The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents artist Marcus “Mar” Lehrman in the Upstairs Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center from July 8-September 3. Lehrman’s exhibition, “Nye Beach Vernacular,” includes a series of acrylic on canvas and wood paintings depicting scenes around Newport’s Nye Beach neighborhood, home to the Newport Visual Arts Center and the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts. An opening reception will be held on July 8, 5-7pm, at the VAC and an artist talk will be held at 6:30pm during the reception.
Nye Beach is considered Newport’s historic beach community and one of Oregon’s quintessential urban beach neighborhoods. Spilling out of the Nye Creek watershed for several blocks north, east and south of the sea-wall “turnaround,” Nye Beach has been a popular beach community and destination since the late 1800s. Over 100 years of beach house and cottage design can be discerned in several historic buildings scattered throughout the neighborhood.
“This group of paintings began with local street scenes and neighborhood views,” says Marcus “Mar” Lehrman. “Individual buildings (and a few small groups of buildings) warranted closer attention. Over time, a series of house ‘portraits’ began to unfold. When painting urban scenes and buildings, one feels compelled to render with a higher degree of fidelity. Architecture makes demands on the artist. Architecture that has endured commands a measure of respect.”
Nye Beach has been changing rapidly over the past two decades. Small lot sizes and the desire for ocean views seem to predict more tall buildings in the neighborhood. “More changes are coming that will continue to threaten the historic character of this urban beach neighborhood,” says Lehrman. Most paintings in the “Nye Beach Vernacular” series were created within the last year.
“The ‘Nye Beach Vernacular’exhibit is hyper local and engaging,” says OCCA VAC Director Tom Webb. “Summer visitors to Nye Beach can compare Mar’s creative expressions with their actual, first-person experience, by simply walking out the gallery doors and down the neighborhood streets.”
Born in Ellensburg, Washington, Marcus “Mar” Lehrman grew up in Washington as well as Montana and Oregon. He has studied painting, sculpture and ceramics at colleges and universities across the Pacific Northwest, including the Seattle Museum School, University of Oregon and Lane Community College. Lehrman received his BS in institutional administration from Skidmore College and his masters in interdisciplinary studies from Western Oregon University. He has taught classes and workshops at Tillamook Community College, Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, Oregon Coast Community College and Lincoln County schools. Lehrman previously owned and operated a wood-fired stoneware pottery studio, and he has designed and built six traditional masonry garden houses in Mexico.
Marcus “Mar” Lehrman lives in Nye Beach with his wife Jody George. Together, they rescued an historic house and moved it to its present location on NW Coast Street. Their “Shore Pine Barn” home (circa 1910) also houses Arago Surf Gallery, featuring Lehrman’s painting and sculpture.
“Nye Beach Vernacular” is Lehrman’s first solo exhibition at the Newport Visual Arts Center.
The Upstairs Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4pm.
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