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Tubers, superheroes and Hooper unite on First Thursday

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The forecast on First Thursday calls for temps to kick back above the 90-degree mark. Is it coincidence that on that same night, some of the brightest stars of Idaho's art scene are coming out to play? We think not. Here are a few highlights from this month's gallery lineup.

Brown's Gallery

When the United Potato Growers of America moved their national headquarters from Twin Falls to Salt Lake City earlier this spring, it looked like Idaho was on the verge of losing its legendary grasp on America's tater crown. No more. This August, Boise will host the sixth World Potato Conference--the first time this diverse and, yes, prestigious conference has been held in the United States. To commemorate this historic event, Brown's Gallery is presenting its own feast for the eyes (the human kind), by way of the Great Potato Project.

See Kirk Anderson's "Potato Series" at Brown's Gallery this month. - PHOTO COURTESY BROWN'S GALLERY
  • Photo courtesy Brown's Gallery
  • See Kirk Anderson's "Potato Series" at Brown's Gallery this month.

The show features 30 artists giving their take on potato-themed art, with predictably... unpredictable results. Gallery owner Randall Brown's elaborate potato-centric reinterpretations of Rene Magritte's "The Son of Man" (You know, that painting with the apple in front of the guy's face) and Swedish illustrator Haddon Sundblom's famous Santa-delivering-Coke-as-presents advertisements are tongue-in-cheek to say the least. Sun Valley photographer Kirk Anderson's "Potato Series," featuring shots of potatoes carved up and re-assembled into over 20 different thematic arrangements, appears on the surface to be slightly more serious (if only because it's rather eerie). And as for the landscapes of potato fields and the psychedelic glass potatoes, well, they simply have to be seen to be believed.

But the event isn't all about food-as-art. Brown's Gallery will also donate a portion of sales for the evening to the Idaho Food Bank, and attendants are being asked to bring at least one can of food or a nonperishable food item. Consider something containing a little roughage.

Reception from 5 to 9 p.m., 1022 Main St., 342-6661.

Basement Gallery/Lindley Glass Studio

The Basement Gallery presents a characteristically eclectic lineup this First Thursday, with works by Bill Carman, John Killmaster, Jeremy Lanningham and glass artist Matthew Jordan.

Carman, undoubtedly one of Boise's most prolific artists, deals with some familiar topics in his latest series of illustrations, sketches and sculptures: animals who act like people, people who look like animals and superheroes who don't look very super. The national security boost added by "Captain Capybara" and "Man Mole" notwithstanding, the characters in Carman's latest show are some of his most violent and sinister in recent memory. But as always, it's a fun bloodbath.

Killmaster, a former Boise State prof whose work has been shown at venues ranging from the San Francisco MOMA to the Smithsonian, has been a regular presence in recent years at the Basement Gallery. While he is internationally renowned for his enamel work, Killmaster Basement shows usually span a wide range of mediums, and the current exhibition is no exception. In this exhibition, pieces range from bright enamel masks--a nice complement to the cartoonish work of Carman and Lanningham--to giclee prints of Killmaster's portraits, to vibrant oil landscapes of Idaho's aspen and sage-covered countrysides.

Each of Jeremy Lanningham's 26 new pieces at the Basement illustrates a letter of the alphabet with a pen-and-ink rendition of a corresponding animal. While the biology is a tad suspect--unless you believe in jackalopes or unicorns--the exhibition is perfect for anyone looking to beef up either on their spelling or cryptozoology. Is a show on Sesame Street in the works?

Jordan definitely falls into the "one of these things is not like the other" category at the Basement with his delicate blown glass creations. If you like what you see with Jordan's "Ice Vase" and "Urchin Bowl" series, head over to the Lindley Glass Studio, where he will be hanging out alongside another show of his blown-glass interpretations of natural forms, "Boise River Rocks."

Reception from 5 to 9 p.m., Basement Gallery: 928 W. Main St., 333-0309; Lindley Glass Studio: 217 N. 10th St., 342-8024

Gallery 601

Like Ward Hooper? Of course you do. There's probably a local law somewhere in the books mandating undying affection among all citizens for Idaho's premiere vintage-style poster artist. If not, there should be. But why even risk it when you could simply visit Gallery 601's third-annual Ward Hooper show this First Thursday? Hooper will be on hand throughout the reception to personalize limited edition prints, from old favorites to his new "See Spot Walk" image for the Idaho Humane Society, to his submissions to the Boise City Arts Commission's "Art In Transit" public art competition.

Reception from 6 to 9 p.m., 211 N. 10th St., 336-5899

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