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Visual Arts

August 18, 2016

Mike Leckie was lugging an armful of his hand-cast sculptures of athlete Ashton Eaton up the stairs at the 2012 Olympic Trials at Hayward Field when someone from above offered him a hand. 

It was Eaton himself, the new world-champion decathlon runner. Oddly enough, Leckie was bringing the sculptures up the stairs as a gift to Eaton and his mother for the racer’s new 2012 world record.

August 11, 2016

As cold and verboten as government buildings typically feel, it’s easy to forget that they belong to us, The People — paid for with taxpayer money, and don’t you forget it.

Too often these edifices are lifeless, soul-squashing, Orwellian; but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Here in Eugene, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken, with a board of art advocates, is trying to shift that perspective by transforming the blank walls of the Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse into a home for art exhibits.

June 30, 2016

The Oregon Country Fair poster is as much of an institution as the Fair itself. Around May each year, the OCF poster committee reveals the winning design and, like a harbinger of summer, it becomes increasingly ubiquitous, pinned to bulletin boards and taped to storefronts around the region.

Artist Ila Rose had submitted work to the committee in the past, to no avail. This year, she nabbed the commission — in a year that, according to the poster committee, had a record-breaking number of submissions.

June 23, 2016

Josh Krute likes wood — I mean, he really, really likes it. We sat in a coffee shop (at a wooden table, of course) and he ran his hands over the tabletop’s grain, sputtering off details about it with a pretty serious expression on his face. 

“In the last six or seven years, I’ve been printing sections of wood,” he explains. “I’ve been transferring their grain patterns onto paper — a process called relief.” 

June 9, 2016

Oil paintings of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Frida Kahlo and Abraham Lincoln, among others, lined the walls of downtown Eugene’s Townshend’s Teahouse amidst the chatter of conversation and the clinking of ceramic mugs against tabletops. 

These portraits are the work of Simon Graves, a Eugene artist whose current oeuvre is focused on the importance of the constructs of good and evil — and specifically the characters we tend to conceive as being good on an iconic, archetypal level.

April 28, 2016

On a stretch of wall overlooking a gravel lot in the Whiteaker, grimy layers of graffiti and tags have built up, offering non-sequitors like “You glad football is almost over?” and “RIP Crisco.” 

By July, that wall will be a community mural. The Whit neighborhood, long known for its offbeat artistic chops, is about to get a whole lot artsier. Two projects are taking shape: The 2016 CarPark Mural Project and the Whiteaker Art Walk. 

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.