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The art of “Fishing Season” is on: Paul Henry’s Art Gallery, the spot

Mark Anderson's "Fish-Eye View" in the "Fishing Season" exhibit at Paul Henry's Art Gallery.
Credit: Paul Henry's Art Gallery

HAMMOND, Ind. — Kerri Mommer thinks her dad, Rol, might have seen gyotaku during his Army days in Tokyo.

Rol Mommer had one of the most striking pieces of artwork in the ‘‘Fishing Season’’ exhibit at Paul Henry’s Art Gallery, 416 Sibley. His ‘‘Buffalo’’ involved gyotaku, the traditional Japanese technique of printing fish.

On opening night Aug. 11, Crown Point High School art teacher Lyndsey Harris explained the basics. It involves inking the fish, then rubbing it on paper.

‘‘I do it with the kids, but I do it with silicone models,’’ Harris said.

‘‘Buffalo’’ (titled for the fish, not the bison) was good enough to be featured on the exhibit flyer. It was truly a multimedia artwork.

‘‘He actually caught the fish,’’ said Kerri, who also was exhibiting.

Few fishermen target buffalo, a rough fish.

‘‘Oh, it was an accident,’’ she said. ‘‘He likes going for walleye and crappie.’’

That befits a man who lives near the Twin Cities, though he had exhibited at Paul Henry’s before.

To do ‘‘Buffalo,’’ Mommer made the contact print, then photographed it, printed it out and touched it up. He destroyed the negative and the original print. The only piece of the artwork is the one in the show.

Rol Mommer’s “Buffalo” is one highlight of “Fishing Season” at Paul Henry’s Art Gallery.<br>Credit: Dale Bowman
Rol Mommer’s “Buffalo” is one highlight of “Fishing Season” at Paul Henry’s Art Gallery.
Credit: Dale Bowman

While ‘‘Buffalo’’ was one highlight of ‘‘Fishing Season,’’ the most professionally accomplished was ‘‘Fish-Eye View,’’ a stylized view of a rainbow trout by full-time artist Mark Anderson. He’s not a fisherman in any sense, but he knows art.

‘‘He finally did it Wednesday [two days before the opening],’’ owner David Mueller said. ‘‘He had a project with New York City that tied him up for weeks.’’

Anderson did ‘‘Fish-Eye View’’ off a photo splitting air and water. He used different brushstrokes to delineate the line between water and sky.

The most realistic fishing artwork was Joe Ladendorf’s ‘‘Walleye,’’ a close-up of a walleye about to be caught, or ‘‘Red Ears,’’ a visually tight redear.

I’ve covered exhibits by Mike Lewandowski, so I easily spotted his work, including the whimsical ‘‘Do You Want Fries With That?’’ It featured a burger in the mouth of a fish mount.

Realist Judi Tussey was quite happy when her little white fish piece sold while we talked.

‘‘I want people to see what I see: That is a fish,’’ she said.

On the surreal side, there’s Rick Therrio. His fish art is to fish what the Picasso downtown is to portraits. I really liked his ‘‘Sumerian Fish.’’

‘‘In this business, you never know what people will like,’’ Mueller said.

I’ve long thought Paul Henry’s, a converted hardware store, was the right place for such an exhibit.

‘‘I did this backward,’’ Mueller said. ‘‘Normally, you come up with an idea for a show, then you make a call for art. This one, I didn’t do that. I pursued artists who set foot in here and had art in the last several months.’’

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Joe Ladendorf’s “Walleye” is one of the truest fisherman’s pieces of art in “Fishing Season” at Paul Henry’s Art Gallery.<br>Credit: Dale Bowman
Joe Ladendorf’s “Walleye” is one of the truest fisherman’s pieces of art in “Fishing Season” at Paul Henry’s Art Gallery.
Credit: Dale Bowman