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The start of an art-full year in Yamhill County


Looking ahead at what 2019 holds for Yamhill County’s art scene, nothing has astonished me quite like the calendar for the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg. A dozen exhibitions are booked and the year is virtually full, although one can be reasonably sure that the occasional pop-up will happen — like the current exhibition of art by students from George Fox University.

Stan Peterson’s “Together” (carved and painted basswood) is part of “A Catalyst of Empathy” show at the Chehalem Cultural Center.

Program manager Carissa Burkett had room available in the center’s half dozen exhibition spaces, so she called the university’s art department, and they delivered. Lists like these are subject to change, of course, but what’s currently on the calendar ought to give you some idea of how ambitious this nonprofit art center is in connecting the community with visual art produced by Oregon artists.

I was there earlier this month on a gray Wednesday morning and spent a wonderful hour or so soaking up the new exhibitions. Here’s what’s going on:

Tim Timmerman’s “Genuine, Authentic” (watercolor, gouache, colored pencil and collage on paper) in the “Catalyst of Empathy” show

A Catalyst of Empathy by Tim Timmerman & Stan Peterson: In the Parrish Gallery you’ll find nearly 30 mixed media works by George Fox University art professor Tim Timmerman and more than a dozen wooden carvings by Portland artist Stan Peterson. Collectively, the pieces “explore narratives that speak with sincerity through a somewhat whimsical lens, striving as best as they are able to encounter the ‘other’ with benevolence and generosity.”

I was intrigued by the way Timmerman seems occasionally to vary his drawing style, particularly
with faces; to my eye, it was not immediately obvious that all the pieces were done by the same artist, and I mean that as a compliment. It’s an interesting show, and children are likely to enjoy the sculpture work, most of which pairs animals with other animals or people. The show runs through March 2.

Toward the rear of the building in the Founder’s Lobby, you’ll find 35th & Harrison, which features oils on wood panels by Abi Joyce-Shaw that contrast the objects she and her partner brought to their apartment with the fixed architectural features found there. The exhibition “considers the ways in which temporary housing is transformed from an impersonal to personal space. Personal possessions, acts of care and traditions make these spaces our own. The objects one selects to display and live alongside provide a tangible reflection of the resident’s character, or, by extension, a reflection of the relationship between people.” This show also runs through March 2.

Head down the east hall, and you’ll find that George Fox University Student Exhibit, in the Central Gallery, which runs through Feb. 2. There’s work here by 14 students — oils, photography, drawings, sculpture and even a comic and a zine entitled Stalked On Campus.

George Fox University student Anniha Johnson’s oil painting, “I am who I am,” at Chehalem Cultural Center

Around the corner in the Community Gallery, plan on being mesmerized by Abstractions in Pixels. This body of digital work by Lisa Zahler turns ordinary photos and images into vibrant abstractions. From the exhibition statement: “In her virtual studio, the artist heads down an unrestricted path of creative self-indulgence and experimentation. The resulting abstract art emerges when her mind’s eye is pleased with what it sees and the image no longer resembles the original. Each of these digitally created works is lab-printed on exhibition fiber paper using archival inks.” I was particularly impressed with Fire Glass Happenstance, which seems to defy you to identify what you’re looking at: Painting? Photography? Digital? The show runs through March 23.

Lisa Zahler’s “Fire Glass Happenstance” began as a photo (inset) of a fire pit seen through a glass of stout. Zahler applied freehand pixel pushing, color manipulation and filters to get painterly effects. The piece is in the “Abstraction in Pixels” show.

For the Chehalem shows, a reception for all the artists will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, during the First Friday Artwalk. The Chehalem Cultural Center is located at 415 E. Sheridan, just north of the Newberg Public Library. For more information, call 503-487-6883 or visit the website.

IN McMINNVILLE AT THE GALLERY AT TEN OAKS, owners Dan and Nancy Morrow have booked two new featured artists. Salem artist Jim Richards, whose work in figurative realism, primarily done in oil, highlights some of his new Native American and rodeo pieces, as well as floral and butterfly studies. Also, Newport’s Arlon Gilliland, whose career spans more than four decades, has work that highlights his industrial abstract series, along with flowers, birds, and coastal pieces in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. Their work will be featured through March 3. The Gallery at Ten Oaks is located at 801 S.W. Baker St. (on Oregon 99W across from Linfield College). For more information, call 503-472-1925.

Arlon Gilliland’s “Flight of Fancy” (acrylic collage, 20 by 14 inches) at The Gallery at Ten Oaks

THE 2019 THEATER SEASON IS LIVE, and here are two shows to get you started in and near Yamhill County. It’s Only a Play, by Terrence McNally and directed by Ted Desel, is showing weekends through Feb. 3 at Gallery Players of Oregon in McMinnville. Tickets available here. At Pentacle Theatre in West Salem, Lisa Loomer’s 2007 play Distracted also opened last week and runs through Feb. 9. Tickets available here. Coming up in Newberg: George Fox University’s theater people are in rehearsal for a winter musical adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s gothic novel Jane Eyre. The show opens Jan. 31 and has performances through Feb. 10 at the school’s Wood-Mar Auditorium. You can get your tickets here.

ARTS JOURNAL: Last week I spent an evening rereading sections of King Lear, which I appeared in more than a decade ago in a local production that was legendarily … uneven, I’ll say. I played Edgar, and as I read the scenes, I recalled my vocal and physical choices, and a sense of dread came over me. I fired off a note to an actor friend: “I probably sucked as Edgar!” I lamented. He replied that he’d engaged in mental replays of past productions himself and had had the same, creeping revisionist self-doubt. “Video is worse,” he said. To which I replied: “Oh, that way madness lies.”


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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David Bates is an award-winning Oregon journalist with more than 20 years as a newspaper editor and reporter in the Willamette Valley, covering virtually every topic imaginable and with a strong background in arts/culture journalism. He has lived in Yamhill County since 1996 and is currently a freelance writer whose clients have included the McMinnville News-RegisterOregon Wine Press, and Indulge, a food-oriented publication. He has a B.S. degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a long history of involvement in the theater arts, acting and on occasion directing for Gallery Players of Oregon and other theaters in Oregon.

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