The Schneider Museum of Art at the Oregon Center for the Arts will mount its winter shows beginning Friday, Jan. 19. In what appears to be a tight collaboration with longtime gallerist Jane Beebe of PDX Contemporary in Portland — three of the five artists in the show are represented by Beebe — the show will feature work of Anna Gray and Ryan Paulsen, Betty LaDuke, Maria de Los Angeles and Storm Tharp.
Grey and Paulsen emerged onto the Portland art scene from the Portland State University MFA program in the early 2010s, and have since shown variously around the country, most notably at the Seattle Art Fair and at PULSE Miami Beach. The work, according to the pair, operates "in response to the texts we read and to the experience of reading itself, whether on a page, sign, screen, or street." It "functions like marginalia" (I would understand this to mean that the work will serve as a pointed and object-specific commentary or comment on a particular aesthetic object or cultural criteria) and based on their existing body of work would appear to include Ed Ruscha-esque monoprints as well as sculptural/installation work that utilizes cement bricks, twine and paper.
Ashland-based painter Betty LaDuke, now in her mid-80s, is a longtime artist and something of a legend in the regional creative community. A master printmaker and retired professor of art at Southern Oregon University, who graduated from California State in Los Angeles in the early 1960s, LaDuke's work has focused on specific cultural imagery that focuses on working people and the land, with warm, accessible color panels and a highly identifiable style. She is the mother of American environmentalist Winona LaDuke.
Maria de Los Angeles is a young activist artist who came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 11, where her family settled in Santa Rosa, California. She eventually attended the Pratt Institute on a partial scholarship, and went on to Yale. Her work emphasizes themes of immigration, sexism and racism, and much of de Los Angeles's artistic process is heavily influenced by the adversity she has faced in her life — among those setbacks was the loss of 100 paintings and some 300 prints in a campus fire at Pratt just a few short weeks before she was to participate in her graduate school interview at Yale. She completed a new body of work and was accepted.
The other artist in the show is Storm Tharp, a preeminent Portland artist with a long regional history, as well as shows in New York and Geneva, and inclusion in the 2010 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Tharp's work is a glorious homage to the human body. His work, which the artist describes as "liberally representational," often utilizes watercolor ink, colored pencil and graphite to create moody, deconstructed visages with a combination of rawness and elusiveness that is reminiscent of Francis Bacon or Lucian Freud. Tharp remains an exciting artist with a masterful hand and a distinct presence.
The Winter Show at the Schneider Museum of Art looks to be a strong marriage of newer and more established artists with some strong international and academic credentials, but also carrying a persuasively regional flavor. It's good to see that the museum will be bringing more women into this show than they have in recent exhibitions.
Winter Exhibitions at the Schneider Museum of Art at the Oregon Center for the Arts will be on view from Jan. 19 through March 17. An opening reception is planned for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18.
— Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Daily Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.