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.
The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts is presents the work of Coos County sculptor Ken Ayers in the Coastal Oregon Visual Artist Showcase at the Newport Visual Arts Center from February 5 to March 26. Ayers’ exhibit, “Bronze Works: Still (Life) & Drift (Wood), will feature bronze works composed from natural forms found in Southwestern Oregon, created through the mold-making lost-wax process. A reception for the exhibition will be held at the VAC on February 5, 5-7pm, and an artist talk will be held at 6:30pm during the reception.
“These bronze evocations were inspired while hunting and gathering in forests, on beaches, or even online,” Ken Ayers says. “Just as Asian philosophical systems like Chan/Zen Buddhism and Taoism developed out of an intimate relationship with nature, these works attempt to realize an ambition once articulated by one of my mentors, Isamu Noguchi, to create sculpture from the perspective of nature, not from that of mankind.”
Utilizing the mold-making lost-wax process, Ken Ayers has cast works from kelp plants, driftwood, bark, gourds, reeds, nuts, willows, leaves and exotic pods. He carefully selects material for the bases on which the bronze works sit, such as rustic maple wood or African Wenge.
Ken Ayers has been included in national competitions such as the 2013 and 2014 Will Creek Survey in Cumberland, Maryland, the 2011 Annual Juried Fine Art Competition at the Gertrude Institute of Art in Augusta, Georgia, and the 2005 International Exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute, among other national competitions. A retrospective of his bronze work was shown at the Southwestern Oregon Community College in 2013, while a retrospective of his wood/jute sculpture was held in the same location in 2006.
Ken Ayers grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, on a flat, sagebrush desert plateau, while spending summers in the Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine high country bordering Montana and Wyoming. “Alternating between desert and mountainous terrains created a geographical bipolarity in my mind, a kinship for silent space and animated forest,” he says. “Both desert and mountain forest invoke solitude, vastness and power.”
Ken Ayers graduated from the School of International Service at American University in Washington D.C. and then spent a year in the Peace Corp in Nepal. From there he entered a PhD program in history at Emory University on a Ford Fellowship but left graduate school in 1972 to move back to Washington D.C. to become a writer and painter. For several years, he was a painter working entirely in acrylics but in the late-1970s, he started working in sculpture and never looked back. And while he went on to earn a JD from the Hastings College of Law (University of California) and supported himself as an attorney in San Francisco for 20 years, he continued to create sculptures and showed his work at solo exhibitions on campus as well as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Rental Gallery. He also landed a sculptural piece in the 16th Annual Exhibition at the Pleiades Gallery in New York City.
Ayers arrived in Bandon, Oregon, in 2002 and has created works for numerous regional galleries and been selected for nine national competitions. “For thirteen years, home has been a rain forest on the southwest coast of Oregon, three miles from Bandon,” Ken Ayers says. “During this time, I have always been aware of the movement of time unfolding in the ecology of the specific place I happen to be.
The COVAS Showcase is open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4pm.
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