John R. Stahl: Oregon Artist

Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, OR


by Allyn Cantor

This retrospective honors John Stahl (1937-2017), an important and infl uential Oregon artist with a 45-year exhibition history. Stahl was well-known in the regional art scene, having studied with some of the Northwest greats at the Museum Art School in Portland (now the Pacific Northwest College of Art). He developed strong friendships with artists like Manuel Izquierdo and was instructed by midcentury Northwest artists Louis Bunce, Jack McLarty, Eunice Parsons and George Johanson. Stylistically, his bold and geometric interpretations of natural subjects exhibit many modernist attributes.

Having grown up in rural Michigan, Stahl aligned with nature from his youth. Throughout his prolific career, the multitalented artist worked in a variety of media – from abstract canvases to carved stone, sensitive monoprints, atmospheric watercolors, collage and assemblage. He even sculpted and painted wooden duck decoys to use for hunting, an activity he enjoyed when not in the studio. Stahl made his life on the Oregon coast near Netarts Bay after purchasing land with his wife and building a home in 1979. There he became a longtime art instructor at Tillamook Bay Community College.

Aligned with his deep reverence for the Oregon environment, Stahl’s artistic practice was inextricably tied to his love of the region and his coastal lifestyle – from realistic renditions of birds and landscape to interpretations of forms and rhythms he saw in nature. As the artist stated, “The diversity in my art can be found in the Northwest landscape[,] with its generous basic elements and its unparallel[ed] variety of terrain which give such great distinction to shapes through light, shadow and color.”

Members/VIP opening reception June 8, 6-8pm

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