“Mélange” by Becky Frehse and Jane Kelsey-Mapel


If you’ve ever tried collaborating, you know how difficult an endeavor it can be. The mental and emotional push and pull of the concept and aesthetic, how the labor is shared and presence of voice divvied– all factors that can strain the process. And even if those hurdles are surmounted, the results of collaboration can have varying degrees of success: two artistic voices may merely share the same canvas where signature styles co-mingle but never fully integrate or build upon one another. Add to those inherent difficulties nearly 1,500 miles of geographical distance, and the odds for successful collaboration would seem to be stacked unfavorably.

But, by golly, Tacoma artist Becky Frehse and Phoenix artist Jane Kelsey-Mapel have the magic.

PracticalArt_Feb2015-01Frehse and Kelsey-Mapel’s collaboration is based on mutual respect and an enduring willingness to trust each other’s aesthetic judgment. Their mixed media works marry the art and craft of the doll maker, puppeteer, model maker and folk artist with the finesse of traditional fine art painters and sculptors. The resulting work is an exuberant mélange, playful yet poignant in its exploration of contemporary and ancient themes– often alluding to women’s social roles, the commotion of daily life and family, as well as the notion that women become more beautiful in later life.

The pair have been friends since their art school days together at Arizona State University, they endeavor to work together at each other’s studios to produce work that is experimental and that questions conventional expectations of traditional fine art and craft materials.  The use of reclaimed or repurposed materials is a metaphor for repurposing or reinventing oneself at various transitions points in life.

“Mélange”, a show of collaborative sculptural works, will be on display for the month of February with an artist reception on First Friday, February, 6th from 7-9pm. We hope you’ll join us!



Becky Frehse and Jane Kelsey-Mapel
Exhibition: February 1st-28th, 2015
Reception: First Friday February 6th, from 7-9 

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