The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts is pleased to present “Wings Over the Sea,” an exhibition of drawings, paintings and mixed media by Mimi Cernyar Fox in the Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center from October 7 to November 27. A professional artist, Cernyar Fox has exhibited her work regionally, nationally and internationally. Her latest series, “Wings Over the Sea,” considers the preciousness of various marine birds and their declining populations. A First Friday opening reception will be held on October 7, with an artist talk scheduled for 5:45pm during the reception.
Though Mimi Cernyar Fox resides in Raymond, Washington, on the Willapa Bay in Western Washington, she is no stranger to the Oregon Coast. Over the past four decades, Cernyar Fox has lived, worked, studied, taught, and painted in Lincoln County. From 2004 to 2008, she led art classes for the Oregon Coast Community College at the Newport Visual Arts Center. During this time, she also received funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust to teach classes out of her painting studio in Yachats. Earlier, she took painting classes from William Runyan, the namesake of the VAC’s largest gallery and the instructor who encouraged her to pursue her BFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (1984) in Portland. Cernyar Fox went on to earn her MFA from Washington State University (1991) and to study theology and philosophy at the Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon.
“Wings Over the Sea” represents Mimi Cernyar Fox’s current focus on marine birds. Many of her large-scale drawings and mixed-media works are done atop printed fishing charts, adding a layer of factual and place-based contextualization. Her paintings, on the other hand, are more spontaneous color markings which create forward and backward movement, much like tidal waves themselves.
“In my drawings on marine fishing charts, I use the gull as a symbol to directly imply the seas,” says Cernyar Fox. “The charts have marks made by the fisherman charting their course in search of fish.” Another symbol she uses is a blue ship—“It is the navigator for the soul,” she says. “I hope to remind the viewer of the soul’s need for excursions into beauty and enchantment, while trusting where the winds blow, even as it moves through cold and dangerous waters.”
Mimi Cernya Fox has mastered the process of using mixed-media materials and media. In her drawing, “The Shadow of the Gull,” for example, Cernyar Fox works with charcoal, water-color ink wash, white-out and metallic paint on a marine fishing chart. In her painting, “”Windy Bay,” she uses acrylic and metallic paints, along with sand, on canvas.
Mimi Cernyar Fox is also no stranger to the sea or birds. For several years, she would venture out to sea with fishing crews as their boats’ cook. She has fished and cooked and painted on commercial fishing boats since the 1970s. In 2003, she crewed on the 83-foot Tuna Slayer, which, unfortunately, was itself slain by gale-force winds and blown back to port. (Given her affection for the sea, it is no surprise that Cerynar Fox also married a fellow fisherman, a crew member of the tuna boat The Boss.)
“During the brief times that I would have off on the fishing boats—long and lonely four-hour night watches—I would make sketches and color notations in my journal,” Cernyar Fox says. “My soul was intimately impacted by the ocean and enchanted by the birds.”
Mimi Cernyar Fox's exhibition history includes solo shows at the St. Marks Cathedral in New York City, the St. Francis Cathedral in San Francisco and the Galerie Etienne De Causans in Paris, France. She has had sole exhibits at the Brian Marki Gallery and the Blackfish Gallery in Portland, the Ryan Art Gallery in Lincoln City, the Astoria Visual Arts Gallery and the Newport Visual Arts Center, among others. Her work was jury selected for the 1995 “Oregon Biennial” at the Portland Art Museum, the 2015 “Maritime Art Exhibition” and “Expressions West” at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, and the 1992 “Arts in Oregon” celebration at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
The Runyan Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am to 6pm.
Read more about: