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Gallery celebrates in 'adult' style

When Judy Hanson Howard first came to Ashland in 1966, — she and her friend Marilyn Briggs operated a gallery during the Oregon — Shakespeare Festival "wherever they could find room," mostly in empty — apartments above store spaces.

Next month her current gallery, Hanson Howard Gallery, — 82 N. Main, will have been open 25 years. In honor of the anniversary — she is holding an "Adults Only" exhibit; a collection of work from artists — with whom she has worked from the beginning.

"It is called "Adults Only" because we are all pretty — much seniors now," laughed Howard.

The exhibit features mainly local artists, many emeriti — of art instruction, known locally and internationally.

Howard's sunlit gallery is a happy rush of visiting artists — and friends, stopping by to talk about their latest work or admire a newly — arrived piece.

From here Howard has had the pleasure of watching her — friends evolve.

Phyllis Yes, now an art professor at Lewis and Clark College — in Portland has shown regularly at the gallery over the years, and is — nationally known for her unique exploration of gender issues through art; — works that included the like of lace-covered pistols and Porsches.

More recently, Yes started disguising the names of well-known — men in painted flower bouquets dedicated to female 20th Century figures. — Her tribute to Susan B. Anthony is displayed behind the gallery desk, — the name Galileo weaved through the flowers.

"Now men's names are non-existent," said Howard, pointing — to "For Margaret Sanger," a recent simple bouquet, sans masculine inference. —

The artists have explored new media over the years; Thomas — Knudsen is a retired sculpture professor, but his computer-generated art — is on display.

Lyle Matoush taught printmaking at Southern Oregon University — for about 30 years before retiring. In 1998 he switched media and started — working with pastels; the abstract work eventually became pastels of glass — reflections.

"Printmaking is very physical, I'm an old man, it's hard — to lift those 40 lbs," he explained.

Two of Matoush's pieces, Spring Green from his "Window — Dressings" series and "Lawn Party from Light, Shadows, and Reflections" — are on display.

When called for the interview, Matoush was at work in — his studio working on another addition to "Lights, Shadows, and Reflections;" — a photograph of a Toyota, one pickup reflected on another.

Howard's old friend Marilyn Briggs has two oil paintings — on display, "Ebullient" and "Ecstatic."

"I have been a continuous artist, but I haven't oil painted — in 19 years. This was my stimulus to get going again." Briggs said, adding — that she has canvases stretched out and ready for work.

A member of the city's planning commission, Briggs has — been busy since the days when she and Howard were looking for summer gallery — space. Briggs said the paintings names reflect her joy at having found — the medium again.

"These are serious artists and always have been, but over — the years their production level goes up and down," Howard said.