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Behind the Paint 

Check out the new, all-woman show at the Chase Gallery

click to enlarge \"Pink-Love\" by Jessie Lee Rasche
  • \"Pink-Love\" by Jessie Lee Rasche

This spring at the City of Spokane’s Chase Gallery, the works of four women — Betty Hageman, Ellen Picken, Kathleen Secrest and Jessie Lee Rasche — cover the walls. It’s an exhibit displaying dexterous talent in which the public gets a taste of typical and atypical media paired side by side in the gallery.

Hageman, from Seattle, literally buries her canvases to create “[a] portrait of the subject matter using the subject matter as a medium” including compost, soil, charcoal, mold, cactus spines and photo images. Hageman’s process allows for an earthy, organic feel to her work.

Adjacent to Hageman’s recycled earth tones are Ellen Picken’s oil paintings, which blur realism in a “stark, rural landscape.” Picken grew up in Spokane but currently lives in the small town of Republic, Wash. Her paintings capture that area’s dark contrasts. Some paintings take hours or days to complete. Others, like “Alpha Draconis Forfeit the North,” take 45 minutes, she says. Like the exhibit’s regional artists, Picken’s landscapes complement spatially and contrast stylistically.

Picken’s edgy landscapes are across from Kathleen Secrest’s romanticized paintings. The illustrator, director, and graphic designer’s “Mt. Spokane Sunrise” is a spectacular view from Deer Park. Created with pastels and acrylics, she describes “Future Event” as a nontraditional painting the image of flower petals ventures outside what she would typically feature in one of her landscape paintings.

Former freelance illustrator and media developer Jessie Lee Rasche juggles roles. Her impressionist and realist paintings display motherhood, artistry and nature. With “Road to LaGrande,” she says she wants the image of a rustic country setting split by a dirt road “to lead people into the road not pointing to focal points.”

“I love this show … Everything came together with the setting. This is so great,” she says.

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