An artist’s legacy is often left in the hands of those they leave behind. Larry Hagethorn, who taught both math and machine tech at Grays Harbor College for more than 20 years, left a lot for his wife Dolores to go through. A large studio big enough to house a 37-foot-long boat with room to store and create art was full of his work when he passed away in 2009.
Many of Hagethorn’s pieces, ranging from large paintings to small wood carvings are on display at the Six Rivers Gallery in Hoquiam, run by the Harbor Art Guild, until Feb. 16. A reception on Jan. 25 from 1 to 5 p.m. features food, wine and other beverages to enjoy while admiring a local artist’s legacy.
This is the second time Hagethorn’s work has been featured at Six Rivers Gallery. The Guild is a Grays Harbor organization dedicated to curating and showcasing local artists and their work.
Lee Staley, who curated the first and current Hagethorn show, came across the art while still in his Hoquiam antique store. The daughter of Dolores Hagethorn’s neighbor encouraged Staley to reach out. He said he was blown away by the quality of work he came across.
“I’m so glad I went out and followed up on that tip,” he said. “He was an unknown, but an amazing artist and I’m glad to be part of celebrating his work.”
Before the first retrospective show, Dolores spent months organizing and cleaning up the piles of work her husband left behind. Staley also began to help and chose what went up at the gallery both times. The time spent admiring the work made him feel like he had long conversations with the artist himself.
“I feel like I know him just from going through his artwork” he said with a smile. “I said this to Gary Lennon who agreed and said ‘I just feel like I’ve experienced him through his artwork’ and that’s so true.”
This show may be the last the public will get to see of a large collection of Hagethorn’s work. Although not everything is for sale, there are items with price tags, including original sketches by Hagethorn. His other work includes different kinds of paintings, wood carvings, sculptures, pottery and metal work.
Even though they were married almost 50 years, Dolores does not know all of the stories or meanings behind her husband’s work and she hopes the community can return again to take home or simply enjoy the art. She said she continues to do so. “Some of it I love, and some of it I don’t like, but I like it on the wall,” she said.
Her favorite piece is a large painting of a woman holding a baby. She said her husband painted that in honor of his mother. It is a piece she wasn’t originally going to put up for sale and will only let it go for the $30,000 price tag.
The wood carvings were all done with paring knives. Dolores said she always kept these sharp knives for cooking and would often lose them to Larry, who found them more useful than woodcarving tools. With a stern expression she tells the story of hiding a paring knife from him, but the memory of it eventually finding its way into the studio makes her break into laughter.
Her many memories of her husband are all rooted in this very reaction.
“He helped me raise four children. He was a wonderful stepfather and we had a lot of fun,” she said.
The gift shop at the Six Rivers Gallery, which carries handmade items by guild members, will also be open during the reception and during normal gallery hours.
Alexandra Kocik: 360-537-3928 or firstname.lastname@example.org and @DW_AKocik on Twitter