IDAHO FALLS – The Eastern Idaho Museum of Art is currently displaying an art collection spanning the entire careers of two local sisters.
“Sisters Retrospective” chronicles over sixty years of creative work by Gloria Miller Allen and Sherian Miller Lewis. The exhibition includes works of art created in multiple mediums, from sketches and paintings to sculptures and pillows. Through art, museum visitors get a sense of the life stories of Allen and Lewis.
“When we were kids, we did a lot of things together, artistically,” Allen told EastIdahoNews.com. “It’s something that has always existed. (Lewis) has lived most of his adult life in Nebraska. She moved here in 2007 and I’ve lived here since 1974 and we’ve had a few ‘Sister Shows’ in galleries. But it’s the biggest we’ve ever done.
Allen focuses primarily on watercolors and she applies her skills to all sorts of subjects. His paintings of boats and rock formations are highlights of the exhibit.
“Big rocks are what I’m known for,” Allen said. “Thirty years ago we took a boat trip on the Salmon River. During this trip, I was able to take pictures of rock walls and that’s about it. And I had the idea during this trip to paint rocks without sky. Some of them have plants but most of them are just rocks and that works very well for me because, firstly, I like the subject and, secondly, it’s a nice marriage between abstract drawing and realism.
Lewis has a wide range of artistic skills, which have served him well during his career as an art teacher. She used her sculpting abilities to create a sculpture of Neuschwanstein Castle in German. Made from potter’s clay, the castle weighs 180 pounds and was created through a suggestion by Lewis’s son.
“It was my son’s birthday and he said, ‘Hey mum, do you want to do a castle? We’re doing the Renaissance,’ Lewis said. ‘I said, ‘Very well.’ And I should have said, ‘Very good. Period.’ But I said “What castle should we do” and he chose Neuschwanstein. It took me about a year to research (the castle), do the drawings, scale it to where I wanted it. And it took about eight weeks to make it and another six weeks to dry it, but I’m really glad I did.
The sisters worked together on the batiques depicting giraffes and zebras. The process of creating batiques involved painting sheets of fabric with melted wax to cover areas the artist did not want to color, dyeing the fabric, and then removing the wax.
“We did the batiques in my basement because I have a concrete floor in my studio and Gloria has carpet in her studio and you don’t want to work with stain in that situation,” Lewis said. . “She did hers and I did mine. We just did them at the same time in the same place.
You can see these pieces and more through August 13 at the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho’s “Sisters Retrospective: Gloria Miller Allen and Sherian Miller Lewis” exhibit. Visit the museum’s website, Facebook or Instagram page for more information.