chapel, Houston, The Heart Disease Center, Tokyo, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, The Broadmoor Hotel, Denver and the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica, CA. She studied at the Faculty University of Washington and earned her MFA at the University of Washington.

Alex-Glasser came to art from a career of professional ballet and contemporary dance. She has exhibited in the Pacific Northwest and solo, duo and group exhibitions in Weston Gallery, Carmel, Catherine person Gallery, Seattle, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Gallery, Berkeley, “Ink and Clay 21” CA State Polytechnic University, Pomona and “Sculpture” Sebastopol Center for the arts, Sebastopol CA.

“Substrate” is sponsored by Cassandra Carothers, Janet Ketchum Foundation, and John Ketchum Foundation & Swigert Warren Foundation.

A special gallery walk will be on Sunday, March 25, 3-4:30 p.m. at SJIMA.

The exhibition is open Friday-Mondays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through May 7. SJIMA is located at 540 Spring St. in Friday Harbor. Hours are Friday-Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10, with members and those 18 and under entering free. Mondays are pay-as-you-can days. Visit for more information on museum activities.