Louis Bunce: Dialogue with Modernism

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On January 20th, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (in the Paulus Lecture Hall) art historian/curator Roger Hull will give a slide talk about the work of the Portland Painter Louis Bunce (1907-1983) as the show opens its two month run at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem.  Available on that occasion (and afterward) will be copies of Hull’s book on Bunce (also titled “Louis Bunce: Dialogue with Modernism”).

The show and book have been in the works over at our house for the last three years, and we have come to know Louis Bunce pretty well.  We’ve driven by his former homes in Portland, we’ve gone to read his archival material in Washington D.C. at the Archives of American Art, we’ve visited many of the collectors who own his work, we’ve talked to former friends, students, colleagues, relatives…now when I say “we” of course, it is Roger Hull who has looked and thought and talked and written, while I have been lucky enough to tag along on some of these adventures.  I’ve come to know that the work is beautiful, varied, thoughtful.  But knowing that, looking at hundreds of images, is NOT the same as being in the same room with the paintings.

This past week the show that Roger Hull has carefully curated has been going up over at the Museum and Friday I got a sneak preview.  Come take a look:

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Because Roger Hull is an art historian and a writer, and because his shows are usually whole-career retrospectives, the work is in chronological order which develops the narrative as well as letting the viewer see the artist’s progress.  The show begins with Bunce’s self-portrait from 1932 and some text and moves to the first room with other paintings from the early 1930’s.

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Louis Bunce loved the Oregon landscape, most especially the Oregon Coast, and thematically, coastal painting figures all through his work, even into the most abstract paintings.  He traveled the state, he summered in Mosier, he lived in Salem.  His work is deeply Oregonian.

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and on we go.  I won’t give you details here…you need to come see the show and the paintings loaned by the Whitney Museum in NYC and the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio as well as loans of beautiful work from collectors all over the west coast

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and these three courtesy of the Portland Art Museum…

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Here’s George Johanson’s portrait of Louis Bunce from 1975…Johanson was a student of Bunce’s, a friend and later a teaching colleague at the Museum School…

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Look forward to seeing you the 20th…

 

The Snail Blog surges into 2017

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I don’t think I’ve mentioned the Snail Blog lately, a postcard-a-day that arrives from our friend Ellen in Vermont…(card number 2401 arrived yesterday)  This is such a delightful peek into a parallel universe, and Vermont is certainly that…a different life and like any good serial we have come to know the cast of characters…N.N., John and Cynthia, the grands.  The cards are arranged in “series” (she collects old cards with possible future series in mind) and during the Christmas season we had the “Mother and Child” series followed by the “Winter 2017 series”…apropos of Oregon weather at the moment.  Someday I would like to put ALL of these cards up as an installation…a section of a life…So here’s a peek…Ellen is alive and well and reporting in daily…xxoo Mrs. Crockett …

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Red and White Quilts

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Over the weekend when I was in the “sewing cottage” I got looking at some weird old Red & White blocks I had put up on the design wall…

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and that reminded me of the terrific catalog of the amazingly beautiful show of red and white quilts at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC in March 0f 2011…”Infinite Variety” presented by the American Folk Art Museum…the 653 quilts loaned by the collector Joanna S. Rose.  The show was open free to the public for only six days…March 25-30, 2011.  In 2015 the catalog was published “Red and White Quilts: Infinite Variety”…

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Can you even IMAGINE what it must have been like?

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and then I got wondering why, in all my wanderings and searchings over the years I had only ever seen one red and white quilt, which I didn’t buy (maybe Mrs. Rose had already bought them all?)

On Monday we went to Etcetera Antiques in Salem, a fixture of a store run for 50 years by Cindy Day who is so very knowledgeable.  We went to pick up a Louis Bunce painting her niece is loaning to the upcoming Louis Bunce shows at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and the Bush Barn Art Center.  Cindy told us the sad news that she is closing her store at the end of February and moving to Portland, opening two stalls at Stars Antiques Mall in Sellwood.  While R and Cindy were talking about paintings I prowled the store.  She is beginning to organize her move and things are chaotic…and on sale.  At the bottom of a stack of stuff on a chair I found…!!?..yep, a very nice red and white quilt…handquilted…in perfect condition with no stains or musty odors…

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and when I got home I grabbed the “Infinite Variety” catalog and found the pages relating to this pattern…”Snail’s Trail” or “Indiana Puzzle”??

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I folded the “new” quilt and put it on a chair where I stared at it off and on, only hours later realizing it has a wonderful anomaly…can you see it?

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Now I’m thinking red and white thoughts again…

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Studio Addict

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The first week of January.  Snow.

In an effort to get the year started right, I’ve been in one studio or another of mine every day.  In both cases I entered into long reveries about studios and how lucky we are who have them…alternate realities really.  They don’t have to be clean and tidy (though they CAN be), they don’t have to have “decor” (though they CAN if you want…)…(my first studio had 16 foot ceilings and no windows, no tables, one chair…you HAVE to have a chair.)

Once you have a studio though, you’ll probably always have to contrive to have one…they are refuges for ideas (or no ideas on some days).  And I like to see other people’s studios, ways of arranging work space and idea space, inspirations and oddments hanging around.  I have two studios…one for 2D, painting and drawing and storing work, one for sewing…

My 2D studio is Studio H at the Studios at the Mill….quiet, serene, all mine.

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My sewing “cottage” is at home in the back garden…path

…it was formerly my painting studio but I moved things around.  Today when I sat there working away, listening to the freezing rain pelting down, I felt guilty to have so many places to stay warm and dry and work.

So studio appreciation set in…for one thing, check my plywood floor…

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…remnants of the 2D days…

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some art work lingers…this painting is called “First Snow” from 2009…

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…fabric begins to intrude…

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and as it begins to get dark I can see the house…and think it might be time to “go home”…

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And tomorrow is Monday…on we go…

High Street Gallery

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The other night some artists met at Marco Polo for dinner before going to check out the new High Street Gallery (700 High Street NE…it’s around behind where Salem Paint used to be).  In MY fortune cookie there were THREE fortunes…wowzer…

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Salem, the Capital City, doesn’t have a gallery scene really…though Salem is home to a wide variety of talented artists…so we were anxious to see the new High Street Gallery, brainchild of Michael Hernandez and Angee Schmitt.

It LOOKS like a gallery…they’ve made a very nice space for looking at art in the traditional way of white walls, plenty of space and a comfortable bench…(and here are painter/print-maker Jo Hockenhull with Angee watching Jo’s husband painter/print-maker Jim Hockenhull, also a musician)

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Here’s Julian Smith’s “Mounte Blanc and the Window”

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Richard Thompson’s “Horizon 3 Trees in the Fog”

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Tom Cramer’s lively acrylics

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Dave Nichol’s pencil and oil “Painting the Kent Hotel”

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and also his car seat…

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Roger Hull and Michael Hernandez

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Painter Sandra Loy (Sloy) with painter Rob Bibler

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and here’s Jim Hockenhull as a strolling minstrel looking at Sloy’s painting…WHICH…sold and in one of those quirks of fate it was bought by painter Dayna Collins and her husband Howard so here are pictures of it heading to a new home for Christmas…

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The show continues until January 28 with open receptions on these Saturdays…January 7, 14, 21 and 28.  Sloy replaced the painting that became a Christmas gift so you’d better go take a look!

 

WINTER!!!

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Yep…it has been sort of winter-quiet here…head colds, PT, stuff.  Not much shopping this year, but the trees are up…

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and today…SNOW!   The elf drove me out and about…

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the first camellia was unceremoniously dislodged

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and here’s how it looked from 12:30 on:

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but we got home in time for a coffee and a fireside reading marathon…

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Let it snow…tiddily pom.

Louis Bunce on Paper

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Luckily there is still PLENTY of time for you to get to this stunning little show, part one of the Louis Bunce season at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art this winter, sequestered on the second floor in the print study room.  This show opened November 5th and will run until January 29th…only overlapping with the big show of Bunce’s paintings (opening lecture January 20th, 2017 through March 26, 2017) for a week.  In many ways I think that is a better idea because you’ll really enjoy some quiet time with these beautiful small paintings and prints…and it gives you two reasons to visit this lovely museum.

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Since the curator/biographer lives here, I’ve had a close dialog with Louis and his work for two years now…the monograph accompanying the show is splendid…

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Knee surgery kept me away from the show until today and I have to say…I was amazed at the beauty of these works.  This little gouache from 1941 is just lovely…

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even with my terrible iPhone photo!   Here’s the seriagraph of 1941 “yard”

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The 1941 gouache on paper, “The Bird”…

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“Garden, 1948 seriagraph…

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1947 “Night Fragment”, a seriagraph….

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this 1947 study (never executed) for a mural at the Green Spot, gouache.

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small crayon and pencil drawings from the 1940’s

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“Machine”, 1970, mixed media on paper.

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All of the work in this show demonstrates the true thing about this artist…he knew how to work.  These pieces are all nuanced, layered, musical in feeling, sure, nothing extra or wasted.  In short, a rarity to see these days.  A tour de force.  There is an excellent statement by the curator…as well as information-filled labels.

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Additionally, there is a charming and informative video loop of Bunce pulling a print with the curator  kindly providing the print hanging on the wall next to the monitor…

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If you look at the video note the ever-present cigarette and then look to your left at the woodblock portrait of Bunce by his colleague Jack McLarty…

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and wait…here’s the third reason to visit soon…hanging on the temporary wall right now are these three:

Susan Rothenberg, dry point etching and aquatint, 1983…

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Sonia Delaunay, 1952, gouache and graphite…

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and Jean Arp, 1916, ink on paper…jean-arp-1916-ink-on-paper

 

 

Turning the corner…

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We went to the studio before the holiday…(my window is the top right)

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…up the 17 stairs…

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into the studio to rehang after the nice paint job by Dayna and Tory…what a gift…

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…the south wall…

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the west wall

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and we did the other two, leaving the work space for a later date

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and we rushed off exhausted for sustenance

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meanwhile the quilting is coming along quickly with so much time on my hands…finished the rescue quilt…

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finished the ugly fabric challenge quilt for quilt group next week…

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started the bird quilt…

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and then off to the holiday at Zach and Ashton’s…

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…where Doug carved…

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…and there were toasts…

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and Ashton surprised R with the first birthday cake of the RPH “birthday season” (he believes it extends until 12th night…)

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which he shared…

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and this week, the actual birthday, things really begin to return to normal around here.  We’ve been missing this guy…

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See you Thursday Sidney!

 

 

Pausing…

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yellow…caution…

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Okay, it wasn’t my favorite week…I’m seeking a way to think about this world, not with much success, and a card arrived that sort of expressed my basic feeling about everything…

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…a week in which I allowed my “condition” to let me burrow into things that give me comfort…

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But a week in which small words arrived from the outside world…

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The day after the election, morose over my soup at lunch, a package arrived from Carolyn…inside were some things that just made me laugh…

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and then an anonymous gift arrived…MARY???   ALEESA???

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got that?

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so it is with great pleasure I announce that this is my “graduation day”…goodbye walker…

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I’ve been to REI for my trekking poles and a cane for inside…and let me add this…if you were wondering if sending a card or note to somebody who might need it, if that is worth the bother, snail mail and all, it is.

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