‘Art Cubed’ evolves from squares to another dimension

Sculptural work is the focus of this year's art-auction fundraiser for the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg

The title of the latest exhibit at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg is misleading, but there’s an explanation why Art Cubed contains little resembling so much as a single square other than the stands displaying the art itself.

For the past eight years, the center’s annual art-auction fundraiser has offered a collection of 12-by-12-inch paintings donated by area artists. This year, the center is shaking things up.

The three-dimensional art works in the "Art Cubed" show at the Chehalem Cultural Center will be auctioned off Sept. 7.
The three-dimensional art works in the “Art Cubed” show at the Chehalem Cultural Center will be auctioned off Sept. 7 in an invitation-only fundraiser for the center. Photo by: David Bates

“I decided we should take the art into the third dimension and focus on sculptural pieces instead of flat work,” said Carissa Smith-Burkett, the center’s curator and arts program manager. “This is to diversify the type of work that is being auctioned off, but also to reach different artists who have not had an opportunity to donate in the past.”

Hence, Art Squared became Art Cubed.

Carissa Smith-Burkett's rice-paper construction evokes coral, sea creatures, or clouds -- or perhaps all three. Photo by: David Bates
Carissa Smith-Burkett’s untitled rice-paper construction evokes coral, sea creatures, or clouds — or perhaps all three. Photo by: David Bates

It’s an interesting collection that features some familiar names and a few I’ve not seen. The pieces, which consist mostly of sculpture but include jewelry, furniture, and a book, will fill the Central Gallery until Sept. 7, when the privately organized, invitation-only fundraiser takes place.

One of the most interesting pieces is by Smith-Burkett herself. It’s a beautiful blossoming of white, meticulously coiled fabric lit from inside that looks like it might have wandered out of the Biological Dissonance exhibit (which ends Aug. 30) in the main gallery down the hall. The vibe is definitely organic, which Smith-Burkett said frequently happens with her work, like maybe a new species of jellyfish. Or, as she puts it, “a cross-section of underwater coral, sea creatures, or clouds.”

“It’s a pretty simple process of tearing and rolling and gluing rice paper, but it is also pretty time-consuming,” said Smith-Burkett, who added that she loved working with rice paper because it’s very fibrous. She does not use scissors, opting instead to tear it so the edges have a rough look. She topped the piece off by painting gold on a few strips.

This mask by Tony Fuemmeler is included in the "Art Cubed" show. A November exhibition at the Chehalem Cultural Center will feature Fuemmeler's work.
This mask by Tony Fuemmeler is included in the “Art Cubed” show. A November exhibition at the Chehalem Cultural Center will feature Fuemmeler’s work. Photo by: David Bates

All the featured artists have some connection with the center; they’ve shown there or taught, or perhaps enrolled in one of the center’s many classes. At the “entrance” to the show is an interesting cardboard piece resembling woven eggs by Ann Weber, who was the first artist to exhibit at the center when it opened in 2010.

Other exhibiting artists include Veronica Bartlett, Nana Goto Bellerud, Tony Fuemmeler, Cindy Hoskisson, Don Hoskisson, Alicia Nilo, Adele O’Neal, Scott Parrish, Renee Powell, Joe Robinson, Teresa Shelton, Bradley Speer, Don Sprague, Mark Terry, Linda Workman-Morelli, and Marilyn Worrix.

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON in Yamhill County? Big news for theater fans: Gallery Theater in McMinnville on Saturday unveiled its 2020 season. It begins on the main stage in February with a splash of crazy: Michael Frayn’s comedy classic Noises Off. That’s followed by Proof in March, Man of La Mancha in May, Steel Magnolias in July, Mamma Mia! in September, the one-man show Novecento in October (performed by Lance Nuttman, who has played the part before), and concluding with Anne of Green Gables in November and December. Currently, Newsies: The Broadway Musical, is in rehearsals for a Sept. 6 opening. Tickets available here.

FINALLY, TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO GET TICKETS for the Walnut City Music Festival, a two-day gathering of great bands in McMinnville’s Lower City Park. Next week in this space, you’ll meet one of them.

ARTS JOURNAL: We visited Ashland this month and introduced our 10-year-old to his first play there: Alice in Wonderland, which is actually an amalgamation of that Lewis Carroll classic plus Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. We also caught OSF veteran Danforth Comins (who does an astonishing and hilarious Mad Hatter) outside afterward for a quick chat before he headed home to eat and (hopefully) rest before suiting up as Macbeth that night. So talented on stage, so gracious in person.

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This story is supported in part by a grant from the Yamhill County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Cultural Trust, and Oregon Community Foundation.

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