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Visual Arts

March 10, 2016

We’re all well acquainted with portraits. We’ve all seen da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and Van Gogh’s self-portrait with bandaged ear. We’ve been subjects in our own portraits, from selfies snapped at wild house parties to those bizarre, neck-cricking high-school IDs. Portraits are displayed in magazine ads, on business cards, in mugshots, passports and newspaper headlines.

January 21, 2016
Muhammad Ali, 1984, by Brian Lanker

January 21, 2016

Eugene-based comics artist Mike Allred smiles wide. “I’m a professional child,” he says.

Allred’s understated style turned heads when his Madman hit stores in 1992, paving the way for him to work with many of the best writers in the business as he drew the shiny, spandexed heroes he grew up loving.

A couple years back, when Marvel Comics green-lit a new, light-hearted series based on the classic brooding hero Silver Surfer, editor Tom Brevoort knew instantly this project had Allred’s name written all over it.

December 31, 2015

Artist Jerry Ross recently spent a lot of time with Donald Trump’s face. As a Bernie Sanders supporter, this was no easy feat.

“I got a lot of praise for that Trump painting because it captured his arrogance,” Ross says. “Also, his jaw, it’s very much like the jaw of Mussolini,” he adds with a laugh, referencing the fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

November 11, 2015

I can’t say I felt much when I read that the Jacobs Gallery was closing; having never visited, I only knew of it as “that gallery under the Hult.” I could envision the work they presented. You know, the kind of art that could easily hang in a “respectable gallery.” 

November 5, 2015

Henk Pander’s Portland studio is how I imagine an Old Masters’ pad — be it Vermeer, Rembrandt or Hals — in 17th-century Europe. Strewn about are remnants of still lifes, palettes with fat slabs of oil pigment and enormous canvases, all dwarfed by 20-foot ceilings. With the afternoon sun filtering in through skylights, it’s nothing short of glorious. 

October 29, 2015

Former prisoner Jimi Yamaichi’s guard tower replica on view at Wayne L. Morse Courthouse.


September 10, 2015

Local found-object sculptor Jud Turner has been working nonstop for decades, but he hasn’t had an open studio showing his work for 15 years. While his work is collected internationally, many in Eugene have never seen his art face to face. This weekend, Sept. 11-13, he will be showing more than 100 works, many of which have never been shown in Eugene and some that were completed this past week.

Why have you waited 15 years?

September 3, 2015

In 2009, unhappy in Sarasota and wanting to get outta Dodge, so to speak, Jason Pancoast found himself Googling “What is the opposite of Florida?” Oregon kept popping up in the results. And so it was: Pancoast hopped a plane and settled in Eugene without knowing a soul.

July 9, 2015

A dozen years have passed since urban theorist Richard Florida argued that the U.S. has “an economy powered by human creativity.” In The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida writes, “In virtually every industry, from automobiles to fashion, food products and information technology itself, the winners in the long run are those who can create and keep creating.”

March 26, 2015

Sitting on the carpet of the Hult Center lobby on a misty February evening, a group of artists strain to look up at the towering ceiling with its jumble of M.C. Escher-like angles, balconies and staircases. They toss around terms like scrim and pulley and trapeze. 

The group decides they want to fasten a net to the wood beams where aerial dancers can twist and twirl. One artist, Mica Thomas, describes the scene as “that big moment that kind of shocks you a bit before the ending.”

March 26, 2015

Local artist Erik Roggeveen picked up a paintbrush for the first time only two-and-a-half years ago. 

Today, you can see his 112-square-foot hand-painted mural — his first ever — on the east-facing wall of The Cannery at 11th and Mill Alley. The Cannery pub unveiled the mural March 6 and it’s hard to miss: The vividly colored, forced-perspective painting evinces a comic book-style and depicts a woman holding a jar of alien-looking pickled foods, like garlic, carrots and purple broccoli.

January 29, 2015

Former Eugene hip-hop staple Hanif Panni (aka Hanif Wondir) is returning to his hometown with a Noah’s Ark of artwork in tow — a mandrill monkey, a wolf, a zebra, a lioness, a tiger and an elk are just a few of his traveling companions. 

January 22, 2015

Playing devil’s advocate, I ask art collector Jordan Schnitzer how contemporary art can possibly fulfill us in an age of flickering screens and attention spans. Immediately I regret siding with the devil, even if only momentarily. Schnitzer’s response is so passionate, so righteous and, frankly, so absolutely correct that his indignation at the thought that art could ever be irrelevant reverberates through the phone. 

December 18, 2014

Since leaving the Navajo Nation at 18 to join the U.S. Army as a young man, Eugene visual artist Lemuel Charley has both nurtured his native roots and honored his brothers in arms, fueling unique insights and ambitions.

November 6, 2014

Suspended deep in a block of ice, her long braids coiled around a pair of hand axes, Meesha Goldberg is determined to break free. This is not a magic trick. It’s a self-portrait.

You wouldn’t guess from her work that Goldberg has been painting for only about two years, but discipline and nocturnal solitude have aided her well, along with a background in figure drawing and poetry that translates vividly to the canvas.

October 23, 2014

After a long career in psychotherapy and philosophy, Amy Isler Gibson switched gears in April 2012 and opened The Gallery at the Watershed, which features some of the most important contemporary art in Lane County. Gibson’s artist roster is full of seasoned pros like Bill Brewer, Abbas Darabi, Wesley Hurd and sculptor Randy Ortiz. Now, she and a board of directors have started a nonprofit foundation to educate the community about engaging with the arts with classes such as “Composition Through the Eyes of an Artist” and “The Powers of Visual Art.

September 25, 2014

One recent sunny day, my family enjoyed one of our regular trips to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the UO campus. It didn’t take long to find some nifty stuff, including a 1981 Basquiat, a 1972 Miró and, be still my heart, a 1963 Giacometti. This isn’t New York City. This is Eugene! And yet here were representative pieces from some of the world’s most beloved artists, on display thanks to the museum’s Masterworks on Loan program, which exhibits art borrowed from private collections.

August 20, 2014

For a man currently wedged between a rock and that proverbial hard place, Eugene artist Joe Mross appears surprisingly serene. Here’s the deal: Mross, a metalsmith and perhaps this town’s foremost purveyor of the steampunk aesthetic, has but a handful of days to complete the grandest and most ambitious project of his life thus far — a 5,000-plus lbs. metallurgic behemoth of rivets, Plexiglas, fabricated steel and sandblasted wood that must be trucked down and set up for Nevada’s legendary Burning Man festival by Aug. 25.

August 13, 2014

Walking through the dark empty corridors of Oaklea Middle School on a muggy August day, Principal Brian Young opens a door and flicks on the light. The classroom that comes into focus is filled with tables, colorful cabinets and student artwork tacked to the walls — all covered in the patina of art projects lingering from yesteryear.

“It’s kind of sad coming in here knowing,” Young pauses. “I think it’s probably been seven to 10 years since Oaklea had an actual art elective as a class.”

July 9, 2014

Shanna Trumbly was sitting in a cave roasting hotdogs when she saw the hummingbird. The Eugene artist was visiting Yachats with her family and, while on a hike, they had taken shelter from the rain. 

“Out of the corner of my eye, I see this little bzzz,” she says, fluttering her hands. “There are no flowers around or anything. It was just like rock walls and the ocean … It was so bizarre because it wasn’t even a place where a hummingbird would be hanging out.” She adds, “Right when it flew off, the rain stopped.”

July 3, 2014

Sculptor Ian Beyer tells me with a wry smile that his sister, painter Erika Beyer, is the smart one, what with her dual college degrees in scientific illustration and architecture. This is the sort of affectionate ribbing that commonly passes between siblings; what’s not so common is the level of talent that unifies the Beyers in their separate creative endeavors.

June 19, 2014

Esteban Camacho weaves through the skateboard jungle that is the new WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza, finding some smooth invisible path while I stumble after him, jumping out of the way of teens on wheels. It’s clear the artist is a seasoned veteran of the site. We sit on a bench carved into a ramp, skateboarders whirring around us. Hands leathery with green paint, Camacho points up at the murals developing on two pillars buttressing I-105. 

June 5, 2014

“Looking at the world today, there is tremendous uncertainty in our lives,” says Venerable Jigme Rinpoche, founder and director at the Palmo Center for Peace and Education. “We’re confronted with difficulty, crisis and challenges. We urgently need the vision and courage to find ways to handle these difficulties, both individually and globally, with deeper acceptance, insight and compassion.” 

That’s where the arts come into play.