Gallery hours are from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The gallery is open on Sundays and holidays by appointment only. A reception honoring the selected artists will be held on Thursday, February 9th, at 6:00 pm.
This year's juror is Daniel Duford, a 2010 Hallie Ford Fellow and a recent recipient of an Art Matters grant. He makes comics, pots, paintings and sculpture. His work has been shown in museums and galleries around the US including MASS MoCA. Schneider Museum of Art, Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art and Bellevue Arts Museum. His publications include the graphic novels The Unfortunates, The Naked Boy, The Green Man of Portland and a book of poems, Wellspring: Poems 1993-2003. His writing has appeared in High Desert Journal, Parabola, ARTnews and Artweek. In 2012 he curated “Fighting Men: Leon Golub, Peter Voulkos and Jack Kirby” at Hoffman Gallery at Lewis and Clark College. In 2016 he co-curated “Intersecciones: Havana/Portland” also at the Hoffman Gallery. He is Visiting Associate Professor of Art at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
Awards to be announced at the reception include cash prizes, purchase awards, a special exhibit award to be held during the 2017 - 2018 exhibition season, and a select number of workshop awards. This reception is free and open to the public. The College also thanks the Cannery Pier Hotel, the Bridgewater Bistro, Erikson Floral Company, and the Ft. George Brewery for their support. A special post-reception gathering will be held at Carruthers Restaurant, 1198 Commercial St. in Astoria, immediately following the reception.
This year, artists from 27 states plus the District of Columbia, as well as international submissions from Canada, France, Germany, Portugal, and Taiwan submitted over 400 images for consideration. The 2017 exhibit will represent 38 artists from 16 states plus the District of Columbia, in addition to an international artist from France.
Duford will also be leading a hands-on workshop entitled The Pocket Studio: Using A Sketchbook To See The World Around You on Friday, February 10th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a half-hour lunch break. “The workshop is about enlivening a nomadic studio practice,” Duford explains. This short workshop will focus on the use of the most ubiquitous artist tool---the sketchbook. The workshop introduces exercises designed to create a daily drawing practice. With an emphasis on observational drawing, participants will cover a variety of techniques for drawing from life. The workshop will begin with examples of other artist’s sketchbooks. It will include a series of prompts to get the participant started on a daily practice. The workshop will overlap the timeframe of the CCC Winter Term life drawing class, and limited spaces are available to the public for a fee of $25. Please contact Kristin Shauck at 503-338-2472 for registration information and a materials list.
Selecting artwork for each year’s show from among the hundreds of submitted images is always a very difficult undertaking. Each year, a different juror is invited to select the work for the show, and each juror brings his or her own unique perspective and approach to the selection process. "I sorted through many competent figure drawings and technically proficient paintings,” Duford reports. “All occupied a tradition that began with the earliest Greek Kouros figures, filtered through Renaissance ideas of pictorial empiricism and finally through French ateliers and the desire to capture the figure in all its truth from direct observation. The humanness is what drew me most to the works I chose.”
However, beyond the common denominator of the human form, the artists chosen for this year’s show practice a wide range of approaches. “Some use time-honored themes of the model in the artist’s studio, some use the figure allegorically, and others are explorations of media through the figure,” Duford observes.
For example, Edi Franc of Ka`a`awa, Hawaii, enjoys combining “traditional rendering techniques with abstract or surreal background content. In my eyes, the interplay of realistic and abstract elements gives a better sense of who we are in the modern world.” She describes the figures in her painting as “giant, headless figures suspended in space,” and further explains that in her work, “dysmorphic, depersonalized creatures floating above the ocean seem to exist in a new, unearthly realm, the one created in dreams or our Subconscious, where the distinction between mind and matter becomes vague.”
For Thomas Jackson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, risk-taking is a critical part of his creative process. “I often use a single brush and ink to draw directly from life without any preliminary pencil sketching to create a high contrast, simplified realism,” he explains. “The thick/thin line and various types of marks result from the direction, feel, and pressure of the brush on paper. There is no subtle layering or erasure. It has been described as ‘working without a net.’ You get what you get the first time and it either works or it doesn’t. This practice forces quick decisions and a ‘just do it’ state of mind.” However, in spite of the spontaneous execution, there is deep meaning embedded in Jackson’s work, as he describes: “Viewers of these drawings are reminded of body-related social and political issues: perceptions of ideal beauty and society’s pressure to attain that ideal; the relentless use of the youthful human body in marketing; sexuality, gender identification or ambiguity, body image, relationship dynamics, aging, mental and physical health, etc. My subject is as old and universal as Man and speaks to me of endless possibility.”
Internationally recognized Portland-based artist Henk Pander, who was born in Haarlem, The Netherlands, and whose artwork is represented in prestigious museums and collections across the globe, including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, will be exhibiting three large oil paintings in the show. “These three paintings were recently painted from life as an on-going group. The model was a close friend of an intimate of mine who died in a horrific car accident in Long Beach, Washington in 2015. I have known the model for many decades. The paintings echo the decadent period of the 1960's still lingering, while recognizing aging, mortality and existential loneliness,” Pander explains.
Highly respected local artist Robert Paulmenn describes his reaction to being selected to exhibit his work in the 2017 show: “Getting into any show is always important. It shows that you have met the criteria of the judge or jury. So much of what we do as artists is done in the confines of the studio, much of which is not seen by anyone. Like any job, you have to show up everyday and go to work, even on the days that you don’t feel like it, if you’re going get things done. Getting accepted into a show is a validation of the countless hours working at getting it right. Getting into Au Naturel is sweeter still since Astoria is where my wife and I make our home and I get the chance to show in front of the home crowd.”
Further information about the 2017 exhibiting artists is available online at the Au Naturel website. Direct inquiries to: Kristin Shauck, 503-338-2472.
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