One of the most celebrated African-American artists of the twentieth century, Jacob Lawrence, was born in 1917 in Atlantic City. His parents divorced early in his childhood and he eventually joined his mother in Harlem. He took an immediate interest in art as a child. While attending classes at the Harlem Art Workshop, the sights and sounds of the neighborhood inspired Lawrence’s use of geometric shapes and colors within his works.
Two prints by Lawrence (Aspiration, 1988; Contemplation, 1993) are on display by the Reference workstations on the main floor of the library. Click here for more information.
Bainbridge artist Kenna Moser’s unique collage paintings can be viewed throughout the library. Four of Moser’s pieces are located in the main library stairwell between the second and third floors, and a fifth is located by the Reserve computer workstations. Originally from Ontario, Moser studied art at Queens University before moving to Palo Alto, CA, and later to Seattle with her family. Moser is now located in Bainbridge Island. Her blend of antique letters, collage, and paintings has quickly become her signature visual display. “I am inspired by artists who work with their own visual language, passions and quirks,” Moser says in her statement on the Forre & Co. Gallery website. “I believe that the path to the universal is through the personal, that you can only really paint what you know. My work is intertwined with my life. Images are gathered from trees, ferns and feathers found in the woods and stream behind my studio or gleaned from my garden.”
Each of Moser’s pieces is first begun with a piece of vintage text, positioned on a wooden box along with other collage elements. Glued into place, the collage is then painted over with hot beeswax, Moser’s signature style. The cooled beeswax coating is then set and smoothed over to produce a glass-like effect. Moser’s pieces are generally not grand-scale operations, but smaller pieces. In an interview with InsideBainbridge.com, Moser explains, “Big paintings come at you. Little ones require you to approach them and experience them in a small space.”
Justice John Marshall
In addition to the caricatures and engravings in study room 306, the library is also home to three more traditional portraits of important figures in legal history: Judge Thomas Burke, St Thomas More, and Justice John Marshall. (more…)
“Salmon Swimming Upstream”
Tucked away in the administrative offices of the library is a large piece by local Tacoma artist Lynn Di Nino. Made of various fabrics depicting a common Northwest scene—the yearly struggle of salmon making their way upstream—Di Nino, a self-taught artist who utilizes many different mediums in her works. She enjoys sculpting animals because she says they “can be so easily personified, are silly at times, have curves, and come in such a variety of packages – I am constantly, and permanently inspired.” (Artist’s Statement from LynnDiNino.com) Di Nino was a member of the Washington State Arts Educators Delegations to the People’s Republic of China and has participated in an artist exchange program in Russia.
“Knowledge” from the “The Great Human Race: The Counselors” series
John L. Doyle’s “The Great Human Race: The Counselors” (1985) series is difficult to miss in the library. Comprised of ten pieces, each color lithograph is accompanied by a monochrome copy as well as a brief explanation of the cultural symbols and history at work in each piece. “The Counselors” series seeks to visually represent the relationship between mankind and law, and Doyle invested over a decade to studying the anthropological and ethnographic background for each image. The individual pieces included here represent the concepts different societies have utilized in the formation of their laws:
- Renewal (Study Room 302)
- Judgement (Rm. 303)
- Equity (Rm. 304)
- Authority (Rm. 305)
- Knowledge (Administrative Offices, 3rd Floor)
- Harmony (Rm. 402)
- Obligation (Rm. 403)
- Custom(Rm. 404)
- Truth (Doorway to 4th floor faculty area)
“Renewal” in Room 302
Doyle was born in Chicago in 1939 and received degrees in art from the Art Institute of Chicago and Northern Illinois University. Listed in Who’s Who in American Art, Doyle has received numerous awards, and his work has appeared in national and international showings. In addition to The Counselors series, Doyle also created The Medicine Men and The Builders for “The Great Human Race,” depicting man’s relationship with medicine and architecture, respectively.
Study Room 306 holds several examples of political and judicial caricature portraits.
British newspapers from the Edwardian and Victorian eras are full of scandalous trials, giving the defendants and lawyers involved a certain celebrity status. Like modern tabloids, the newspaper reports captivated the public’s imagination through stories of intrigue, love, violence, and especially murder. The magazine Vanity Fair, which is still in print today, often published caricatures of well-known barristers and judges in their “Men of the Day” series, and likewise this period was instrumental to the development of our modern political cartoons and caricatures. Study Room 306 houses several pieces from this period, including two illustrations from Vanity Fair’s “Men of the Day Series” (The Tichborne Case, 1873; The Claimants Council, 1873), three caricatures by Edmond Xavier Kapp, and two prints of engravings by T. Woolnoth. (more…)
On the 4th floor of the library is the Alaska Reading Room, which exhibits documents instrumental to Alaska’s petition to become the 49th state. Photos and letters have been donated by Mary and George Sundborg, parents of Seattle University president, Father Stephen Sundborg. George Sundborg was an important advocate for the Alaska statehood movement.
On the walls opposite the main display case are two paintings, Alaskan Summer (1963) by Alaskan artist Fred Machetanz, and Fight Song(unknown) by North Central Washington artist William F. Reese.
On the west wall by the Reference stacks are three pyrograph prints by local artist Mark Calderon: Loyola (1994), representing St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order; Purisma (1994), meaning ‘most pure,’ showcases an image of the Virgin Mary; Mandorla (1995) depicts the Virgin of Guadalupe surrounded by a golden aura.
"Loyola" (1994), "Mandorla" (1995), "Purisma" (1994)
Calderon works with a variety of materials and subjects, and these three pyrograph prints showcase some of his unique methods, including the use of fire to mark an image on paper. Calderon’s pyrography requires that he first shape the images onto branding irons made of ¼ inch steel. Next, he heats the iron in a forge before searing the image onto Mexican bark paper.
The son of a Mexican father and a mother of Norwegian-Irish descent, Calderon notes that his inspiration comes from his own multi-cultural background as well as the world surrounding him. “Some [influences] I am aware of,” he says, “and others still go unrecognized … I do not like to create images that read as only one thing, but try to create works that have both power and mystery.” (www.gregkucera.com/calderon.html)