Arts & Culture » Visual Art

We Have it Covered

Boise Weekly's 12th annual cover auction benefits the arts...and Boise Weekly


After an artwork graces the cover of a Boise Weekly edition, it is hung on the walls of BWHQ until it is time for our annual cover auction. That time--Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Visual Arts Collective--is fast approaching. It's difficult to say goodbye to the pieces that give our workspace so much of its character, but it's made easier knowing that our annual auction benefits local arts. This year's auction holds particular importance for us: In years past, Boise Weekly partnered with a local arts organization that received a portion of the proceeds, the rest going to grants we award to arts organizations and individuals. This year, proceeds from the auction of covers dated May 1, 2013-Sept. 18, 2013 will benefit BW Watchdogs, a new strategic initiative created by our owner and publisher Sally Freeman to strengthen the sustainability and health of independent alternative media through reader-supported journalism. The remainder of the proceeds will, as always, directly support local artists through our grant program.

And speaking of local artists, below are highlights of a few whose work you will see at the Cover Auction--artwork that could soon be adding character to your space.

Tim Andreae, "Year of the Snake 2013"

Close examination of Tim Andreae's rice paper and sumi ink piece gives the impression of a young artist dabbling in the relationship between line and form, but take a step back and you'll see a subtle use of forced perspective and dimensionality that breathe life into the subject. To wit, it's the work of a mature artist recalling something youthful and vital.

"This brings me back to my childhood in western Virginia, where the timber rattler was never far," Andreae wrote in his artist statement.

This is the 12th installment of Andreae's Chinese New Year series, which began with his "Year of the Horse 2001." It is also his last "Year of ..." cover. We are deeply thankful for Andreae's ontributions and are happy to announce Martin Wilke (who also has a cover in this auction) will carry on this tradition.

Alexa Rose Howell, "Maurice"

This French bulldog, with ears alert and eyes glistening with the high pitch of puppy energy, sits at attention against a background that swirls surreally about the foreground, casting Alexa Rose Howell's subject into visual and emotional relief.

Howell passed away in January of this year after a 12-year fight with cancer. By the time news of her death had been made public, Howell's watercolor and ink portrait was in a stack of upcoming covers. Upon hearing news of Howell's passing, however, our art director chose to use "Maurice" that week.

Howell would say "art is everywhere" and in "Maurice," she found it in the face of a companion.

Karen Bubb, "Havana, Cuba, 2013"

In our July 17 edition, BW caught up with Karen Bubb at her studio to discuss her then-recent trip to Cuba. The public arts manager for the Boise City Department of Arts and History, Bubb has developed a refined sense of how people occupy space and how to interpret and present that spatial occupation in her art.

"My job in public art has informed how I see place. I'm interested in how people inhabit place," she said.

In Boise, Bubb helps curate public art. She adds to the landscape to make it more engaging, appealing and people-friendly. In Cuba, she found people living in what sometimes felt like the ruins of an ancient civilization. Run-down buildings had been haphazardly converted into apartments and restaurants. People commuted in automobiles built in the 1950s, which in America would be generously described as "fixer-uppers." It added up to a sense of a world that had been constructed out of the repurposed, rebuilt, reused.

"Things have an age to them and a sense of meaning. It was aged opulence," she said.

Upon Bubb's return to the U.S., she created a series of encaustic paintings that became an exhibition at the Gallery at the Linen Building, Cuba on the Cusp. The BW cover, "Havana, Cuba, 2013," depicts a sombrero-wearing man approaching a car pulled straight from Detroit's Golden Age and onto the Malecon--the picturesque seawall that serves as the border between the city and the sea.

George Poindexter, "Fire at Robie Creek"

In January 2013, Nathaniel Bartholomew, a former Boise County firefighter, admitted to purposely igniting the Karney Fire near Robie Creek that burned more than 400 acres and menaced as many as 100 homes. The cost of fighting the blaze came to more than $2 million. According to Boise County law enforcement, Bartholomew may have set the blaze to get the attention of his father, who is also a firefighter in Boise County.

In response, artist George Poindexter made a carpet, "Fire at Robie Creek."

"All you parents, you parents out there give your kids lots of love and don't let them play with fire," Poindexter wrote in his artist statement.

The carpet itself, broadloom hand-cut, inlaid and sculpted, uses red and white against a black backdrop to create the impression of interiority and exteriority, and allowing one's gaze to settle into its rectangular black core is like staring down a throat--or into the depths of a harrowing firestorm. Poindexter has created a sardonic visual pun combining the devastation of fire with the Oedipal overtones of Bartholomew's story.

Christine Raymond, "Puzzle III"

In an April 2013 edition of Boise Weekly, readers learned about Clay Carley's plans for the Owyhee Hotel downtown, a group of cabin lessees who sued the state of Idaho over land lease rates along Payette Lake in McCall, and how the Davis Cup may have left a lasting legacy on the tennis scene in Boise. It was a busy week for hard news, recreation and the arts, but all of it came under the heading of Christine Raymond's "Puzzle III."

At a glance, what's missing from "Puzzle III" is the puzzle--after all, the Lascaux acrylic and 23-karat gold-leaf piece is a red stripe over a gold stripe--but take a closer look: The strokes that comprise the red upper area give a wispy, swirling, atmospheric impression. Compare that to the rigid, geometrical contours of the gold leaf beneath. Regardless of the piece's geometrical and chromatic simplicity, it's an enormously complex work that probes the psyche's admixture of the organic and the manufactured. The more closely the viewer looks, the more he or she finds.