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 Back  Vignettes | Oregon | September – October 2014

By Allyn Cantor

THIS IS WAR! GRAPHIC ARTS FROM THE GREAT WAR, 1914–1918 Portland Art Museum, Portland Through Dec 14 This insightful exhibition of prints, posters and drawings examines several themes and voices that dominated German, Belgian, French, American and Swiss graphic arts during World War I. Some pieces, by artists who fought in the conflict, warn future generations about the horrors of war, while others are poster art supporting the war effort. The exhibit also looks at the role of periodicals such as Kriegszeit Künstlerflugblätter (Wartime Artist Leaflets) in disseminating both the graphic arts and the political messages of the day.

BYRON GARDNER: MASTER OF ABSTRACTION Michael Parsons Fine Art, Portland Sep 3–28 Byron Gardner (1930–1992) was one of Oregon’s foremost Abstract Expressionist painters of the 20th century. First studying with Louis Bunce, Gardner came of age when Abstract Expressionism was still young and tensions between traditional Realism and new art forms were commonplace. His later studies in New York propelled his artistic developments in Abstractionism. This exhibit includes paintings from the 1950s through the 1970s, showing the evolution of Gardner’s style.

MICHAEL BROPHY: DRIFT Laura Russo Gallery, Portland Sep 4–27 Michael Brophy’s new series of large-scale oil paintings portrays the lands, jetties and dense rocky seascapes of the Pacific Northwest. The Portland native draws on insightful observations of changing environments to create paintings about natural beauty and human intervention. These new depictions of rough coastal beaches packed with large boulders and time-laden mounds of driftwood carry a stark, reflective quietude, rendered in Brophy’s sensitive Realist style.

A CONTEMPORARY BESTIARY Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem Sep 13–Dec 21 Animal imagery in contemporary regional art is highlighted in this exhibition of 22 artists working in diverse media and styles. Notable Northwest artists such as Deborah Butterfield, Alfredo Arreguín, Gaylen Hansen and Fay Jones are grouped together. This comprehensive exhibit shows how animal iconography is an age-old theme for human expression. Works range from sculptures by Rachel Denny, whose signature deer heads covered in cozy cashmere examine the complexity of human intervention, to serigraphs by Robert Davidson, who expresses his Haida traditions in a distinctly contemporary style.

RALPH PUGAY: CRITTER Upfor Gallery, Portland Oct 2–Nov 1 Ralph Pugay’s acrylic paintings depict seemingly playful situations drawn from mundane reality. His fantastical narratives combine the absurd and the unfathomable with everyday happenings to question the complexity of the contemporary social experience, consciousness and life in general. Disquieting scenes rendered with a naïve approach tell ambiguous, almost cartoonish tales that are vulnerable, humorous and thought-provoking. Pugay’s witty titles, such as Gym Witchcraft, Chickenpox Orgy and Spiritual Microwave, further the satire of his colourful paintings.

Percy Smith
Percy Smith

Byron Gardner
Byron Gardner

Michael Brophy
Michael Brophy

Fay Jones
Fay Jones

Ralph Pugay Rietz
Ralph Pugay

 Sun, Sep 7, 2014