by Sheri Boggs
My first experience with the Adams Street Lofts was about four years ago, when the former Lambert Candy Company was little more than a dust-filled, bare-beamed "Raw Space," hosting a show of acrylics by the late Freeman Butts. At the time you could look at the blueprints for future lofts, including the one currently inhabited by the building's owners, Jim Kolva and Pat Sullivan, but it was hard to imagine then what a work of art the building itself was yet to come.
On subsequent visits I've been delighted to see what Kolva and Sullivan have done with the former candy company, and how it has quietly become one of the area's finest private gallery spaces. From Kolva and Sullivan's astonishing personal collection of Northwest ceramics to the inception of a future public gallery, their commitment to the arts is daily made evident in a place that retains the high ceilings, brick walls, original window vistas and continual train rumble of its early days.
Their love of contemporary ceramics informs two of the three shows scheduled at the Adams Street Lofts/Kolva Sullivan Gallery: one is a show of work by artists, including Beth Cavener Stichter, Josh De Weese and Sandra Trujillo, from the renowned Archie Bray foundation in Helena, Montana. The other show is by Keith Simpson, whose ceramic sculptures can be inspired by such pop culture origins as The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Dark Crystal or invented from the stuff of night terrors and macabre imaginings.
Finally, two-dimensional works get their due in a group show of four artists, curated by artist and instructor Bradd Skubinna. Ryan Hardesty's vaguely string- and rubber band-shaped line paintings are almost sculptural in their use of shade and value; Ruby Palmer's small abstracts invite the viewer into their Oompa Loompa-hued world. Heidi Arbogast rescues silk flowers from their traditionally "crafty" contexts and even finds art in the instructions that accompany them. And finally, Katy Stone's lovely paintings on Mylar incorporate shadows, delicacy and a sense of the visceral in their intriguing shapes.
While Kolva and Sullivan will have their gallery open for the Visual Arts Tour and about a month or so beyond, they're hoping to have someone operate the space so that the gallery can be open on a regular and permanent basis. The building also has one loft and one additional commercial space in the works.
Publication date: 10/02/03