By Careen Stoll

A visit to Katy McFadden’s studio and garden overlooking Tryon Creek State Park seems like dropping into a forest dreamworld.   McFadden makes prints and ceramic sculpture: her interaction with the natural world yields figures in the garden that seem more to have come there of their own will because they found it home rather than placed there by a human with a plan.  The figures are sometimes animated with the spirit of another sentient being- a fox, a bird or the creatures of the sea, and standing in groups as friends or fellow travelers.

portrait of Katy McFadden by Tom Emerson

Katy McFadden photo Tom Emerson

McFadden spent her childhood playing in the ebb and flow of the tides on the coast of New Jersey.  The sense of motion between spaces has deeply influenced her work over the decades that she has been making, teaching, and travelling.  Boundaries between sea and land are spaces of constant change, as are the perceived boundaries between animal, plant and human.  Her sense of human connection is of a similarly porosity.  She says, of travel: “I love to travel because I see the commonality between people as opposed to a difference- the core is the same- we want to be accepted, be loved, have family around us.  The things that make us different are just social constructs…. [People can see the] movement in a piece [of art], and can respond to it without an understanding of who your are or where you come from.”

Transitions, Stoneware, 30"

As a fellow clayworker, the author is well aware of the labor involved in creating on the human scale at which McFadden works.  I am amazed that such a beautiful and strong but small woman manages to make these figures.  Most of them are fired at her studio in a large kiln that runs on natural gas.  But she sometimes opts to fire them in a wood-firing kiln, an extremely labor-intensive process. I asked her how she does it, and her work ethic in general.  She explains that sometimes she just goes into the studio and rolls out slabs.  Then she’s put herself into a situation that’s made it more fertile to create, and the muse comes.  About her work ethic, she replies in jest, “I don’t know what else to do with myself”, a re-iteration of an earlier comment that “art transcends the particular, and there is nothing else worth doing”.

Recent Work by Katy McFadden

Teaching she calls “the left hand”, the one that passes the nourishment of process and understanding to the next generation.  Process is revealed as a “point on a line of non-ownership”, echoing her artist statement: “we are voices for a short period of time”.  Her classes are explorations of the language of clay process, with the objective that students can translate an understanding of process to any other material.  She taught in Cape Cod for years.  Now she teaches at Clackamas Community College.

Katy McFadden’s studio is number two on the map.  She participated in Portland Open Studios years ago and then took a break.   We’re excited that she has decided to open her studio again this year.  You can see more of her work at

OPEN/CLOSE: Friday August 5th, 2011 through September 30th, 2011


PUSHDOT STUDIO – 2505 SE 11th Avenue, Suite 104 – in the Ford Building, enter on Division Street – Portland, OR 97202, 503.224.5925

Gallery Hours: Mon-Fri. 8:30am to 5:00pm, free admission

Theresa Murdza

Pushdot presents the work of Thérèse Murdza August through September 2011. “The body is deeply influenced by what it senses even if the mind is focused elsewhere. As is especially true in public places where people typically pass through from one destination to another, handcrafted art objects and installations provide lively encouragement, whether consciously or unconsciously received: someone made something for you; someone is with you; we are here together.”
Portland artist Thérèse Murdza builds her signature bright, richly textured paintings for both commercial and residential portable collections. Using an animated range of circles, lines, and colors, she creates large, multi-paneled works on canvas, and smaller works on canvas and paper. Murdzaʼs early musical training remains an influence: “If we could see spoken words, if we could see music, somehow see a measure of the sound, thatʼs what I paint.”
The exhibition will feature original artwork as well as reproduction prints created by pushdot. Our collaboration with Murdza exemplifies pushdotʼs mission to work with and promote local artists, and it also marks our first show featuring a fellow Ford Building tenant. Check out more of Murdzaʼs work at
CONTACT: Ann Ploeger, 503-224-5925,
PUSHDOT STUDIO: In addition to being a digital art gallery, pushdot studio is a digital imaging resource for artists, graphic designers, and photographers who require high quality scanning, image composition and color work, prepress and archival printing services.

Artist Charles Sites has organized a benefit auction.  Thank you to all the artists who generously supported the cause, and to benefactors as well!

The art is up and can be bid on throughout the week at 7 virtues coffee shop.  The event will  conclude this Saturday from 6:30 to 900. Please plan to attend and encourage your friends, cat lovers, art lovers, etc. to also attend.

Ceramic Showcase

This weekend is a busy one for the arts and crafts.  Ceramic Showcase, the largest exhibit of ceramic arts in the nation, is occurring April 29th, 30th, and May 1st at the Oregon Convention Center.  The event is free to attend and opens 10-9 Friday & Saturday; 10-5 on Sunday. Featuring demonstrations and play areas, 150 booths of original artwork, an auction, live music and Oregon wines, it is a window into the world of clay.  here is a video preview: 2010 Ceramic Showcase

Artists who participated in Portland Open Studios in 2010 who are exhibiting their work at Showcase include Kris Paul, Deb Shapiro, Babette Harvey, Maria Simon, Chayo Wilson and Sara Swink.

CAP Auction

From the desk of CAP comes these words: On Saturday, April 30, 2011, Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) will host the Annual Art Auction as we honor the organization’s 25th anniversary since incorporating. 

Over the past 22 years, this iconic event has brought over 1,000 artists, galleries, patrons, and community leaders together each year with the goal of raising much-needed funds for the essential programs and services CAP provides.  Considered by many to be one of Portland’s keystone fundraisers, this event was created by the local arts community in 1989 to raise funds in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  The Grand Event ($100/person) includes a salon-style silent auction of 280 artworks along with sweets and savories provided by 25 of Portland’s best food purveyors.  The Patron Dinner ($250/person) includes attendance at the Grand Event plus special entertainment, a gourmet meal, and an exclusive live auction featuring 15+ of the most outstanding artworks donated by prominent artists. An invitation accompanied by a color artwork catalog is published and mailed to 5,000 individuals, as well as distributed to 30 galleries.

The Guest Curator for 2011 is Terri M. Hopkins, Director of The Art Gym at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon. Ms. Hopkins will choose 10 to 12 live auction pieces and will coordinate  with a selection committee to choose up to 3 additional live auction artworks, 20 honorable mentions, and 280 silent auction pieces. 

Our Portland Open Studios artists who have contributed work to the juried auction : Theresa Andreas-O’Leary, Marcy Baker, Kindra Crick, Shawn Demarest, Jennifer Feeney, Kristin Fritz, Morgan Madison, Katherine Mead, Jesse Reno, Sabina Zeba Haque, Erika Lee Sears, Kelly Williams and Linda Womack.

For more information:

See you there!

Portland Open Studios shared information about our event with the art-loving public at an Art Fair organized by the Business and Culture for the Arts at the new YU Contemporary Art Museum on March 16.  Over 160 BCA members and guests joined 54 arts, culture and humanities organizations in an event marked by small performances and big networking opportunities.  Click here for a link to their website and be sure to check out the slide show: funny hats, singing young people, and our new banner attracting attention…

As you explore offerings in the art world at the monthly First Thursday Art Walk, be sure to swing by the Portland Center for Performing Arts where you will see a sampling of work by the artists that participated in the 2010 Portland Open Studios Tour. On view until March 31st.

The PCPA Gallery hosts quarterly art exhibits designed to integrate the work of Portland artists, galleries, organizations and curators into PCPA’s prominent venues. The series is coordinated by members of the PCPA Advisory Committee, a citizen committee appointed by the City of Portland that provides advocacy and counsel for the PCPA.

We are thrilled to be partnering with Portland Open Studios” says PCPA Executive Director, Robyn Williams, “the show offers the unique opportunity for many people who visited the open studios to see the finished products that were still in their infancy during the tour.”

February 3rd at the opening

Here are some images from last month’s First Thursday reception on February 3rd. Media and materials used include: acrylic, aquatint, bamboo, ceramics, charcoal, collage, copper etching, encaustic, fabric, glitter, gold leaf, gouache, graphite, ink, oil, pastel, photographs, porcelain, produce bags, steel, thread, Tyvek, watercolor, wire, wood, and woodcut prints.

a view of the PCPA rotunda

We also thoroughly enjoyed the ambient sound of Deklun and Pace.  Thank you so much for providing aural accompaniment to the lovely evening.

Deklun and Pace played music at the opening as well

Portland Open Studios: A Survey of the 2010 Artists is on view through March 31st. For more information, the public is invited to call 503.248.4335 or visit

The Time is Now! Apply Here

Call to Artists

Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 Portland Open Studios Tour!

Every year we get the word out to as many artists as we can in the hopes of having an exciting, vibrant tour chock-full of talented artists. Maybe participating in the 2011 Portland Open Studios Tour is in your future? Applications are accepted through March 15th, but starting the process early is a great idea. Once you’ve completed the information page your application is saved and you can return at anytime through March 15th to add images, remove images, edit information, etc.  Also, you save $10 if your application and jury fee are received by March 8th.

This year we are thrilled to have the following jurors:

Modou Dieng is an Assistant Painting and Drawing Professor at PNCA. Dieng is known internationally for his multidisciplinary artistic work conceptualizing visions of contemporary life. He has exhibited with numerous galleries including Steve Turner Gallery (Los Angeles), Pascal Polar Gallery (Brussels), Museum of Contemporary African and Diaspora Art (NY), and Carousel du Louvre (Paris). Dieng is the founder and curator of Portland’s Worksound Gallery.

Elise Wagner has been a working and exhibiting artist in Portland for over twenty years. Best known for her deft handling of the encaustic medium, Wagner teaches both nationally and internationally. Wagner is represented locally by Butters Gallery in addition to Chase Young Gallery in Boston, Hallway Gallery in Bellevue, WA and Aberson Exhibits in Tulsa, OK. Elise Wagner was the recipient of a 2010 Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant to fund concurrent 2011 solo exhibitions in Boston and at the Sordoni Art Gallery in Wilkes Barre, PA.

Mark Woolley founded one of the first galleries in the Pearl District in 1993. Known initially as Acanthus Gallery the space featured emerging, mid-career and iconic late career painters and sculptors as well as challenging and provocative “outsider” artists and socio-political installations. For the last 17 years, Woolley has been a force for moving the visual and performing arts forward in Portland and co-founded the Wonder Ballroom in 2005. He currently curates a variety of independent spaces and sponsors select shows throughout the Portland area.

Many additional application questions can be answered on our website’s Apply page or by sending an e-mail to

Best of Luck!

New kinetic sculptures and a juried selection of photography executed through a pinhole camera is on exhibit at the Brian Marki Fine Art Gallery for the months of December and January.  The show opens this Friday, Dec. 3, 5-8pm, 2010.

Thomas Hughes kinetic sculpture, detail

The gallery is located at 2236 NE Broadway in Portland, OR and is open from Monday – Saturday 10 – 5.  The show is open from December 2 – January 29

for more information, contact

by Morgan Madison

Liv unveils a fresh print in her studio.

Liv Rainey-Smith is a Portland, OR based printmaker.  She was first introduced to the medium while earning her BFA from Oregon College of Arts and Crafts.  I meet Liv Rainey-Smith at Atelier Meridian, the print making studio and arts community in North Portland where she creates her wonderfully imaginative woodcut prints.  It is quickly striking how articulate and well considered she is in our conversation.  It shows a thoughtfulness that comes from a life spent immersed in books and stories.  Indeed, Liv’s interest in these forms of communication and what they can reveal about humanity comes from a very personal place.

As a child Liv faced serious challenges.  She was born with only one ear and a serious heart defect.  At the age of 4 she went through open heart surgery and was in and out of hospitals for her ear up until her early teens.  Liv says; “These experiences helped create a love of reading and creating as well as a fascination with anatomy and mythology.”  These influences are readily apparent in her prints, which are populated with distinctive patterns and fantastical creatures rendered in a crisp graphic style.

Capybara, Woodcut Print, Edition of 30, 8” x 10”, 2010

Capybara is a wonderful example.  Its half rodent/half fish subject sits in regal repose, like some mythological creature.  Liv explains; “The story behind the capybara is that it is the world’s largest rodent, and because it is semi-aquatic it is supposedly considered a fish for purposes of consumption on Fridays and during Lent.  So the print is my ‘early explorer’ illustration of the wondrous rodent-fish of the new world.”  The story and image together reveal enough to set the stage for the viewer’s imagination to take over.  The same can be said for a piece like Egress, whose spirit-like subject swirls in the ether while breathing a plume of fire.  It is a part of her ongoing series Iunges, which depicts otherworldly messengers, angels of communication.  They seem like visitors from some vivid dream.  In fact, Liv cites her own dreams as another source of inspiration for her work.

Egress, Woodcut Print, Edition of 7, 14” x 20”, 2010

This combination of personal experiences with the symbolism of myths and storytelling gives Liv’s work an enigmatic and compelling character.  It inspires a search for meaning that mirrors beautifully the process by which she creates it.  In woodcut printing, ink is applied to paper by a block of wood that has been carved to create a design in relief.  Liv begins most of her pieces with drawings.  However, as she chooses a block and begins to carve Liv pays careful attention to the unique character of each piece of wood.  Its personality and quirks help guide her decisions, and as she reveals the story within the wood block it helps shape the story she shares with us.

To see her process in person and to hear Liv speak about her work and inspiration be sure to make her studio (#62) a stop on your 2010 tour of Portland Open Studios.

Liv’s work will be featured with another Portland Open Studios artist in; Liminal: Paintings by Chris Haberman and Woodcut Prints by Liv Rainey-Smith at Pearl Gallery and Framing, October 7th – November 2nd, with an artists’ reception on opening night.

Her work can also be seen at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, October 1-3 and as part of the Portland Tarot Project show at Splendorporium, November 15 – January 2.

Visit to see her work online.

by Bonnie Meltzer
Portland Open Studios artists at Museum of Contemporary Craft
Showcase in the Lab, 2nd floor
September 14 – October 23
724 NW Davis

Artists will be at the museum from 6:00 to 8:00 on First Thursday, May 7
Admission free during First Thursday

Final Demonstrations
October 23, 1:00 – 4:00
Glass: Carli Schultz Kruse and Kat Hargis

view of the full case

Portland Open Studios is open to artists of all visual art disciplines
In the call to Portland Open Studios artists for this exhibit there were only two restrictions.  The obvious one was that it had to fit in the case but the second was more ambiguous. The work had to be craft. That might seem straightforward as well until you see that Portland Open Studios artists have stretched and pulled the definition of craft.  They have blurred the definitions even within their chosen craft as well. It used to be that craft meant a beautiful functional object.  Yes, there are those items in the case but ….  There is an unreadable book, its pages shredded and sewn; a clay quilt; a giant bead that would cause the wearer a trip to the chiropractor if worn; an unwearable wooden dress with crocheted wire; a bowl that is not a container but a slowly revolving landscape; and a piece of sculpture that has a surprising opening devise that reveals a space for storage.

There is a national annual exhibition that might help define craft a bit.  It is called “SOFA”, sculptural objects and functional art. Gwen Jones adds this definition, “Craft is art at work”.

Gwen and her husband Kenneth Forcier of Gracewood Design fit that definition very well.  If their stencil painted floor cloths were hung on a wall would they be paintings and not craft? Is it their functionality that makes them craft?  The stencils can be used more than once to create editions (like printmaking) or used in different configurations and combination to make a whole new design.  Does that change the art/ craft balance? Because they are floor cloths and not just paintings they need more technical prowess to make them withstand footsteps and heavy tables. In any case they are also well crafted.

Sewn Clay by Carolyn Drake

Carolyn Drake’s thoughts give insight into the subject in general and specifically to her own work.  “Each craft has traditional associations that accompany it; in ceramics, for instance, vessels nourish, sustain, store, keep things safe.  They imply longevity and are a measure of plenty.  Sewing and quilting bring to mind comfort, security, making-do, warmth, family, and tradition (among other things).  What I am currently utterly fascinated with is what happens when you mesh crafts, and therefore mesh associations. The familiar turns strange, and the associations can become complicated and destabilized”. You can see what happens when you combine media when Carolyn Drake sews clay.  At one of the museum demonstrations at the museum she brought leather hard clay sheets which were perforated with hundreds of holes. A conversation with the visitors to the museum revealed all the technical problems so many holes can cause.  She solved the problem of glaze which would fill the holes during firing necessitating labor intensive reopening them.  Instead of glaze she uses oxides rubbed onto the body of the clay and different kinds of firing methods to obtain color.  The piece in the showcase is made of many small clay pieces sewn together.  In subsequent work she is making larger slabs with a carved block pattern replicating the quilt blocks. Technically, she isn’t sewing to connect her pieces of clay “fabric”  she is embroidering on one bigger piece of clay .

Cat Hargis and Christine Zachery

Cat Hargis and Christine Zachery

When one mixes two different media the attachment of the two takes thought from the inception of the design. Cat Hargis’s combines semiprecious gems and other stones onto her kiln-formed glass platters as a kind of jewelry for glass. Attaching the gems and stones create some of the same kinds of issues Carolyn faces. She has to drill holes in the glass to accommodate the “necklaces” before the final firing. If she does it later she can’t achieve the textures she wants on the final piece. It is no surprise that she once was a jeweler.

Christine Zachery applied to Portland Open Studios as a painter so I was surprised when her mosaic was entered into the MOCC exhibit.  The thing that makes this piece so successful is that she has made the technique of mosaic fit to her work rather than the other way around. Look closely, this is no normal grout filled mosaic. She says, “My method was not to try to do anything new but simply to enrich the surface”.  She may have done both. She develops her  composition as an oil painting and then applies a loose collage of glass pieces over it.  Silver leaf under the glass adds to the sparkle. The painting shows through, in various levels of transparency,  the clear or monochromatic glass. Previous to making these hybrid mosaic paintings she had been adding metal shavings, ground glass and glass pieces directly onto the paint surface. ”Later, I realized that I could go deeper by having an underpainting which shows through the surface”.

Amy Maule

Amy Maule

Although Amy Maule’s work is clay she works in contrasts. The elegant, sleek, smooth white teapot sits atop a pair of chunky, sturdy and textured toddler legs. “I combine tight, wheel-thrown pieces with loose, organic, coil-built pieces to emphasize the difference between the two methods of construction.”

The exhibit and the demonstrations at the museum can help YOU define craft for yourself but it is only a sliver of what each artist does.  To get the whole picture visit the studios of these artists (and others) to see everything– Not only the techniques but all that surrounds an artist at work. The tools, materials, and, of course, many pieces of artwork in various stages of doneness. Factors that influences artists — the article pinned up on the wall; the collections of objects artists use for inspiration; the gardens surrounding the studios are what you can expect.  At the museum see the breadth of Portland Open Studios with artworks of many artists in a pristine environment. During Portland Open Studios you get the depth of each artist.
See it all and continue the conversation.

Tour Guides to Portland Open Studios can be purchased at the Museum shop.

These artists have work in the exhibition. A”*”  indicates additional article about the artist on this blog.

Mary Bennett *
Debra Carus
Carolyn Drake
Sylvia Emard
Greg Hanson
Barbara Gilbert
Gracewood Design-Gwen Jones & Ken Forcier
Cat Hargis
Jeanne Henry
Laurene Howell
Thomas Hughes *
Carli Schultz Kruse
Amy Maule
Robert MC Williams *
Bonnie Meltzer *
Carole Opie
Careen Stoll
Marcy Stone
Christine Zachery

Navigate the Portland Open Studio tour from the palm of your hand.  If you have an iPhone, we have an app for that! This year you may use your Portland Open Studios iPhone app as your tour guide and map to make it easy for you to find the art you love.

Indulge your curiosity with this interactive version of our time-tested Tour Guide. The new iPhone app includes information for all 100 artists, images of their artwork, plus information about our 2010 community partner, Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) which brings the healing power of art to children in crisis.

The 2010 tour is on October 9, 10 and 16, 17 (always the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October). All 100 artists’ studios are open from 10am to 5pm, and artists will be on hand to demonstrate their process and answer questions during those hours

Info for an artist you can watch at work

Featuring the same quality images of work by every artist, their contact information and directions, the application places each studio location on a map. Then, when you are ready to travel to the next studio, the app links into iPhone’s GPS-guided maps function to take you there step by step.   Other features of the application include the ability to highlight your favorites artist studios, sort by medium of choice, make notes about your experience at the studio, receive last minute information from the tour organizers, and provide feedback that will help all visitors and artists in the future.  Then keep the artists contact information for future reference as holidays, anniversaries or birthdays approach. A list of wheelchair-accessible studios is also available.

The application is $14.99  a penny less than the printed Tour Guide:  Download your Portland Open Studios iPhone app here!

Find out more about the Portland Open Studios tour at

A special thanks to board member Shu-Ju Wang and developer John Roberts at MindWarm, Inc. for creating this wonderful application.

By Shu-Ju Wang

A visit to Martin Waugh’s studio is a singular experience.

The art being made is invisible to the naked eye for its size and the speed at which it’s traveling. In the time that it takes a water droplet to fall 10 inches and a second water droplet to follow right behind, the camera and multiple flashes must be synchronized to  catch the droplets in action at the precise moment. Timing is everything and it’s measured in 1/1000 of a second.

Below, Good Catch.

Martin Waugh is a physicist and engineer, a tinkerer, builder, an inventor, artist, and is on his way to become a noun as well. A “Martin Waugh” is something that people refer to when they talk about one of his images. You may have already seen his work without realizing it–he has created commercial and design work for advertising, magazines, corporations and television. And he lives among us, right here in Portland!

Above, Narcissi.

While high speed photography has been with us for over a century, first made famous with Muybridge’s photographs of the horse galloping, and then later Edgerton’s image of the bullet piercing an apple, the advent of digital photography revolutionized the field. Timing became much more precise and minutely adjustable. And with the camera tethered to and controlled by a computer, you can see the images immediately and continue to fine tune until you capture the exact moment, whether it’s time of impact or 3/1000 second past impact.

Having this level of control with his equipment, Martin is able to experiment and play with other variables, such as different liquids used or different coloring agents. He has photographed cream dropping into coffee and he can tell you which kind of dyes changes the water behavior (aniline dyes) and which muddies up the water (food dyes).

But hold on, not so fast, for all is not so easily said and done.

While Martin has built a high speed photography studio to control timing and lighting, and to reduce vibration, there is much that is beyond his control. Take water, for example. Even with the water that comes out of his tap, there are many parameters that influence the outcome that can be out of his control–minute changes in water temperature, ambient temperature, changes in the amount of water in his catch basin. And although he didn’t say so, I imagine the hardness or softness of the water matters, and that probably changes in minuscule amounts constantly.

Above, Martin setting up his rig and camera, getting ready for another shot.

It is clear that Martin finds pleasure and joy in these unknowns; it’s what gives him room for play and opportunity for chance encounters. And from these unknowns, a wonderful world of motion, color, form and science are captured and presented to the audience.

Martin has the kind of humor and innocence that one associates with a creative genius who doesn’t have a clue that he is one…although I think he might be catching on. Having been a photographer since junior high, he always thought the real photographers were those other people who were doing this or that; in other words, somebody other than him, doing something other than what he was doing. Until he realized that he was making a real contribution to the field of high speed photography–mainly, the use of backlighting to photograph transparent subjects.

And in another first that he’s eager to try–high speed photography of DNA suspended in water. The long strands of DNA creates a ‘stickiness’ in the liquid that Martin expects will change the behavior of his liquid sculptures in unpredictable and exciting ways.

You can visit Martin’s studio during Portland Open Studios on October 9, 10, 16 & 17. Martin is artist number 21.

You can also see some of his work at the Art Institute of Portland, 1122 NW Davis Street; the exhibit is up from September 2 through 30.

To see more of Martin Waugh’s work online, please visit his website at

To learn more about Portland Open Studios, please visit

by Carolyn Hazel Drake

You could describe Dr. Robert McWilliams as a career outsider artist.  For almost forty years, he has been channeling his humor, collector’s eye, and unique perspective into sculptures that resonate with human experience on an individual, yet somehow universal, scale.  He is quick to point out, however, that while he has been in dozens of shows, “I still tell people that I am an amateur artist rather than a real artist… I’ve never had any art training and I’m more amazed than anyone that I’m still making and showing art at age seventy.”

Yet it’s difficult to reconcile the word amateur with Robert’s work.  The freshness and playfulness in his approach to form, surface, and subject matter come from a thoughtful, practiced hand and mind – a mind that just happens to have a good sense of humor. The success of a piece like Conductor, for instance, demands that the relationship between the metal (early 19th century hand-forged gate hinges) and the wood (walnut), the diagonal angles, the distribution of emphasis, and the negative space all combine to strike a balance that still maintains some tension.


The title Conductor also works at several levels: the implied conductor at his podium, but also the original role of the gate hinge as a sort of conductor of individuals going to and fro, and finally the electric and thermal conducting quality of metal.  Many of his titles play with meaning this way, simultaneously poking fun and making reference.

Robert’s love of folk and outsider art initially evolved from a very practical need: inexpensive furniture.  He turned this need into a skill: “My experience refinishing and repairing furniture gave me an appreciation of the complex patinas that old wood and iron surfaces acquire.  My interest in antiques, crafts and folk art led me to begin woodcarving, which later came to include other kinds of sculpture.”

With a doctorate in geology, Robert had a successful thirty-year career as a professor at Ohio’s Miami University.  He sees his career as distinct from his life as a collector and maker of art, but inasmuch as geology is also the study of the effect of time on the earth, it seems fitting that the themes and materials in his work acknowledge time through personal narrative, found materials, and patina: “Almost every piece I make has a personal story behind it.  My work combines whimsy, humor, irony and nostalgia.”

If Dreams Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride

“I carved If Dreams Were Horses Beggars Would Ride, and like many other times, I named my work after I made it, using Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations for inspiration.  The quote is from John Ray 1627-1705, who I have never read or heard of, but who also coined the phrases ‘blood is thicker than water,’ ‘money begets money’ and ‘misery loves company’.  The quote fits the piece … I guess it reminds me of when I was an impoverished student.”

The Cow that Jumped Over the Moon

The Cow That Jumped Over the Moon is made of a foundry wheel, drawer pulls, a wooden salad bowl and the bushing from the wheel.

Portrait of the Artist as a Turkey

Portrait of the Artist as a Turkey is made from a stainless steel teapot, a stove burner liner and the front of an old drawer.  The back has a bull’s eye for aiming your foot at his rear end.  The inscription is ‘Lord, I am not worthy’.  It is painted with artist’s lead base oil paint, which gives it an unusually solemn patina.  It’s all about pomposity and a reminder not to take myself too seriously, which most of the time I don’t.”

Robert’s studio is not to be missed during the tour.  He openly acknowledges just how fortunate he is to have space, light, and a view from Mt. Tabor (not to mention parquet floors, a wet bar, and a fireplace!).

“I call my work Visionary Sculpture because I don’t know what else to call it,” says Robert. The title seems apt – and anything but accidental.

The Passion Lab Gallery @ Contemporary Arts Kitchen in Klamath Falls presents New Paintings: The Body and Society in Motion.  These 17 recent works by Allen Schmertzler will be presented in a one-man show that will reflect on current concerns of our contemporary society.  September 9th thru October 7th, 2010

The gallery is open from monday – sunday 10 – 5 pm and is located at 809 Main Street in Klamath Falls, Oregon

for further information, contact:

An exhibit by Anne Greenwood, Helen Hiebert, Diane Jacobs and Shu-Ju Wang, and a video by Andrew Wade Smith.

Glenn and Viola Walters Arts Center
527 East Main Street
September 7 – September 29, 2010
Gallery Hours & Info

Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 7, 6-8pm
Potluck Picnic: Saturday, September 18, 11:30am-2:30pm

The installation For the Love of Food had its genesis in a conversation between Anne Greenwood, Helen Hiebert, Diane Jacobs, and Shu-Ju Wang, a group of Portland, Oregon artists who have been meeting monthly for the past five years. Greenwood’s concerns about the decline in the nutritional value of the foods we consume prompted the group to investigate the various issues surrounding food in our modern cultures.

The exhibit will feature an installation of an imaginary dining room table and also includes a video component with the assistance from media artist Andrew Wade Smith.

Please also join the artists in a potluck picnic on September 18, 11:30am to 2:30pm, on the east lawn of the Walters Arts Center.

September is Hunger Action Month and the Walters Arts Center is hosting a food drive for the Oregon Food Bank; please bring a can of food or other non-perishable items when you come see the show!

Andrea Benson, Ken Hochfeld, Todd Griffith and Bonnie Meltzer at

325 NW 5 (between Everett and Flanders)
Portland OR 97209

September 2 – 30, 2010
Opening reception 6:00 to 10:00 on First Thursday, September 2
Open house with the artists 4:00 to 7:00 on Thursday, September 16
503- 224-5721

Exhibition postcard

Inspired by the scientific study “Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String”, four artists, Andrea Benson, Ken Hochfeld, Todd Griffith and Bonnie Meltzer, untangle the theme of intentional and unintentional interconnectedness at Anka Gallery through the month of September. The researchers of the experiment Douglas Smith and Dorian Raymer of the University of California, San Diego, studied knot formation. They dropped a string into a box and tumbled it for 10 seconds. They repeated the process over and over with different sized strings of various flexibility. The results were that knots happen without specifically being tied. It is no surprise to anyone who has crawled under a desk to untangle electronics cords; brushed long curly hair or tried to conquer blackberry brambles; that knots happen without provocation. Furthermore, the longest most flexible strings in the most spacious confinements became most entangled. Stiff short strings in confined spaces don’t knot. Stuff bags work because of the confined space while a big box of many spools of sewing thread is always a tangle.

Metaphorically a tangle is used to describe all manner of social, political and emotional issues and problems. Read the news and see more than one gordian knot that needs to be cut or see examples of the “Butterfly Effect”. On another note, think of love, that magical intertwining of lives. What on the surface might seem like a narrow and somewhat trivial subject matter has become a basis to visually express a host of other subjects — nature, human impact on the environment, the conflicts of growing up and world events. Visually and metaphorically the artists are united by their interest in interconnectedness, fragmentation and the beauty in apparent chaos. The theme ties Hochfeld, Benson, Griffith and Meltzer together into a string quartet but they remain distinct in their use of materials and how they tell the story.

In 2008 Bonnie Meltzer heard about the theory and immediately called Ken Hochfeld whose photographs of thickets seemed like a perfect expression of the theory. They decided to pursue the idea for a group exhibition. A short time later Meltzer invited to the exhibition planning two other artists who she knew through Portland Open Studios. Andrea Benson’s encaustic paintings of unraveling dresses wound into balls of yarn and Todd Griffith’s large paintings of tangled balls of string were perfect additions to Hochfeld’s photography and Meltzer’s tangible tangles of crocheted wire and found objects.. The group met over months and wrote a proposal for the exhibition which is opening at Anka Gallery on September 2.


Bonnie Meltzer
The very nature of Bonnie Meltzer’s work is an entanglement. She uses “very mixed media” to describe her sculpture which connects multiple techniques and materials (painted wood, found objects and crocheted wire) into one piece. Crocheted wire, a primary technique she uses, is a deliberate and structured knotting in itself but it often ties the disparate elements of a piece together visually and stucturally. In this series she has explored the taming of everyday tangles — hair; phone cords; thread; head and heart; and past and present.

Todd Griffith
Todd Griffith’s knot paintings and drawings from his series “Transitions and Patience” show controlled chaos. The knots appear to be in nice neat bundles, but on closer inspection the order is illusionary. The string is tangled, and more often than not is escaping from its confines. For Griffith, the knots are metaphors for the confusions, stresses and emotions one faces. The title is apt for this series. Patience is as necessary a character trait for navigating change as it is for unraveling a knotted ball of yarn.

Ken Hochfeld
With the series “Threads”, Hochfeld captures a personal interpretation of nature’s lyrical grace and mystery in found and somewhat created, fanciful circumstances. He imagined these photographs of vine entanglements and branches as visual equivalents to short verses, each with its own particular melody, created with expressionistic brush strokes of reality and imagination. To common scenes of what we otherwise interpret as disorder and confusion, he perceives as a sense of balance, rhythm and continuum, as seen through open windows of photographic frames.

Andrea Benson
Andrea Benson’s figurative mixed media paintings use multiple layers of encaustic and drawing to focus on gesture, stance and a state of mind that is both personal and cultural. In a tattered and constantly ever-changing unraveling world where everything is enmeshed and entangled they explore a point between confusion, entropy and repose.

You can see Entangled through September at Anka Gallery, 325 NW 6 in Portland, Oregon. Two events are planned with the artists: Opening night Thursday, September 2 from 6:00 to 10:00 and Thursday, September 16 from 4:00 to 7:00. Both events are free and open to the public. To see more about the Entangled with pictures of artworks go to the project website at

By Shu-Ju Wang

When you look up into the night sky, you see the beautiful light of the stars, light that was emitted thousands, millions or billions of years ago, in a time before people, before earth.

The light from this distant past is just now reaching your eyes, passing through your cornea, passing through your pupil, your crystalline lens, hitting the retina. The signal is now traveling on the optic nerve and finally arrives at your brain. The brain receives the signals, interprets and makes sense of what it sees.

And our ancestors, seeking to understand what they saw, created the constellations in which heroes, villains, lovers and seekers live out their lives in full view of us mortals.

Fast forward a few thousand years.

You’re in Jesse Reno’s studio, looking at his work. And that can make you feel old. I mean ancient, like a few thousand years old. Seeing his work is to know what our ancestors experienced when they looked up into the night sky and saw epic poems and morality tales written in starlight.

Like a shaman, Jesse Reno can take you to a vastly different time and place. And like a shaman, you can imagine earth’s energy coming up through his feet, his legs and his torso. And then through his arms and hands, paints and pigments spill out, forming the new constellations of an alternate universe.

Below, Reborn, acrylic, oil pastel and pencil on wood.

As a child, Jesse dreamed of selling his drawings for $5 each. He thought he would have it made if he could just do that. On the way to growing up, he got side tracked. First, there was a stint as an would-be offset printer, and another as a would-be rock star. At one of his rock concerts, he met a band mate’s little brother’s best friend, a painter. The two connected and Jesse started to paint in Chris Giordani’s studio.

The first year, Jesse created 100 paintings. Using very simple geometric images of circles, lines, Xs, half bodies and figures, he played with colors and techniques, experimenting all the while thinking about the action and energy of painting.

He painted each panel over and over again, each time saving a little window so that he could remember what it once was. After a while, the simple forms and shapes acquired meanings, so he put them on his body to better remember them.

Over the years, his work evolved–animal characters started to appear and his art became more complex in imagery and concept. To step up his effort to remember the past lives of the paintings after so much layering and obliteration, Jesse started to write down his thoughts on the back of the panels.

guardian of keys protector of kings granting black dreams the collector soul collector keeps the spirit the order of dreams the value of freedom the value of a dollar he burnt all his money to unearth his heart then he became locking keys deep beneath golden pyramids gumming the keyholes swallowing dollars like gum drops that was all just yesterday now he’s just an awkward boy bouncing skeletons while wearing a dress hoping someone will see things the way he does

Above, Guardian of Keys Protector of Kings, acrylic pastel, pencil, collage and driftwood.

It should come as no surprise that Jesse had wanted to study archeology and loves The American Museum of Natural History in New York City. And it should also come as no surprise that when ebay came along, Jesse was able to fulfill his childhood dream of selling his work at ‘$5 each,’ although it probably wasn’t for $5…

Over the years, he has garnered the attention of collectors worldwide and, as a result, has travelled and exhibited his work internationally, most recently in France.

Portlanders are in luck–come October, you can see for yourselves how this rising international star go about creating his work in his workspace. Jesse Reno is artist #71 in the Portland Open Studios 2010 tour. Please see for more information about the event.

You can see more of Jesse’s work on his website at And for the month of August, Jesse is showing at Local35 (see, with a live painting event on Sunday, August 15 at the Hawthorne Street Fair.

Below, Jesse & his dog in his studio.

By Shu-Ju Wang

It’s in the genes, both literally and metaphorically, when you talk about art and science and their roles in Kindra Crick’s life and work.

From her grandfather, a neuroscientist, she inherited the drive for scientific inquiry. From her grandmother, a figurative painter, she inherited her need for artistic expression and visual conceptualization.

And from this genetic blueprint of her life, Kindra has created the two strands of her work–art & science–intertwined like a double helix.

Below, Ties III, Encaustic mixed media and string.

Kindra Crick graduated from Princeton University with a AB in Molecular Biology. Deciding that another 8 years for a PhD in Molecular Biology wasn’t in the works for her, she chose instead to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned a Certificate in Painting before moving to Portland to become a full time artist working in painting and printmaking.

Using art as her medium to explore the world around her while employing the analytical skills and methods of a scientist, Kindra balances her urge to explain, to measure, to search for absolutes, with the more spontaneous and nuanced gestures of experimentation, play and intuitive response.

Starting with building and preparing her substrates where precision and timing are important, to the founding thoughts for that particular piece–perhaps a statement based on scientific experiments or maybe a query into something science has yet to answer–she creates the constraints for her work. From there, she allows herself the luxury of not having to explain, to simply respond to the parameters she has created.

But as she works, more often than not, her intuitive responses cover and sometimes obliterate her original marks and intentions. And that brings us to the philosophical question that interests Kindra–after it has been obliterated, does that original meaning still exist? And how much does one need to call attention to this original intention? How does the viewer go about discovering the seed of an idea? And finally, how does understanding and perception affect what they see?

And how does one go about creating a painting about perception?

In a recent series of work, Kindra investigates how the heart became a symbol for love. How is it that we have come to perceive the anatomical heart as the seat of love? In another on-going series, drawings of eyes are captured in jars–much like biological specimens–expressing identifiable human emotions that challenge the viewers to decode. Our ability or inability to perceive these emotions fascinates Kindra.

Above, Emotion Elixir: Desire I, encaustic mixed media and string.

Kindra discovered encaustic a few years back, but it wasn’t until she built her own studio in her backyard, with great ventilation, that she was able to really delve into the  medium. And she has found home.

The medium allows her to do all the things she loves–to obliterate and to rediscover, to embed drawings and watercolors, to incise, to write. And most importantly, as a mother with a toddler, to allow her to work when she has just snippets of time here and there. The medium is simply infinitely reworkable by introducing heat. The tools and paints can be left to dry, and to spring back to life when heated. Likewise, work in progress  can be worked & re-worked without time constraints.

Below, a corner of Kindra’s studio.

Kindra Crick has been an active member of the Portland Open Studios board for the last three years. And hidden from public view, she has worked with a graphics designer to create the beautiful Portland Open Studios Tour Guides these past three years. Both the participating artists and the art-loving public owe a big “thank you” to this multi-talented artist!

Kindra is artist #58 in the 2010 Portland Open Studios tour. For more information about Portland Open Studios, please see our website at

You can see more of Kindra’s work on her website at She is also part of the International Women Artists’ Exhibition at Littman Gallery in August:

Her Presence in Colours IX

Littman Gallery, PSU
1825 SW Broadway, Smith Building
August 5 – 27
Reception on August 5, 5-7pm

Please see this page for more information.

Guardino Gallery to show the work of four artists, including ceramics, painting, and encaustics/mixed media by our very own Bridget Benton. Reception tonight! Thursday, July 29th, 6-9 pm 2010.  show continues July 29 – August 22, 2010

Bridget Benton: Seducing the Bowerbird

Guardino is located at

2939 NE Alberta, Portland, OR 97211
and is open Tuesday, 11-5, Wed-Sat, 11-6, Sunday, 11-4

information at:

on Facebook as:
Bridget Benton (page for Eyes Aflame)

Submitter on Twitter as:

Portland Open Studios Homepage

Learn more about the Open Studios weekends, where to purchase tour guides, see images of each artist's work, find links to artists' web sites, and much more at Portland Open Studios.


Listen to interviews with Portland Open Studios artists (and more) at Mike Turner's website.


August 2020