Lush Language

Our Nest by Isabel Elena Pérez

May 3 - June 30, 2024
Open 12 Noon to 5 PM Thursdays through Mondays
Jeanette Best Gallery
701 Water Street, Port Townsend, Washington

GIFTS FROM THE OCEAN. The heat of Havana. A long sunset. Such are the inspirations in Lush Language, our show celebrating four emerging artists. More than 50 creations vibrate here with color, movement and symbolism — stirred together by Isabel Elena Pérez, Tininha Silva, Claire Ragland and Becca Fuhrman.

The exhibition gathers large-scale paintings on wood, mixed-media tableaux, etchings, pastels on black paper, and sea lift-inspired tapestries. Together, they make a luscious display.

About the Artists

BECCA FUHRMAN is an interdisciplinary artist who specializes in multimedia large-scale paintings. She loves to use found materials, including objects and ideas discovered in her travels.

Born in Boise, Idaho, Becca now lives in Seattle, where her work includes murals, painting, printmaking, graphic design, architecture and beyond.

“When I was little, I remember my grandparents had wallpaper in their dining room that didn’t repeat, but wrapped the whole room, telling a story across every wall. Visual story-telling, folklore. This mesmerized me,” Becca writes. Today her work is often sequential and imbued with story. It is rich in symbolic imagery, and explores feminism, memory and gender identity while playing with color and pattern.

With her art in Lush Language, Becca wants to offer viewers a sense of connection — via images and interpretation. “I like to have layers of meaning,” she says. On the face of a painting, for example, there might be a tongue-in-cheek meaning; beneath it, something deeper.  

ISABEL ELENA PÉREZ has lived in Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Havana, Cuba. In 2020 during the pandemic lockdown, she moved to Quilcene, having bought a 1950 Metro bus that is now her home and studio. When good weather invites her, Isabel goes outdoors to work beside an alder grove.  

“My paintings are inspired by simple subjects and themes, such as nature, heartache, flowers, old photos, memories and folk art,” she writes. “I am inspired a lot by my times spent in warm places, and the colder it is up here, the warmer I tend to make my paintings … I like to use a lot of intense, bright colors and reflective gold, as a way to create light and radiance.”

Isabel’s ethnicity — Lebanese, Armenian and Cuban — also comes through; she uses her art to explore those aspects of herself. In her Lush Language works, she uses symbols to convey things that are hard to convey in words.  

CLAIRE RAGLAND is a queer mixed-media artist who lives in Port Townsend; she recently relocated from New Orleans, her home for the past decade. She was first introduced to printmaking as a volunteer member at the New Orleans Community Printshop, which led her to pursue her Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking at the University of New Orleans.

Claire fell in love with aquatint etching, and continued making screen prints, a technique she incorporated into her large-scale fabric pieces. In Port Townsend, she is also exploring an interest in ceramics, and creating colorful, highly decorated hand-built vessels and wall hangings. Yet other pursuits: Claire works as a tattoo artist, and is in the process of co-creating a community print shop here in Port Townsend, where she is excited about sharing her passion for printmaking, while creating an accessible community space for learning and creating.

TININHA SILVA of Port Townsend is an artist who seeks to make special things out of ordinary materials. Her work often evokes imaginary undersea life forms: bright anemones, clustered barnacles, coral reefs and stones carried by the tide. A native of Recife, Brazil, she also re-creates scenes of ecological harmony.

“My ever-evolving creative process is one that moves me closer to my inner voice. Respecting and exercising my intuition,” Tininha writes. She weaves on an unconventional loom made of chicken wire, and uses raffia, a natural fiber found in basketry, as her core material.

Creating her art is a meditative and calming process, Tininha finds. She hopes her Lush Language art inspires people to pause, think, and peruse the woven filaments, as well as the spaces between.