Eugene artist Keith Achepohl’s exhibition “Vision of Nature/Vessel of Beauty” opens at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

EUGENE, Ore. -- (December 18, 2017) - The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus presents the exhibition “Keith Achepohl: Vision of Nature/Vessel of Beauty” from Jan. 20 through April 29, 2018.  This extensive body of work in painting, drawing, and collage by the Eugene, Oregon-based artist Keith Achepohl was inspired by three weeks spent at the Morris Graves Foundation Artist Residency in 2011, followed by a second stay in 2016.  The exhibition opens with a free reception on Friday, January 19, 6-8 p.m. 


”Seldom has an artist been so inspired by a residency,” says Jill Hartz, JSMA executive director and co-curator of the exhibition. ”It’s been thrilling to see each new work as it’s been completed, and then to step back and see how it all holds together and creates its own world.  Each series and study so clearly shows the artist’s mastery of aesthetics, media, and techniques, which are imbued with his contagious curiosity and intensity of experience.”


During his residencies at “The Lake” in Loleta, California, Achepohl worked in seclusion, which profoundly affected both his subject matter and choices of media. The results, as presented in the exhibition for the first time, are nine distinct yet interrelated explorations of the plants and trees that he observed at Morris Graves's final home. Although the finished pieces are wholly of nature, they are, according to the artist, neither landscapes nor botanical studies. Rather, he describes them as “more fantasy than reality, an intensely personal language of nature that developed from careful observation to mnemonic response.”


“Keith’s impressions of The Lake inspired him to expand his ways of art-making and experiment with collage, acrylic paint, and varying scale. Viewers get to have an immersive experience in the work.” says Danielle Knapp, McCosh Associate Curator and co-curator of the exhibition.


On Saturday, January 20, at 2 p.m., the artist, curators Hartz and Knapp, Robert and Desirée Yarber, Directors of the Morris Graves Foundation, and Cory Gundlach, Curator of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, University of Iowa Museum of Art, will discuss Achepohl’s experiences at the Morris Graves Residency, influences, and works in the exhibition. 


Keith Achepohl received a B.A. from Knox College (1956), an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa (1960), and honorary doctorates from Pacific Lutheran University (1989) and Knox College (1996). He served as head of printmaking at the School of Art at the University of Iowa and director of the University of Iowa Summer in Venice.


Among his numerous awards and recognitions are Fulbright grants in Egypt (1977) and Turkey (1984) and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship (1994). Achepohl has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally.  His works are held in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, Spain; the Kobe Art Museum in Japan; the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and many others.


“It was easy to concentrate on a group of plants and begin witnessing the cycle from a young green stem growing into a robust maturity, finally transitioning into its final stage as its sleek lines shriveled and achieved a proud baroque character,” Achepohl wrote in his artist statement. “A single tree could be observed many times, revealing a different landscape in the intricacies of its bark and branches at each perspective. The Lake provided an endless source of material to mentally record what I could record at the moment, and to this day those visions have generated mnemonic responses as significant as the initial encounters. What was seen then and later recalled has dictated the direction and materials used in the creation of the images presented here. Watercolor, pencil drawings, oil paint on raw linen, acrylic and collage paintings.  I have never thought of what I work on as “landscape” pictures. The plants and trees that have come into my life have always been living entities. Part of life, part of time.”


The exhibition and its fully illustrated catalog are made possible with the generous support of the Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment; the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation; the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; Philip and Sandra Piele; Diana Gardener; and JSMA members. 


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and the Americas as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of seven museums—and the only academic art museum-- in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,


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