JSMA Showcases the Drawings and Paintings of Oregon Artist Tom Cramer in New Exhibition

“Journey to the Third Dimension: Tom Cramer's Drawings and Paintings 1974-2019” will be on view August 17 through December 29, 2019.


EUGENE, Ore. -- (August 6, 2019) –This fall at the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, “Journey to the Third Dimension: Tom Cramer's Drawings and Paintings 1974-2019” will be on view in the Artist Project Space from August 17 through December 29, 2019. With pieces spanning forty-five years and a range of media and techniques, “Journey to the Third Dimension” sheds fresh light on the intellect, imagination, and technical facility of one of the Northwest’s iconic artists.


Portland-based Cramer, best known for his complex relief paintings, has also maintained a parallel commitment to drawing since his early teens. For the first time in a museum exhibition, Cramer’s work in these two media will be featured together, giving insight into the artist’s vision and creative process. Featured artworks include drawings recently rediscovered within Cramer’s own archives, as well as canvas paintings, prints, wood-burnings, and relief paintings on loan from Jordan D. Schnitzer and other private lenders. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with featured essay by Richard Speer and contributions from Jill Hartz, JSMA Executive Director, Danielle Knapp, McCosh Curator, and Jordan Schnitzer.


Organized by guest curator Richard Speer, the exhibition is accompanied by a catalog made possible by an Exhibition and Documentation Support Grant from The Ford Family Foundation and additional generous support from Augen Gallery.  Speer and Cramer will lead a gallery talk on Saturday, November 9, at 2 p.m.


“Deploying classic and innovative techniques of draftsmanship, Cramer uses line, shading, and color to suggest depth and volume in phantasmagorical depictions of forms and flowers, landscapes teeming with vegetation, sunbursts, starscapes, and portals to other realms of cosmos and consciousness,” states Speer.  “The artworks center around core ideas:  the unspeakable fecundity of nature, a neo-Cubistic fragmentation of perception, the relationship between visual art and music, synesthesia, microcosm/macrocosm, and an emphasis on positivity, complexity, sensuality, and beauty.”


Tom Cramer (b. 1960) is one of the Pacific Northwest's best-known artists.  A third-generation Portlander, he graduated from Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in 1982 before moving to New York City, where he studied at the Pratt Institute and associated with key figures in the East Village art scene.  Returning to Portland in the mid-eighties, he gained renown for his murals, art cars, sculptures, and paintings, which combine bold color with influences as varied Impressionism, German Expressionism, and the Arts and Crafts movement.  Now represented by Augen Gallery, Cramer has become associated with his wood-relief oil paintings which offer luxuriant surfaces and gleaming metallic leaf.  His work has been acquired by prestigious private, institutional collections, among them the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Boise Art Museum, Microsoft, Saks Fifth Avenue, Providence Cancer Center, Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, Wonder Ballroom, and Bob Thompson/TVA Architects.


Richard Speer is an award-winning art critic, author, and curator.  His essays and reviews have appeared in ARTnews, Art Papers, Artpulse, Visual Art Source, Surface Design, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Oregonian, Salon, Newsweek, and Opera News.  From 2002 to 2015 he was an art critic at Willamette Week, the Pulitzer Prize-winning alternative weekly in Portland, where he is based.  He is the author of Matt Lamb: The Art of Success (Wiley, 2005), Halley/Mendini (Mary Boone Gallery, 2013), Peter Halley: Before the Fall (Karma, 2017), Eric Wert: Still Life (Pomegranate, 2018), George Dunbar (Callan Contemporary, 2018), and The Space of Effusion: Sam Francis in Japan (Scheidegger & Spiess, 2020). 


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,