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Tom Cramer (American)
Hummingbird, 2012
Oil and woodburning on birch plywood, 51-1/4 x 31-1/2 inches
Gift of Tom Cramer; 2012:8.1

Journey to the Third Dimension: Tom Cramer Drawings and Paintings 1977-2019

August 17, 2019 to December 29, 2019

Tom Cramer (American, b. 1960) is widely known for his intricate relief paintings, which celebrate the lushness of nature and the mysteries of the cosmos. Luxuriantly carved into blocks of mahogany and Ponderosa pine, emblazoned with metallic leaf—rivulets of oil paint pooling around islands of raised contour—the paintings spring from Cramer’s feverish visual imagination. But while art lovers across the Northwest are familiar with his ecstatic and visionary works on panel, few know of his parallel practice in drawing, which deeply informs his paintings. Since his early teens, Cramer has used drawing to chart his pictorial and thematic concerns on a journey from line to form to sculptural relief—a trajectory across three dimensions. To view the drawings contextualized vis-a-vis the paintings is to peer into a mind in the throes of creation: deploying the time-honored tools of draftsmanship to transmute simple lines into symphonies of forms in ever-shifting compositions, some harmonious, some dissonant. In fact, it may be impossible to fully understand Cramer’s iconic relief paintings without an awareness of the drawings, and yet these two interrelated practices, united by their approach to line, have until now never been explored in a museum exhibition.

Organized by guest curator Richard Speer, the exhibition’s mission—using a focused selection of Cramer’s drawings over a 40-year span, as well as a selection of wood burnings and relief paintings drawn from private collections and the museum’s collection—is to show viewers how a gifted artist uses inventive and idiosyncratic techniques to create a vessel for the voyage from line to form to volume. In so doing, Journey to the Third Dimension will offer the viewing public a glimpse not only into the mind and hand of one of the Northwest’s most renowned and prolific artists, but also into the wider machinations of the creative process itself.

 

 

 

Paper Weight: Works in Paper by Elsa Mora

August 29, 2018 to January 20, 2019

Paper Weight is Elsa Mora’s latest exhibition of painstaking works made solely of paper and glue. Mora’s 2D and 3D pieces, presented in this exhibition, are inspired by the five cognitive faculties that form the mind: consciousness, perception, thinking, judgment, and memory. For the last eleven years, Mora has explored the expressive potential of paper, while seeing the malleability of this material as a metaphor for the mind and its ability to morph and adapt. Manipulating light and shadow is an organic part of her process, as is her use of color, and, in some cases, the lack of it. Thematically, Mora is interested in studying the intricacies of the human brain, the wonders that it can produce, and its potential for destruction and chaos. Her work as a whole reflects on universal issues of identity, connectivity, and survival.

A recipient of the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists, Elsa Mora was born and raised in Cuba and moved to Los Angeles in 2001, where she lived until 2014. She currently resides in New York with her husband, William Horberg, and their two children. Mora’s work has been exhibited worldwide and she also curates exhibitions, most recently for the ArtYard, a contemporary art center based in Frenchtown, NJ, where she works as both artistic director and curator. She has taught at the Vocational School of Arts in Camaguey, Cuba, and has been a visiting artist at the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco State University, The Art Institute of Boston, the MoMA Design Store, and the National Gallery of Art, among other places. Her work is in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC; the Long Beach Museum of Art, CA; and the JSMA. Mora has collaborated as an illustrator with such organizations as the Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, The New York Review of Books, Penguin Random House, Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and teNeues, among others.

 

Matthew Picton (British, b.  1960). Apocalypse Now #1, 2018, mixed media, 33” x 25” x 4”. Courtesy of the artist.

 

Matthew Picton: Cultural Mapping

September 12, 2018 to December 30, 2018

To call Mathew Picton’s sculptural works “maps,” is both accurate and a misnomer.  His three-dimensional aerial cartographies are each based in a particular city and feature layers of cultural references and historical text. Each work documents and invites us to explore particular times of societal and cultural change, specific to that area of the world. Featured in the exhibition are a selection of works that investigate colonialization and the plunder of the New World. Among these are El Dorado, inspired by the Spanish search for the city of gold in the Amazon basin, and Apocalypse Now, referencing Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Coppola’s film, and the geography of the lower Mekong Delta.

Picton was born in London, where he studied politics and history at the London School of Economics. His work is in the collections of the De Young Museum (San Francisco), the Herbert Museum of Art (Coventry, U.K.), the Fidelity Bank collection (London), the Stadt Museum (Dresden, Germany), and the New York University Langone Medical Center Collection, as well as several private collections. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his artist-wife Clare Burbridge and their children, and he is represented by Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland. 

 

 

 

 

Michael Snow: Solar Breath (Northern Caryatids)

May 09, 2018 to July 22, 2018

Solar Breath (2002) is a 62-minute loop of fluttering curtains that reveal and conceal an idyllic landscape in rural Newfoundland. The work was a result of the artist’s observations of a window of his summer cabin in Canada.  Over the years, according to Snow, “a mysterious wind performance takes place in one of the windows, about an hour before sunset.” The artist sought to capture in the film the various movements and folds that the window’s curtain create against the window’s screen with the interaction of the wind. While on one level, Solar Breath is merely a fixed-camera documentary recording,” says Snow, “it is also the result of years of attention. Solar Breath (Northern Caryatids) is 62 minutes of the most beautiful, eloquent movements and pliages that the sun, wind, windows and curtain have yet composed. Chance and choice coexist.” Michael Snow is a visual artist, filmmaker, and musician originally from Toronto.  He first gained attention for his work in 1956, and in the 1960s, he became internationally renowned with his film Wavelength. His work can be found in many of the most significant contemporary art collections in the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, and the National Gallery of Canada. He has represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. The exhibition is made possible thanks to a JSMA Academic Support grant.

 

Annual Outdoor Family Film: Coco

Coco, which won the Oscar for best animated film this year, tells the story of a young boy in Mexico who suddenly finds himself in the world of the dead. He learns why the Day of the Dead holiday is so important and finds his musician ancestor who helps him return to the living. Coco features an all-star cast of voices, including Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, and Edward James Olmos. Produced by Pixar Animation Studio and released by Walt Disney Pictures, Coco also won the Oscar for best song, Remember Me.

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