The Artists Series 3: Visual Artists

Ten 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 third installment of portraits in The Artist Series. The first two focused on Oregon writers. This one focuses on visual artists—the gifted painters and sculptors who have made invaluable contributions to the character and culture of this city and state, people whose legacies are destined to be part of our cultural history.            

It would take pages to catalog the awards, commissions, and honors of these artists and color reproductions of their work to provide a full appreciation of their wizardry so I will simply refer you to their various perches in cyberspace—their virtual ateliers.


LEE KELLY: SCULPTOR



Kelly is one of the most revered artists in the Pacific Northwest. He is best known for his monumental public sculptures. These large pieces are “often animalistic, sometimes suggestive of calligraphy or Asian script, always poetic.” – Bob Hicks, ArtScatter.

Examples of Kelly’s work can be found at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery and at lee-kelly.net.

HENK PANDER: PAINTER


“It seems the purpose of my life has been to make paintings. Often things happen to me directly, or which indirectly move me, touch me, for one reason or another. When that happens and I can’t shake it or if it preoccupies me and I carry it around, I often paint it. The echo of my culture, the power of contemporary life in the US, my sense of history and memory are all motivating forces.” – Henk Pander, Huffington Post.

Examples of Pander’s work can be found at Henk Pander: Paintings.

LUCINDA PARKER: ABSTRACT PAINTER


“A Lucinda Parker painting is always on the move, gyrating slowly or swiftly, perpetually. Parker’s paintings are in fact bundles of energy, restrained and released; they are fields of force…. [T]he nature of these fields has changed dramatically over time.” – Roger Hull, Lucinda Parker: Force Fields.


Examples of Parker’s work can be found at the Russo Lee Gallery.

SAMANTHA WALL: PAINTER


“Race is a crucial to Wall’s work, but her drawings include aspects of something even more elemental. ‘In Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, he talks about the ‘air’ of an individual, and how you come across certain images, like, whatever it is that makes that person distinct is really captured in that photograph. That’s exactly the kind of images that I’m looking for,’ Wall says. These are the kind of images that are about understanding: understanding a person and experience, to whatever extent you can, and putting a face to the unknown.” – Jenna Lechner, Portland Mercury.


Examples of Wall’s work can be found at the Russo Lee Gallery and at samanthawall.com.

KATHERINE ACE: FIGURATIVE AND STILL-LIFE PAINTER


“The intersection of contraries fascinates me: ecstasy and agony; humor and tragedy; natural and constructed realities; experience and news.” – Katherine Ace, Artist Statement.


Examples of Ace’s work can be found at Froelick Gallery and at katherineace.com.

LAURA ROSS-PAUL: PAINTER


“Laura Ross-Paul is a Portland-based artist known for her flowing, ephemeral oil paintings. Her canvases depict lone figures in awe of nature, appearing precarious and vulnerable—hinting at the works of Casper David Friedrich or Claude Monet. The theme of the lone individual confronting the unknown is one inexorably tied to her personal story.” – Isaac Peterson, 1859.


Examples of Ross-Paul’s work can be found at Froelick Gallery and at lauraross-paul.com.

STEPHEN O’DONNELL: PAINTER


“As I continue to give definition to and refine my artistic focus—both visual and conceptual—I find that I’ve settled into a genre of painting that I hadn’t known to exist, or at least one that I didn’t know was distinct or that had an actual name. The portrait historic—literally a historicized portrait—is an artistic stylization in which a recognizable subject is depicted in historic or mythological guise.” – Stephen O’Donnell, Artist Statement.


Examples of O’Donnell’s work can be found at Froelick Gallery and at stephenodonnellartist.com.

ARVIE SMITH: PAINTER AND ACTIVIST


“Smith’s body of work—including … huge, public expression[s] of his complicated feelings about being black in his adopted city—is gutsy, gorgeous, and urgent.” – Rebecca Johnson, Portland Monthly.


Examples of Smith’s work can be found at arviesmith.com.

SHERRIE WOLF: PHOTOREALIST PAINTER AND PRINTMAKER


“One of the Northwest’s finest, wittiest realist painters.” – Richard Speer, Willamette Week.


Examples of Wolf’s work can be found at the Russo Lee Gallery and at sherriewolfstudio.com.

MATTHEW DENNISON: PAINTER



“Painting is a form of writing to me. I view a group of paintings as text. I join ideas together with information and explore meanings through association. I combine images to make new information as if the images were words. The goal is to surface the remote elements of each painting as if they were a chapter in a larger text; a way of mapping together information to create another way of seeing the moment.” – Matthew Dennison, New American Painting.


Examples of Dennison’s work can be found at Froelick Gallery.

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Earlier in the Artists Series:

  • The Artists Series: Writers. Dixon portrays Oregon writers Kim Stafford, Jon Raymond, Samiya Bashir, Omar El Akkad, Willy Vlautin, Lidia Yuknavich, Leni Zumas, Justin Taylor, Kimberly King Parsons, and Kevin Sampsell.
  • The Artists Series: Writers, Part 2. Dixon portrays Oregon writers Floyd Skloot, Sophia Shalmiyev, David Biespiel, Karen Russell, Arthur Bradford, Molly Gloss, Kate Carroll De Gutes, Reema Zaman, Zachary Schomburg, and Anis Mojgani.

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