The Umpqua Valley Arts Association announces five new gallery exhibits open to the public for free until April 28 that will be unveiled at a public opening reception held from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday at the Arts Center.

The Hallie Brown Ford Gallery will feature the “SPELLS” photography exhibit that’s a collaboration between Portland writer Peter Rock and five photographers from around the country; Sophia Borazanian, Sara Lafleur-Vetter, Shaena Mallett, Peter Earl McCullough and Colleen Plumb.

“‘SPELLS’ is a visual narrative that represents the story that Peter Rock wrote,” said UVAA gallery director Sandee McGee. Rock was awarded the 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship for this project that’s been in the making for about three years in partnership with the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland.

The exhibit displays moments in the lives of three friends and other unconnected individuals brought together by mystical circumstances. Rock will be there on opening night to talk about how the images relate to the story. The book will also be available for purchase at the gallery.

“The images are very poetic. The viewers use their imagination to experience the narrative of the actual story and how the images relate,” McGee said.

The Red Door Gallery will feature a show called “Spring Collection” by Roseburg artist Holly Wilson-Werner. Her images have been printed on scarves and shawls that will be available for purchase on opening night only. After that they will be available at Fisher’s Flowers in Roseburg.

The exhibit will be made up of oil paintings along with fabric items, with flowers as the primary medium.

“You can really see the arch of her work and how it’s changed over time because she sticks to a medium that she feels close to and is familiar with,” McGee said. “In a lot of ways flowers are a metaphor when you think about the living and the dying of flowers and change.”

McGee admires that Wilson-Werner has gone into depth about her subject matter and believes that this depth is evidenced in her work.

The Corridor Gallery will display a show called “Graphic Content” by the Anvil Collective from Anvil Northwest graphic designers in Roseburg.

“They are shunning the notion that the only real art is fine art,” McGee said. “They are calling their work lewd eye candy with a dash of light reading. It’s a young show, it’s a great show, we are so proud to have it.”

This collection of work explores the beauty of urban decay through print media, typography and graffiti, revealing the “inky mass of desperate communication” that makes up the world, McGee described.

Gallery II will feature the work of Roseburg artist Elaine Balderston in a display called “Presence.” McGee describes Balderston’s mixed media work as sensitive, beautiful, full of color and very poetic, exemplifying abstract impressionism.

“It’s an invitational retrospective exhibit that shows the depth and breadth of her work over time since she’s been working as an artist,” McGee said. “She’s a person not interested in depicting actual things, but the experience of life. She allows the viewer to have an experience while looking at the work.”

The Student Gallery will feature the works of Roseburg High School students in a show called “In Search of (Im)Possibilities.” In this display, instructor Nathan Eckman allows students to explore and express themselves through different media.

“You’ll feel like you’re looking at an actual exhibit of work that should be shown in a gallery that are not projects in a classroom,” McGee said.

See the new exhibits and visit the artists at the free opening reception with appetizers, refreshments and a no-host bar from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at The Umpqua Valley Arts Center, 1624 West Harvard Ave., Roseburg.

The galleries will continue to be on display until Friday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday. For more information, visit www.uvarts.com or call 541-672-2532.

Reporter Vera Westbrook can be reached at 541-957-4216 or vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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Education and Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Vera Westbrook is the education, nonprofits, and arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4216 or by email at vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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