Life in the Aleutians
Earth, Fire, Water and Wind
First Aleutian Invitational Art Show
Karel Machalek was born outside of Brno, the 2nd largest city in what is now the Czech Republic, on September 3, 1958, the last in a family of four brothers, he graduated from a five-year program in Metal Trade School in Brno, where he first began to experiment with metal art projects. Soon after graduation, in 1979, Karel and brothers Dalibor and Peter escaped from then Communist Czechoslovakia, to live briefly in Paris, with its stimulating art and music scene. Six months later, Karel moved to Los Angeles and was employed by a tool-making company. For the next six years, he enjoyed Southern California, immersed himself in photography, and began to think more about metal art.
In 1985, Dalibor and Petr persuaded Karel to join them in Unalaska. He worked as a foreman for Magone Marine, a local marine repair and salvage company, for the next five years and, together with Sharon O’Malley, fathered daughters Mika and Kaia, who now attend college in Oregon. In 1990, Karel opened his own business, Alpha Welding and Boat Repair, and once again, began to work on metal art project. In 1994, Marie Stehlik, a Czech friend he had met in California in 1984, moved to Unalaska, and two years later, Karel and Marie were married.
Sarah Brewer originally hails from Salcha, Alaska, located in the Interior. She has been a resident of Unalaska for almost five years. Although formally educated in the Performing Arts, Sarah has been exploring oil painting in Unalaska for the past few years with Shirley Bucher at the Unalaska Senior Center. Sarah attributes the inspiration for her artwork from the constantly changing, unpredictable, sometimes volatile but always beautiful scenery of the Aleutians, and the spirit and energy she feels while
Laresa Syverson was raised in Unalaska, Alaska, and graduated from Unalaska High School in 2000. Since early age, Laresa immersed herself in introducing art into all aspects of her life. One of the first projects she undertook to pursue her creativity was an agreement with her science teacher during the salmon hatchery class to produce, along with other requirements of the class, a mural for the hatchery building, documenting the life cycle of the salmon. During the school years she participated in each of the annual Unalaska High School Art Shows, including two solo exhibits required of the Advanced Art class students. She was fully responsible for the shows, from the creation of the artworks, to the installations of the show, the advertising, and the presentation. After graduation, she continued her education and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At the Institute she studied drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, and multi-media/sculpture. Two of her pieces were selected
Alena Hope Syverson is an Unangan artist and a long time resident of Unalaska. Her primary medium is acrylic painting, but she also works with metal, sculpture, pastel, colored pencil, printmaking, Aleut basket weaving, and watercolor. Her sense of place and her identity feed into her artwork and her subject matter varies as much as the world she lives in. Alena attended and graduated from Unalaska City High School, and went on to study at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, where she majored in Art with a minor in Anthropology. Alena is currently living in Unalaska, and is the granddaughter of well known Unangan sculptor Gertrude Svarny, who serves as a role model and creative motivator for her. Since 1996 Alena Hope Syverson has participated in juried shows as a high school and college student , and has won several “Best in Shows.” She is a regular participant in the Community Art Shows, and her art is avidly collected by the residents of Unalaska.
Burke Mees is an artist and accomplished instructor of almost seventy seaplane students. He currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and has been flying seaplanes since 1991. His book, Notes of a Seaplane Instructor presents of all the tips, techniques and insights necessary for flying seaplane.
Kristine King studied fine art at Texas A&M University, Commerce where she received a BA in interdisciplinary studies with an Elementary Art specialization in 1992. After graduation she began to travel, frequenting museums and galleries in Paris, Buenas Aires, Quito, London, Santiago, Copenhagen, Oslo, Rome, Florence, La Paz, San Jose, Mexico City and more. Her influences draw from a variety academic and cultural experiences.
While working on her MA in Art History from the University of Arizona she derived a strong association with the large format industrial art of the WPA. The idea that the artist's hand could
Mary Salakie Downs was born and raised in Indian Country. She had no formal art education until the age of 44. During the process of receiving a degree in education she collided with Katherine Swartz, an instructor for the art methods class. This woman opened up a new world, one where the belief “art is an expression of being human” was experienced. It is a different way in which we can express ourselves without words. With that in mind, Mary then had to declare a minor, so she chose art. Another important mentor came with Karla Freeman. Her style of teaching painting and drawing was to dig deep, to let loose and experiment. These people were all a part of
exploring the island, both underwater as a scuba diver and above ground. She has participated in past Community Art Shows, and her work has also been featured at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Theatre Gallery at the College Benefit Performance of The Vagina Monologues. She appreciates the patience that oil has taught her, and has also dabbled in acrylic and found object mixed media art. She is constantly inspired by the many talented artists found here in Unalaska.
for an art show at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in downtown Santa Fe. Returning to Alaska to be in closer contact with one of her mentors, her grandmother, artist Gertrude Svarny, Laresa found it easier to develop her style of painting, which she attributed to being in her native land, with other Alaskan artists to motivate her. She has participated in numerous Community Art Shows in Unalaska.
be removed from a work and the meaning communicated conceptually was further fueled by her study of Robert Rauschenberg's Combines and found art works. She is happy that Marcel Duchamp declared war on the Academy and liberated artists of all inspirations to create and declare their own art. She has and will continue to take full advantage of his pioneering.
The Alaska connection for Kristine began in 1992 when she worked at a salmon cannery on Kodiak Island. Fish, water, and other island themes began to appear in her watercolor and acrylic paintings. Her move to Unalaska in 2002 marks another stylistic shift. Taking cues from the environment around her, Kristine's work displays a gradual shift away from bright colors and suggested figural forms to simple lines and colors that evoke individual mood and interpretation.
Although her artistic production has slowed over the past four year she has begun collecting objects that will start a series of works that are essentially "environmental combines". With Unalaska's landscape and rhythms as a backdrop and point of departure, she hopes to create works that bring the outside, inside.
a different path, one leading into a broader understanding of the world.With each new piece of art, Mary begins to see how people, places, experiences influence the outcome. In her mind there comes a realization that a life full of encounters with a variety of people, spaces and ideas can have endless possibilities in the art world.
Mary now teaches in the elementary school, throughout the school year she integrates art into as many subjects as possible. She wants all of her students to believe that inside of them is an “artist in residence.”
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Holy Ascension ,
Octopus Ink, 2010
oil painting, 2011
Agamgik, photograph, 2010
Pot and Kettle, photograph, 2010
Chasing the Sun, acrylic, 2010
Unalaska Whites, acrylic on wood, 2010
Dead Volcano, mixed media, 2010