VISUAL ART

An artistic smorgasbord at Chehalem Cultural Center

The fall Art Harvest tour is canceled, but the work of more than 40 Yamhill County artists who usually participate is displayed in Newberg

This year’s Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County has, predictably, been shut down by COVID-19. Ordinarily, the October event runs two weekends and allows the public access to dozens of artists’ studios, but for obvious reasons (in many cases the studio is located in the artist’s home) that aspect of the tour will need to wait until 2021, at least.

The Parrish Gallery of the Chehalem Cultural Center is showing the work of more than 40 Yamhill County artists through Sept. 19. Photo by: David Bates
The Parrish Gallery of the Chehalem Cultural Center is showing the work of more than 40 Yamhill County artists through Sept. 19. Photo by: David Bates

However, in recent years, the Chehalem Cultural Center has piggybacked on the event, offering a pre-tour preview of participating artists’ work in the flagship Parrish Gallery, and mercifully that hasn’t changed. The exhibition, curated by the center’s director of arts programs, Carissa Burkett, opened earlier this month with work by more than 40 artists from McMinnville, Dayton, Newberg, Amity, Dundee, Carlton, and Yamhill.

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Home is where the art is

When the pandemic forced the owners of Brumfield Gallery to pick between two locations, they chose their hometown of Astoria

Three years ago, when Jane and Mike Brumfield decided to open an art gallery, they found their loyalties divided. Cannon Beach, where Jane Brumfield worked for the Cannon Beach Arts Association, is known for its art scene and seemed the obvious choice. But the pair had called Astoria home since 2015 and were drawn by its authentic feel. Cannon Beach won the coin toss, but the Brumfields couldn’t help noticing the growing energy in Oregon’s oldest city.  

Jane and Mike Brumfield closed thier gallery in Cannon Beach to concentrate on their gallery in their home town of Astoria
Jane and Mike Brumfield closed their gallery in Cannon Beach to concentrate on their gallery in their hometown of Astoria. Photo courtesy: Brumfield Gallery

“It was really tricky for us,” Jane Brumfield recalled. “Astoria has a slightly grittier edge, a more youthful vibe. Cannon Beach had such established galleries. We chose Cannon Beach over Astoria on that occasion. But there was always a bit of thought that we should have invested here in Astoria, where we live. The art scene is up and coming here.”

She added that Cannon Beach feels like a town based around tourism – although she does admire that. Astoria, on the other hand, has other industry. “It feels more like real life.”

So, they decided to open a second gallery in Astoria, where ships motor along the Columbia River and old Victorians color the hillside. It seemed the best of both worlds. Then came the pandemic and the shutdown of most businesses. And two galleries no longer seemed like such a smart idea.

The Brumfields closed the Cannon Beach shop, Image Gallery, but went ahead with plans for Astoria. Now the pair must navigate the world of social distancing and masking up. It’s no easy feat.

Brumfield Gallery opened in Astoria’s historic Occident Building just shy of a month ago, but every day seems to bring new questions, decisions, concerns.

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The Artists Series 4: Visual Artists

Ten more portraits in black and white by K.B. Dixon of Oregon artists who are helping to define what Portland and the state look like


TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY K.B. DIXON


This is the fourth installment of portraits in The Artist Series. The first two focused on Oregon writers. Part 3 and this installment, Part 4, focus on visual artists—the gifted, award-winning painters, sculptors, and photographers who have made invaluable contributions to the cultural life of this city and state, people whose legacies are destined to be part of our cultural history.

For an introductory look at their work, I refer you to their digital digs—their virtual ateliers.


STEPHEN HAYES: PAINTER


A “deft blending of representation and sheer abstraction underpins Hayes’s eminence as a supreme kind of painters’ painter in the Pacific Northwest.” – Sue Taylor, Art in America.

Examples of Hayes’s work can be found at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery and at https://www.stephenhayes.net

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Accounts to follow: Imagining the possible

Laura Weiler, Shanalee Hampton, and Laura Camila Medina's art will fill your Instagram feeds with hope for a better world

This is the fourth in a series of stories about outstanding Oregon-based artists to follow on Instagram. The series focuses on accounts that are regularly updated with engaging content and high-quality images that allow followers to enjoy artwork regardless of location. Curated by the artists themselves, Instagram accounts offer a relaxed opportunity to view completed and in-progress artwork and to get a glimpse into the artists’ ideas, process, and studio practices.

In 1983, artist Keith Haring wrote, “Our imagination is our greatest hope for survival.” Crucially, Haring speaks in the collective: our imagination, our hope. In the context of a global pandemic, a divisive election year, and an ongoing fight for social justice, imagination offers not just “hope for survival,” but a tool for visualizing and creating new futures. Together, the works of Laura Weiler, Laura Camila Medina, and Shanalee Hampton investigate relationships between past and present, suggest how the experiences and actions of individual relate to the community, and ask everyday people to consider the imaginary not as something opposed to reality, but rather as a reality that has not yet been brought into existence.

Laura Weiler, Yellow (2020). Collage. ‌‌Image‌ ‌courtesy‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌artist.‌ ‌Instagram‌ ‌account:‌ ‌‌@cutandplaced

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A program finds its resolution

The last class of OCAC's MFA in Craft exhibits thesis work at Upfor

By BRIANA MILLER

This past February, when studio visits were still viable, I spent several hours with the last class of students to graduate from the Oregon College of Art and Craft’s MFA in Craft program. Seeing their work, I was impressed by their deeply centered, introspective thesis projects, all very different, but with a common thread of self-reflection. I wrote in a note that it was quiet work for unquiet times, and I was looking forward to what I anticipated would be a coherent, cohesive exhibition of their work at Upfor in April. Then, in March, galleries around Portland closed due to COVID-19 and the thesis exhibition was cancelled. At the end of May, Upfor itself closed, as its owner, Theo LeGuin, had been planning since early this year.

It was not the culmination that Karl Burkheimer, the program chair, had hoped for for his students. “This ending was such not an ending and can be equated to reading a good book and not wanting to get to the end or watching a good movie and not wanting it to be over,” he said when we spoke in May.

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Michael A. Gibbons, 1943-2020

The longtime Oregon artist, who helped spark the creation of Toledo's arts colony, has a show at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg

Longtime Oregon artist Michael A. Gibbons died July 2 at his home in Toledo, from complications following a stroke in 2016. He was 76. Born in Portland, he moved to the Oregon Coast when he was 25 and was instrumental in the establishment of Toledo as something of an artists’ colony, with several studios and galleries and the annual Labor Day Art Walk.

According to his online obituary, Gibbons was inspired as an art student by the landscape paintings of the 19th century French artist Corot. “I had to paint things that struck people like that,” the obituary quotes him as saying in a 2014 newspaper interview. “I saw dawn, that silvery morning light and soft colors. They weren’t garish. It was like looking at a prayer.”

Michael A. Gibbons and his wife, Judith “Judy” Mortenson, in an undated photo via Bateman Funeral Home.

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Accounts to follow: Documenting protest and celebrating community

Instagram accounts of Oregon photographers who are documenting current protests and celebrating Black experience

This is the third  in a series of stories about outstanding Oregon-based artists to follow on Instagram. The series focuses on accounts that are regularly updated with high-quality images that allow followers to engage with the content regardless of location. Curated by the artists themselves, Instagram accounts offer the opportunity to view completed and in-progress artwork and to get a glimpse into the artists’ ideas, process, and studio practices.

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“We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” This is just one of the many rallying points of Black Lives Matter, “a Black-centered political will and movement building project” that Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi founded in 2013. Current protests in support of Black Lives Matter have been going strong for a month, their momentum and visibility strengthening and expanding existing anti-racist critiques of many facets of society. In visual art, this often takes the form of challenging the power structures of art museums and galleries, arts publications, and the art departments of educational institutions.

Police violence ignited the current wave of protests, but more broadly, Black Lives Matter aims to dismantle all forms of white supremacy and anti-Blackness.  It is about transforming society, including “creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy.” The Instagram accounts of Portland photographers Saman Haaji, Joseph Blake, and Mariah Harris are three spaces where the ideals of Black Lives Matter, the specificity of local protests, and the rich breadth of Black creativity converge.

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