Upstairs Gallery: Frank Werner

presented by: Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA)

Starts:Friday, November 01, 2013  12:00 PMEnds:Sunday, December 01, 2013  4:00 PM



Newport Visual Arts Center

777 NW Beach Drive
Newport, OR 97365 

Directions: Google Maps and other online mapping programs can have a problem directing you to the VAC. Here are the easiest directions to follow: heading north or south on Hwy. 101, turn west on NW 3rd St. Proceed straight down the hill. At the second stop sign, turn right. One short block later, turn left under Nye Beach archway. Proceed straight to Nye Beach turnaround and parking lot. The VAC is the large blue and gray building off the turnaround. To director offices and upper parking lot: turn west of Hwy. 101 at NW 3rd St. Head down hill. At second stop sign, continue straight 1.5 blocks, with the Sylvia Beach Hotel remaining on your left. The VAC administrative offices can be accessed through the smaller, upper parking lot.

Event Description:

OCCA welcomes Frank Werner and his wood birds, decoys and rigs of decoys. The word decoy comes to us from the Dutch expression “ende-kooy,” in which ende (duck) and Kooy (a sort of trap or cage) are combined.

Decoys made of tule dating back almost 1200 years were discovered in a cave near Lovelock, Nev. in 1924. There are many forms of decoy carving.

“My birds follow a ‘Western Tradition’ in visual form, an eclectic mix of formal elements drawn from older established regional traditions. Mine have the flat bottoms, keels and hard chines so common to decoys from the upper Midwest,” Werner explained.

“My divers, the canvasbacks, scaup and redheads have the elegant Chesapeake-style heads riding atop chunky coastal Carolina bodies, “ he continued. “Mallard, pintail and wigeon heads, as in New England stool, assume a variety of attitudes. Their bodies, above the waterline, resemble decoys of the upper Delaware River.”

Werner began making decoys without much thought to anything other than hunting ducks. In 1983, the Idaho Commission on the Arts (ICA) began a survey of folk art and folk artists in Idaho.

He was “discovered and catalogued,” and, in 1984, ICA borrowed three of his ducks for a traveling folk art exhibition. He is still involved with ICA, working as a master artist for the Idaho Traditional Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program.

His experience with the exhibition brought him into contact with the contemporary arts community, beginning in the late 1980s, and the experience has been both productive and aesthetically satisfying. Werner has earned two Idaho Commission on the Arts Visual Arts Fellowships.

He has also written numerous articles for publications including Art Matters, Artifact Magazine, and Wildfowl Art.

“Decoys resemble live birds, more or less. Yet, I resist identifying them as representational art - such as a painting or a sculpture of some object,” Werner declared. “Mimetic art exists in order to represent something. Decoys exist in order to attract game to a place where it may be killed. The essence of this art form, its semiotic investment, its social, cultural and aesthetic identity emanates from what it is and what it is used for; not from what it looks like.” A variety of birds will be represented in this exhibit.

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