The Maude Kerns Art Center presents the first exhibits of the new season, “A Convergence of Elements” and “Intersections,” opening on Friday, January 12 with a public reception from 6 – 8 pm in the evening. Both exhibits reveal how the use of particular mediums affects form and artistic vision. “A Convergence of Elements” and “Intersections” are on display through Friday, February 9.
“A Convergence of Elements” features the work of four artists working in a variety of media. Eugene ceramic artist Karen Perkins and Portland metalsmith Greg Wilbur, both of whom have worked at the Maude Kerns Art Center in the past, link up with wood sculptor Michael de Forest, also from Portland, and painter and ceramic artist Gretchen Wachs from New Mexico. Perkins describes “process” as a major focus for all four artists: “Michael chooses to consciously reveal his process as a part of each piece, Gretchen shares her energetic process through animated texture and color. And Greg and I value leaving the mark of the hammer, the burnishing tool, and the flow of the fire atmosphere.”
Michael de Forest received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has taught in the Wood Department of Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland since 1993. He has shown his work in solo exhibitions in Portland, and in group exhibitions throughout the US. In “A Convergence of Elements,” de Forest exhibits a number of his carved and painted wood sculptures as well a table and chair set titled The Family.
Karen Perkins received an M.S.in Art Education from the University of Oregon and has been involved for many years with teaching ceramics. She has exhibited her work at the former Jacobs Gallery, the Schrager & Clarke Gallery, the Emerald Art Center, the University of Oregon, and the Benton County Historical Museum, among other venues. Her ceramic pieces are wheel thrown, altered with slabs, pinched elements, or coils, and then smoke fired and burnished.
Gretchen Wachs received a B.F.A. from Alfred University in New York and an M.A. in Art Therapy from Southwestern College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has had multiple solo exhibitions in venues in New Mexico, Colorado, and California. Wachs is comfortable working in a variety of media, including clay, paint, ink, graphite, and wax. In “A Convergence of Elements,” she will only be exhibiting her paintings. She believes that art is not only a vehicle for self-expression, but also a means for “connecting to a deeper truth.”
Greg Wilbur received a B.F.A. in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from the University of Oregon. He has had many solo and group exhibitions in Oregon and throughout the US, and participated in the Sweden + USA Exhibition in Stockholm, Sweden. Wilbur currently exhibits his work at the Waterstone Gallery in Portland, Rowboat in Pacific City, Oregon, and Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco, California. His work is hammered from one flat sheet of non-ferrous metal, which is neither welded nor soldered.
“Intersections” showcases the work of local artists Diane English, Janet Hiller, and Mandy Miller. All three of these fiber artists explore the concept of “intersections” within the medium of cloth and thread. English describes the theme of their show: “To intersect is to cut through or across, or to converge, moving toward a common point. The complexity and variety of the intersection is our focus, our inspiration.”
Diane English has shown her work extensively in juried and non-juried group shows. In 2015 she was among five artists in “A Color Runs Through It” at the Maude Kerns Art Center. In 2016-2017 she participated in two international travelling exhibitions, “World Fairy Tales International Quilt Challenge” and Patchwork Design.” English’s work is both hand and machine quilted. She uses hand and commercially dyed cottons and silk.
Janet Hiller first became enamored with fiber art in the 1990s when she saw examples of sashiko, a kind of Japanese stitching or embroidery. Hiller has participated in group fiber arts exhibits throughout the U.S. and internationally, in the “World Painters International Challenge” and the “World Fairy Tales International Challenge,” currently travelling in the U.S. She exhibited in the “Curious Temptations” show of fiber art at the Maude Kerns Art Center in 2013.
Mandy Miller has had a lifelong interest in fabric and design. Essentially self-taught, she has taken classes from well-known art quilters, and has participated in local and regional art quilt shows, especially those organized by the Studio Art Quilt Association, of which she is a member. Miller was included in exhibitions at the Memorial Union at Oregon State University in 2013 and 2015 and at the Eugene Textile Center in 2015 and 2016.