LEFT: Rhea Giffin,
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Quite a few galleries have end-of-year exhibitions, including Tinman Artworks in the Garland District, Spokane, and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho's The Art Spirit Gallery. Often this is a way to summarize an exhibition year or feature works in a slightly different format.

For Tinman, the annual exhibition often includes the "regulars" and newcomers. Familiar names like Harold Balazs, George Flett and

Some standouts include Rhea Giffin, who had a show (along with Virgina Carter, whose whimsical ceramics are well-matched to Giffin's pieces) at the Tinman earlier this fall but is new to the end-of-year exhibition. Giffin is one of my favorite 3D artists whose work is easily some of the best in papier mache, an underrated art form.

Other new artists include John Blessent (beautifully crafted metal jewelry) and E.L. Stewart (whose paintings are really growing on me since I saw her Dorothy in the Trees at Tinman's Ozvitational exhibit).

Sheila Evans is exhibiting at both Tinman and The Art Spirit with pastels (SEE IMAGE, RIGHT) that are just lovely. Often a painter is distinguished by his/her handling of the medium, specifically the ability to render light, lightness and color in a way that is beyond merely believable. Evans does that. Lovely.

Another artist included in both exhibitions is Mel McCuddin, whose work I don't mind admitting I deeply covet. It's figurative. It's got a bit of an edge to it. Little bits of surrealism. Amazing color. I could look at his paintings for a long time.

Elsewhere at The Art Spirit Gallery, which was packed this past Friday for the opening, artist Glenn Grishkoff showed a series of new brushes that delighted viewers with Glenn's characteristic off-beat humor. Michael Horswill is doing these mask-like wall pieces that incorporate some of his former object assemblage, really fascinating.

Other artists you'll want to be sure and see: Frank Boyden (SEE IMAGE, LEFT), Victoria Brace (her paintings are just getting better and better), Gina Freuen (ceramics with quite a bit of new stuff), Claudia Pettis (odd yet charming paintings of sheep), and Allen and Mary Dee Dodge (whose work I like but not love, yet their latest enamel and metal work shows Balazs' collaborative influence and is a fresh interpretation of the Dodge's vibrant color work).

Thirty-four artists total at Art Spirit and every inch of space carefully and purposefully used. Hats off (as usual) to Steve Gibbs for a diverse exhibit that is able to target specific markets without coming across as schlocky and never loses site of the art in artful display.