KALA@HIPFiSHmonthly Presents

Agnes Field
Agnes Field, repurposed Fort George Beer Cans

2nd Saturday Art Walk
Agnes Field • K.A Hughes • Brenda Harper

KALA@HIPFISHMONTHLY PRESENTS three local artists in conjunction with Astoria 2nd Saturday Art Walk, Saturday, August 13, 5pm – 9pm.  Paintings and Mixed Media by Rebecca Rubens, aka Agnes Field,  K. A. Hughes – Paintings on Mixed Media  and Brenda Harper – Video Installation. The ground floor space of the HIPFiSH production office, housed in the beautifully preserved storefront at 1017 Marine Drive, a part of the historic Occident Building,  joyfully hosts it’s second exhibit.

Visual Arts Curator of the space is Rebecca Rubens – who often signs her paintings  and writes under the non de plume, Agnes Field, a tribute to her deceased grandmother, a Quinalt Indian Tribes member. KALA this month was also a stop on the first Astoria Artist Summer Studio Tours, hosting the studio work of Rubens and Hughes. The two artist exhibits will continue through August.

Rebecca Rubens is a native Astorian who graduated from the New York University graduate art program and has lived and shown art in Portland (Chambers & Pullium Deffenbaugh), New York and Europe.  She studied art at Pacific Northwest College of Art, the School of Visual Arts in New York, and frescos and art history at SACI in Florence and Venice, Italy.  Her studio is in the Lewis & Clark area on Shweeash Bamboo Farm.  She is the Founder of Astoria Visual Arts, a non-profit arts organization, and has been affiliated with numerous non-profit arts projects in the region throughout the years.

K.A. Hughes, Royal Illumination
K.A. Hughes, Royal Illumination

The AVA Open Studio Show (July 30-31) honored Ruben’s father’s 85th birthday on July 30th.  Nemo, an elder in the Chinook Tribe belongs to an era straddled between lost tradition and new found meaning in the practice of forgotten culture.  Some of the work reflects the melding of tradition with contemporary issues–traditional iconography combined with recycled fragments of cans from Fort George Brewery, and reinterpretation of traditional practices, such as the large cedar panels found in native Long Houses.

The new paintings in the show are a continuation of work on “fresco-like” panels using mixed media and collage.  Employing a light touch over layered paint and textural material, hopefully  achieves the look of aged frescos with more airy freshness.

K.A. Hughes, having studied art and graphic design, still considers herself a self-taught painter/artist. Says Hughes, “‘ART’ in all its variant forms presides over my life; painting or two-dimensional art has been a part of my life for 25+ years — my favorite genres being Art Brut, Visionary Art and a little Pop Art thrown in for good measure.

Hughes’ recent collection of paintings on canvas and board portray nuance of fantasy. Rich royal color and shimmer are playfully majestic, emotive, as shapes and images lead to the unknown. The crown, a symbol of royalty and reverence throughout millennia appears in each work as a part of what the artist herself reveres – in this case, the feline.  Hughes’ work appears in Hipfish on a monthly basis as the illustrated mascot, named Frowny Cat, in Elia Seely’s column Foodlove.

Unique to the scene on the coast, artist Brenda Harper offers Video Installation.  Harper has exhibited work at PICA, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Astoria Visual Arts gallery, and the 12 x 16 gallery in Portland, Oregon.

Brenda Harper
Brenda Harper, "Look in the Air" video still

While sun is a hopeful for the Saturday Artwalk, and multi-celebrations throughout the city of Astoria, Harpers installation will be isolated in a viewing station, replete with couch and blackout curtains. Three videos run in a loop, the approximate length of 10 minutes, each capturing a salient feature that compels the viewer to watch again. Harper will also have stills available for sale.

‘Look in the Air’ is a slightly confusing and faux conversation and portrayal of office speculations. Next, is ‘Sculpture Yard’, a recording of an industrial waterfront in Portland, Ore; with it’s denseness of water, rock, and exploration of an empty and mysterious place on a late Sunday afternoon. Then is ‘Undiluted Bedmart’, set in a 7x 5 wooden and cement domestic structure, it shows the man who lives there as he completes a simple chore.

A vintage storefront space offers possibility. Artists have long gathered to these spaces in sections of cities that have become obsolete – such as New York’s SOHO district in the 60’s, of which by the 90’s had become overtly commercialized and condo-miniumized – leaving a lot of artists to head for Brooklyn. That was in a day, when the working class was just beginning to shine. Today, as we ponder the gap between the wealth of America’s corporate lords and the rest of the declining 99% of us,  it is a sort of forced reversed serfdom that may indeed save the farm. So just when you think you have finally thrown the baby out with the bath water, new inspiration takes you up in its arms. KALA, named for the Finnish word for fish, opens its doors to new vision.

Ruben’s as curator says this, “Coordinating art exhibits is a wonderful experience when you are able to work with an organization and individuals who support the vision, without too much control.  I always learn a great deal about the artist and the work, and consequently that informs all my experience about art.  Art is elusive, but all around us everyday, in ordinary experience and objects.  The artist filters a massive amount of sensory information and tells us about who we are, where we are, and where we might be going.  I am looking for those who see or feel the unexpected, occasionally something that is enchanted.  It could be an object, but often is an experience that is trapped in the moment waiting for extraordinary perspective to set it free.”
September Exhibition at KALA will feature Portland artists Cynthia Lahti and Justin L’Amie.

Cabell Tice + LION CO •
w/Morgan Laurence + Gatsby
Sunday, August 14, 8pm, Doors opens 7:30

Lion Co Band
Daniel, Cabell and Travis are LION CO

LOCAL INDIE-FOLK trio LION CO comes back to Astoria after a mini-tour of Northwest venues. The band marks the first music ensemble on the stage at KALA, inaugurating sonic proportions of the storefront space.  Cabell Tice and LION CO hail from the halls of Astoria High, where they first met and played together in band class. (circa 2009)

Frontman Tice, has been crafting his tunes since he was a kid in eighth grade. He gradually progressed to performing and then joining forces with his buds. Its refreshing to know that school band experiences in the hometown of Astoria fosters students inspired to make the connective leap into self-expression.

LION CO has a 6 song EP available on, recorded by local guitar wizard Manasseh Israel. The recording quality is good, and allows you to hear the passionate vocal quality that Cabell Tice can let flow.  As a youth Tice was listening to the Beatles, Beach Boys and Elvis, “in the car,” all master vocal stand-outs in the history of rock and pop, and inspiring him to probably sing along.

While the EP is TICE alone, the trio performs his tunes, and they are getting prepared to record a new set of tunes for a new EP.  “We’re playing music we love and have been fortunate enough to have toured quite a bit this year. We’d like to continue on the same path. Playing bigger stages with bigger bands, as we progress and grow, is a definite goal of ours too.”

A unique combination, sax in an indie-folk band. The band MORPHINE from the 90’s was more in the alt rock genre, but amazing sax lines, voice, string bass and drums created a minimalist sound that fully transported the songs.  Sax player Daniel Mathre does some doubling of melodies – he originally started on bass, but the group decided why waste a good sax player. Travis Dowell is on drums, percussion and glockenspiel (an instrument getting play in the chamber folk music scene). A great creative effort on LION CO’s part to incorporate and go for a diverse sound.

LION CO (pronounced just “KO” rather than company), is a band name derived from Tice’s first trip to Israel and a name given to him by his host family for his then long mane of hair, KFIR, which means Young Lion in Hebrew. When it came to naming the band says Tice, “I thought Lion Co was perfect. When I imagine young lions venturing out to new territory to start their own lives and “make their own name” so to speak, that’s something we can identify with. Travis, Dan and I are in a pretty transitional point in our lives. We’re in that stage where we are finding who we are as not only musicians, but human beings. In short, we see lions as adventurous creatures and we’d like to take a little bit of that adventure into our lives.”

A chance to take LION CO into your life, is coming up at KALA, plus a touring friend band from Albuquerque, NM in a new space in Astoria.