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Archer Gallery Hosts In-Person Exhibition “Wallowing”

“Wallowing” exhibit by Carissa Potter-Carlson and Kate Pruitt. (Chris Nochez/The Indy)

Artists Carissa Potter-Carlson and Kate Pruitt bring their exhibition, “Wallowing,” a collection of paintings and sculptures to Clark College for viewing from April 19 to May 13. 

Archer Gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to anyone that completes a health screening prior to visiting. Masks are encouraged but not required and no social distancing is necessary.  

The gallery space conveys the intended tone of the show, the walls painted in various shades of brown from floor to ceiling. An echo sounds as visitors make their way through the gallery, admiring each piece. 

Michelle Ramin, the director of Archer Gallery, wanted to create a space that would immerse guests in the experience. 

Ramin credits much of the work to gallery staff. One staff member, Melissa Finch, said she took time to appreciate the message of the show. To Finch, the space eventually became “sweet and heartfelt.” 

“I think visitors to ‘Wallowing’ can expect to feel something viscerally when they experience the work,” said Ramin. “If you spend enough time slowly walking through the space and really observing the work, I think it really starts to pull deep feelings to the surface.”

Potter-Carlson chose the brown hues in her paintings as she feels they relate to the dirt and muddiness of life. 

“My intentions were to offer the opportunity to just sit with the sadness. And not try to change it,” Potter-Carlson said. “And let people know they were not alone.” 

Named one of the “50 Most Inspiring People of the Year” by AdAge and “24 People Making the World a Better Place” by Cosmopolitan in 2021, Potter-Carlson holds hope for 2022 and beyond, as Penguin Publishing is working with her on her third book, “How to Heal from Heartbreak.”

With papier-mâché sculptures hanging from the gallery ceiling, Pruitt’s work reaches out to visitors, literally and figuratively. Large figures are placed intricately along the floor of the gallery, creating a maze for visitors to explore their emotions. 

Pruitt worked on ceramics and sculpture with materials from clay to skin. Her creativity helped earn her the Jay DeFeo Prize, which is awarded to students graduating with a Master’s in Fine Arts, for her thesis exhibition, “Touch Language.” Several venues throughout the San Francisco Bay area have exhibited her work, including the Royal Nonesuch Gallery. 

Finch strolled through the exhibit, exploring each painting and sculpture slowly. She paused at a painting of a figure holding a cat. “My cats have always provided me the most comfort,” she said. 

Archer Gallery is hosting a virtual workshop over Zoom on May 12 from noon to 1 p.m. for anyone wishing to attend. Visit the Archer Gallery page, near the bottom, to find the link.

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