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 Back  Vignettes | Oregon | April – May 2015

By Allyn Cantor

MYRA ALBERT WIGGINS: A PHOTOGRAPHER’S LIFE Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, Feb14-Apr 26 Myra Albert Wiggins (1869–1956) was an internationally recognized photographer and a founding member of Alfred Stieglitz’s Photo-Secessionists – the group that promoted photography as a fine-art medium when it hadn’t even been acknowledged as a legitimate form of art. Born and raised in Salem, Wiggins studied at the Art Students League of New York. She pioneered the Dutch genre style of pictorial photography, with scenes defined by soft lighting and sensitive compositions that evoked 17th-century Dutch life.

NANCY LORENZ: POLISHED GROUND PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, Mar 31-May 2 Based in New York, Nancy Lorenz is a contemporary abstract painter who uses untraditional materials drawn from the aesthetics of Asian art, such as lacquer and gold leaf. Her sensual works blur the lines between fine art and decorative art. In this new series, Lorenz divides the principles of painting into raw and luxurious materials. Her canvasses become rough jute surfaces on which she forms painterly swaths and Modernist gestures in highly polished gilded relief – the result, a tactile dichotomy that draws attention to both the act of painting and the framework of tradition.

DEAN HANSON: POETIC MUSIC – THE FEMININE FORM Michael Parsons Fine Art, Portland, May 6-31 After nearly 30 years as a chemist, Dean Hanson went to Paris in 1999 to study and develop his interest in photography. Now 71, he works exclusively in black-and-white silver gelatin prints, and his primary interest is in people, the human form and subjects from his world travels. This exhibit focuses solely on classic female nudes. Hanson’s portrayals are elegantly captured with soft impressions that evoke the inner life of his models. Hanson divides his creative time equally between Corvallis and Paris.

COLLEEN PLUMB: ANIMALS ARE OUTSIDE TODAY AND THIRTY TIMES A MINUTE Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Apr 1-May 3 Colleen Plumb focuses on the complex relationship between humans and animals in a photographic series, Animals Are Outside Today, and a video piece, Thirty Times a Minute. In her colour images, Plumb looks at the interdependent life of animals as understood through the human desire for ownership, entertainment and consumption rather than for coexistence. The eight-minute video portrays elephants in zoos “weaving,” a behaviour of those in captivity that causes debilitating injuries to the animals’ feet and joints.

APEX: BETTY LADUKE Portland Art Museum, Mar 28-Jul 19 Betty LaDuke is a Southern Oregon artist who studied in Mexico in the 1950s, where she met influential muralists Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera. Their representations of working people have continued to inform LaDuke’s content, evident in a recent series celebrating Oregon’s agricultural workers. Her brightly coloured panels joyfully reflect the countryside, orchards and fields. Pieces from her 65-year retrospective (held in 2013 at the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland) are part of this exhibition, along with her newest paintings.

Myra Albert Wiggins
Myra Albert Wiggins

Nancy Lorenz
Nancy Lorenz

Dean Hanson
Dean Hanson

Colleen Plumb
Colleen Plumb

Betty LaDuke
Betty LaDuke

 Tue, Apr 7, 2015