Eugene Art Day…

We went to Eugene today and took in a lot of regional art from various periods.  We visited the Eugene post office to see the 1943 WPA murals painted by Carl Morris (1911-1993).  Morris migrated from California to Spokane in 1938 to direct the Spokane WPA Art Center.  There he met Northwest School painters Guy Anderson, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan and Mark Tobey (not to mention his wife-to-be sculptor Hilda Deutsch).  Migrating to Portland in 1941 he was commissioned to paint the Eugene murals.  In 1942 he did camouflage painting in Portland for the war effort.  This influenced Morris’ later abstract work in the late 1940’s, but these WPA  figurative paintings are lively and muscular, filled with motion:

One panel (the center shadows behind the worker) sort of reminded us of Morris’ later abstract work:

On we went to the Karin Clarke Gallery to see the work of Anne Kutka McCosh (1902-1994).  Anne Kutka was married to regional painting star David McCosh (who taught for years at U of O in Eugene) and recently some of her previously unknown drawings and prints were found by show curator Roger Saydack in the University of Oregon Foundation collection interleaved with David McCosh’s work.  I didn’t take many photos here…most of the exhibition was portrait drawings and prints from the 1950’s and a show well worth seeing if you’re out and about.

On our way from the Post Office to a quick lunch at PERUGINO’S across from the gallery,

we noticed some public sculpture…Bill Blix’s “wind Rain Song” of 1982 has some unusual modern additions changing on a daily basis

and this lovely little piece in a memorial square to the Japanese-American internment victims of WW II…couldn’t find the sculptor’s name:

After lunch  we were off to find the newest public piece by Eugene sculptor Lee Imonen (b. 1972??).  The very helpful young woman at Karin Clarke Gallery map-quested it for us and warned us that it was right next to Toyota, so we found it.  The piece is at the foot of what will be a fantastic foot bridge and pedestrian walkway…currently under construction.  The weir theme is a constant for Lee and this piece is a beauty…not done justice by my photos:

On then over the mountains to Newport for a coffee at Panini

and on to “the City” where we are happily roasting vegetables in our cozy beach kitchen:

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this! I love Morris’ abstracts, but had heard only second-hand bits about the WPA murals. The shadows, as you say, totally suggest the forms in his “intersecting light” series! What a great connection to find.

  2. The murals were used as illustrations in an article this summer in the magazine “Oregon Humanities” (the article is about possible answers for Oregon’s ailing economy and interesting…though nothing to do with art.) It reminded us to go see them…they’re in great shape. Lucky for Eugene they still have their “classic moderne” post office in use right downtown… Our own post office has an Andrew Vincent mural with a view of Salem (the “new” capitol building…). The mural is immediately to the right in a conference room if you enter from the west side.

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