Not with a whimper, but a bang…
For a town of its size so steeped in science, there is a lot of art happening in Corvallis. While I encourage you to check out each and every public exhibit in town (twice, even), there are occasionally must-see shows that are nearly criminal to miss. To kick off the 2017 exhibition cycle, these three stand-out events will hopefully be a sign of the pace of local art in the new year.
(image credit: Freda by Anna Fidler)
Nasty Woman at Optic Gallery
The freshly minted Optic Gallery is run by accomplished artist Melody Owen and is making one hell of a bold statement with its debut, Nasty Woman. Regarding her all-woman show curated in response to the incoming Trump administration, Owen states, “We are coming together to protest against the misogyny of the incoming administration. We are coming together in solidarity with the women’s marches occurring around the United States. This show is meant to display the strength, innovation, talent, fortitude, unity, and excellence of women in our community.”
As if the acute relevance of the topic weren’t enough to get you out and about, there will be work featured from a literal all-star cast, including Amanda Tasse, Amanda Wojick, Anna Fidler, Anya Kivarkis, Jessie Rose Vala, Julia Bradshaw, Julie Green, Shelley Jordon, Tannaz Farsi, and Terri Warpinski. Each artist involved is an important part of the fabric of our entire regional art community; in part by serving as teachers at either the University of Oregon or Oregon State University (or in at least one case, both). I’ve personally studied with Green, Fidler, and Jordon at OSU—all three are amazing women and the impact they’ve had on art students in Corvallis cannot be overstated.
The aptly named Optic Gallery, which Owen is primarily using as a studio space, can be found at 225 SW Madison Avenue—a site that used to be an optician’s office in the early days of its 1880’s origin. The second room has turned gallery specifically for this show, after Owen was motivated by a series of other Nasty Woman shows across the country.
The opening is on Thursday, Jan. 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The show will be up for three weeks, but if you’d like to stop in outside of the event you’ll need to arrange for a visit ahead of time by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. It feels a bit early to be saying this, but if you only make it out to one local show before 2018, this could very well be it.
WE LIVE HERE: The Artists of Benton Plaza
For those unfamiliar, Collaborative Employment Innovations (CEI) runs its Artworks Gallery on the ground level of Benton Plaza—a building that serves not only local businesses and social service programs, but provides upper-floor apartments for those with special housing needs. Under the guidance of Bruce Burris, Artworks Gallery has made a name for itself as an exhibition space that not only displays a truly diverse complement of art, but sources them from an equally diverse community of artists. This exhibit seeks to unravel and honor the creativity of those that live where Artworks breathes.
“Over time it has become clear that many of the residents of Benton Plaza are engaged in extraordinary creative practices. Some resident practitioners came forth early on and have been mainstays of our ‘open studio’ program. [We] have been introduced to many other creatives who live here,” said Burris.
Having discovered that about 30% of those living in the building are engaged creatively, it struck Burris as an “amazing accounting, and frankly given that we so often undervalue creative lives, this number seemed startling to us. We wonder if this is typical, and if so are we underestimating the potential and numbers of those who create in a singular fashion all around us day in and day out—or could it be that there is something unique about the culture of this place?”
These are powerful questions that will undoubtedly be addressed when this exhibit goes live on Thursday, Jan. 19. The reception will be on that first day from 4 to 8 p.m. at their 408 SW Monroe Avenue location (Suite 110), and runs until the 14th of February. You can visit it during normal hours, Monday to Friday, from 12 to 5 p.m.
Montage Collective Juried Exhibit at Fairbanks Gallery
Oregon State University’s art club, Montage Collective, put out a call in November to registered OSU students of all majors, and through a selection process conducted by juror and local art scene legend Bruce Burris, wound up with a slice of Corvallis’ creative underbelly that you won’t get anywhere else. Though the trek to Fairbanks Hall may be long and arduous, you’ll be met with an incredibly wide range of work, from paintings to sculpture, printmaking, photography, illustration, book-making, encaustics, and even poetry. Topics range from the classical to the refreshingly uncensored.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am currently co-president of Montage and have work in the show. That said, don’t go for me—go to learn the names of your next dozen favorite artists. Doors opened on Dec. 10, and the show will be taken down on Jan. 22. The closing reception event will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 19, though if you can’t make it, Fairbanks’ hours are weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 220 SW 26th Street.
(image credit: Pale Blue Eyes by Angelica Ingeman)
Six Other Art Destinations Worth Your Time
While our three featured exhibits are definitely not to be missed, be sure to stop off at these other destinations while you’re out and about on this month’s Arts Walk on Thursday, Jan. 19—or just out for a walk during any of their normal business hours. The public is invited during the usual 4 to 8 p.m. time slot; 6 to 9 p.m. for Bison Bison!
THE ARTS CENTER
700 SW Madison Ave.
Meditations of Temporality with Erin Dengerink and Jeff Hess
354 SW Madison Ave.
Monochromatic with Chris Adams
BRITTNEY WEST STUDIO
340 SW 2nd St., Studio #3
New Activist Artwork
361 SW 2nd St.
FRED AMOS STUDIO
340 SW 2nd St., Studio 12
Art for the New Year
301 SW 4th St., Ste. 160
Closure and Renewal with seven artists
By Johnny Beaver
CORRECTION: The print edition incorrectly states the Montage closing reception hours as 4:30pm – 6pm. The correct hours have been updated above.