Works of two artists featured at SAM in Dunsmuir

Tim Holt
Marlis Jermutus with her “Gravity #25,” to her right, during the opening of the "Abstractions" exhibit at Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. The piece is one of a series of works she created by applying paint to a section of canvas, then tilting it at various angles so the paint flows this way and that and assumes a variety of shapes.

The two artists, Marlis Jermutus and Todd Freidlander, had been living across Lake Shastina from each other for quite awhile, but hadn’t met until they bumped into each other at a winter solstice party in Mount Shasta. Ten years after that first meeting, the two friends and fellow artists are finally getting around to a joint showing of their work, in Dunsmuir.

Their show, “Abstractions,” fills two galleries at the Siskiyou Arts Museum. Part of their works are on display through March 3 in the museum’s smaller gallery. The rest of the show will be up through April 7 in the museum’s larger gallery.

The usual mix of friends and family, fellow artists, and south county art aficionados, as well as a couple of tourists from New Zealand who happened to be in town, attended the show’s opening Saturday.

Soothing background music for the event was provided, via CD, by Jermutus herself, who plays an exotic East Indian stringed instrument with a trio that specializes in what she calls “meditation music.”

The mellow music contrasted with a dazzling display of colors from both artists, and a variety of styles, especially from Friedlander. His propensity to experiment with different forms was evident in works that included artistically and digitally enhanced photography and abstract art.

Jermutus’ most striking works, spilling over three walls in the large gallery, are what she calls her “gravity” series. To create them, she’s used a vigorous, physical approach that involves applying paint to a section of the canvas and then tilting it at various angles so the paint flows this way and that, assuming a variety of shapes on the canvas.

As they looked at those free-form paintings, opening night folks were seeing all sorts of objects: waves, primordial sea creatures, clouds and body parts. It all depended on one’s imagination, and, possibly in some cases, the amount of wine imbibed.

One of Friedlander’s admirers, Kathleen Heller of Mount Shasta, was on hand to view what she calls his “approachable” art. She also calls it “affordable” because he takes payments. Heller has acquired a number of his works on the installment plan, including what she describes as a “triangular lotus” and an “angel sprite.”

Jermutus is a spry 76 years old and was born in Germany. Friedlander is 70 and hails originally from Washington, D.C. Both have lived in the south county for nearly two decades.

The Siskiyou Arts Museum is at 5824 Dunsmuir Ave. It’s open each week Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Contact the museum at 235-4711 or go to