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Letters to the Editor 2017-12-07

GODMOTHER OF PRINTMAKERS

Bob Keefer writes, “the godfather of printmaking here is Gordon Gilkey” (“Printmaking Explodes in Oregon," 11/30). However, his article conveniently excludes LaVerne Krause, who I consider the godmother of Oregon printmaking.

Krause graduated from the University of Oregon art department in 1946, and lived in Portland after graduation, then returned to the UO to found the printmaking department. 

Generations of artists, including me, marveled at her teaching skills and importance in championing young artists. In 1972 she gave my fellow printmaking students and me our first professional gallery experience in a summer showing at Portland’s prestigious Fountain Gallery, owned and directed by Arlene Schintzer (mother of noted print collector Jordan Schnitzer). 

Mention “moody blues,” “lyrical abstraction” and “landscape” prints, and Krause always comes to mind. As the only woman on the UO visual arts faculty for much of her career, she often felt insecure when grouped with mostly male artists of her generation. Her work was conveniently excluded from the Smithsonian National Collection survey, Art of the Pacific Northwest from 1930s to the Present, exhibited in Washington, D.C., Seattle and Portland in 1974.

I consider Krause an important mentor not only for me but also for generations of Oregon-based artists and printmakers. Much of her strength and success will be remembered as a teacher and also a prolific printmaker.

Krause inspired me to continue making prints after graduating in 1972, and these prints have been collected by the Portland Art Museum’s Gilkey Print Center as well as the Hallie Ford Museum, Willamette University, Salem.

Mike E. Walsh, Eugene 

 

THE SOUL OF DIGITAL ART

As a relative newcomer to the art world, its artists, observers and critics, I was excited to read the Weekly’s cover story on Oregon printmaking. It was not long into the article, however, that a comment made by Eugene printmaker Tallmadge Doyle broke my focus and both surprised and saddened me.

In explaining a renewed interest in printmaking shown by many artists, Doyle made the declarative statement that “digital has no soul.”

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, as the art world seems to have established a hierarchy of two-dimensional media evaluation, beginning with oil painting at the very top and then moving downward dismissively towards watercolor and mixed media, with textiles always taking the bottom rung of this ladder.

It’s unfortunate and unknowing when a non-artist dismisses digital art as soulless, but for an artist to do the same — that is, to elevate his or her process with a sweeping negative generalization of another — is truly sad. 

I rely heavily upon digital tools in my work, but I can assure Doyle that the hours and days I spend on each piece are no less imbued with my soul than are hers. She is certainly entitled to dislike any particular work of art, whatever the medium, but the statement condemning as “soulless” any medium she believes to be inferior to her own has no place in what should be an art world that embraces all new tools for self-expression.

Karen Lee, Eugene

 

NOTING GILKEY

Great article on “Printmaking Explodes in Oregon” (11/30). There have been so many excellent artists involved in this art form throughout the Northwest.

It was proper to note Gorden Gilkey as the vital force in the development of printmaking throughout the region and beyond. I knew him for years and he helped LaVerne Krause and Ken Paul set up a full-fledged printmaking program at the UO.

I visited Gilkey in the 1980s when he was a sort of permanent artist-in-residence at the Portland Art Museum School (now PNWCA) when it was attached directly to the Portland Art Museum. He used their printmaking presses and was always willing to talk with and help students and visitors. He was very interested in new technologies, including the computer, and was exploring digital printmaking in combination with traditional etching.

Gordon’s MFA was the first one awarded in “printmaking” in 1936 at University of Oregon and probably first in the country in printmaking as most had been in painting and sculpture prior to this time. It was not, however, the first MFA degree awarded at the UO.

The first MFA was awarded in 1926 at the University of Oregon. The art school was started in 1914. Most U.S. art schools did not formally award the MFA degree until the 1940s.

Kenneth O’Connell, Former head of the UO Department of Art

 

LIVING IN FEAR

I know the fear of raising a family of three children without insurance. That was my life for 12 years. My then-husband worked seasonally. I prayed there would be no bill too big I couldn’t pay off. It was before the Oregon Health Plan.

The only thing that popped up was my husband getting sick. Now he was sick and out of work. I knew not where to turn. My mother suggested the Veterans Administraton. I didn’t know he qualified.

The VA was a lifesaver. Before the diagnosis of a very serious, life threatening illness, there was a surprise trip in an ambulance and then the bill. FireMed forgave our bill. I have maintained membership since. He returned to good health. It was three years until he could return to work.

Don’t let us return to that fearful time. Our society has to be kind. Vote yes on Measure 101. 

Katrina Bowser, Eugene

 

PLASTIC PLANET

If the average Eugenian consumes just one item in a plastic container a day, that adds up to 160,000-plus plastic containers every day, 1.6 million every ten days, 16 million-plus every 100 days, over 50 million every year in Eugene alone (not to mention everywhere else)! We are about to see how fast that adds up!

Rick Moser, Eugene

 

STANDING BY PLANNED PARENTHOOD

My name is Wyatt Anderlie-Higbee, and I am a senior at South Eugene High School taking contemporary world history.

President Donald Trump is trying to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood. He has offered to keep funding if Planned Parenthood stops providing abortions; this is a violation of women’s rights, and Planned Parenthood has declined his proposal and will continue to provide abortion services.

I support Planned Parenthood because it’s a women’s right to be pro-life or pro-choice, and the organization provides a safe option for abortion and shouldn’t allow Trump to push them around. According to The New York Times, Planned Parenthood receives $500 million in federal funding, but none of that money pays for abortions. That money is spent on other services provided by Planned Parenthood so trying to take away funding because they provide abortions is completely opinionated and unjust.

According to media reports, the Trump Administration is pro-life and doesn’t support abortions. This is very ridiculous and not fair. 

As a solution, Planned Parenthood will continue to provide abortion services and risk funding being cut. In that case, the 60 percent of private funding will have to increase and more people will have to advocate and keep Planned Parenthood running. By 2018 all of Planned Parenthood will be private funding if Trump successfully cuts federal funding.

Wyatt Anderlie-Higbee, Eugene

 

UNDER GOD

My name is Khayman Lister. I am a senior at South Eugene High School and I believe the phrase “under God” puts students in an uncomfortable position and contradicts the Pledge of Allegiance. 

In the Pledge of Allegiance, the line “under God” should be removed and not recited in a public school. The line puts non-religious students in an uncomfortable position where they have to defy their beliefs to fit in with their peers or protest by sitting down.

One reason to keep the phrase is because reciting “under God” has been a tradition since 1954. It is now state mandated that Oregon students are given the opportunity at least once a week to recite the Pledge (oregonlaws.org). 

If students choose to sit it could make them feel less patriotic than their religious peers due to the absence of their participation. I have personally experienced this exclusion, and I also know many of my classmates have.

Before the pledge was changed, it read “one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I believe “indivisible” means being inseparable.

When the United States added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance it contradicted the word “indivisible.” It makes it impossible for everyone to be truly free to express their allegiance for this country and their beliefs at the same time. The line “under God” needs to be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance by the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Khayman Lister, Eugene