Schneider Museum part of Oregon’s ‘largest art show’

The Schneider Museum of Art is taking part in what has been dubbed “Oregon’s largest art show.”
The museum on Southern Oregon University’s Ashland campus is exhibiting the diverse work of five artists through Sept. 17 as part of “Portland2016: A Biennial of Contemporary Art.”
Previous biennials were staged in Portland. This year, organizers have expanded the reach of the exhibit of 34 emerging and established Oregon artists and artist teams to stretch from Astoria to Ashland and as far east as La Grande. Museums and galleries are hosting shows, but so are alternative sites like a hardware store, a hotel and theaters.
At the Schneider Museum, Portland artist Brenna Murphy is showing prints and sculptures inspired by the world of video games and apps. Her mysterious creations appear to be a mix of digital mazes and ancient temples devoted to unknown religions.
During a recent museum event in which kids were invited to choose their favorite art at the museum, most bypassed colorful abstract paintings and Cubist portraits to pile hearts on Murphy’s digital fabrications — the natural choice for a generation that has grown up building virtual structures with the video game Minecraft.
Murphy uses computer graphics programs to create her artwork. A 3D printer turns her imagined constructions into physical sculptures that exist in the real world.
Her sculpture “Modern Twins” is made of Plexiglass and paint, yet has shapes that suggest ancient temples and writing.
“Sometimes I think of this activity as constructing a physical language — the units are hieroglyphs and I’m stringing them into poems,” Murphy notes in her artist statement.
The most traditional of the group, Portland artist Storm Tharp, is showing cubist-style mixed media, with drawn and painted faces of fractured faces seen from multiple angles.
His massive artwork “Kids, Dads” is a portrait of his brother, complete with five expertly drawn eyes.
David Eckard’s wall-mounted sculptures look like Oregon Museum of Science and Industry exhibits that have gone awry.
“Rail” combines sculptures of a dinosaur-sized tooth and leg bones with metal bars, bolts, cloth and other man-made materials. The expert craftsmanship of the Portland artist’s work creates the troubling sensation that his sculptures are authentic — and yet impossible — scientific finds.
Eckard describes his sculptures as “fictive artifacts.”
Rounding out the show, Eugene artist Mike Bray is displaying abstract sculptures and Portland artist Giles Lyon has large-scale abstract paintings at the museum.
For more information about participating biennial artists and exhibition sites, visit
The Schneider Museum, located uphill from the intersection of Siskiyou Boulevard and Indiana Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free.

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