So-Eui Lee is an unassuming artist who is both erudite and na’ve. Originally trained as an ink landscape painter in the traditional Zen style, Lee has transcended her schooling to discover a style that is wholly her own. In the early ’90s her paintings captivated the essence of classical subjects in nature: cliffs, rivers, mist, mountains and trees.
Upon entering Joel Garcia’s art studio on campus, vibrant figures dance off the wall on one side while solemn Hispanic leaders lie quietly on the other. Stark contrasts have been in Garcia’s artwork since he was in grade school. His first drawing was a card for his mother on Valentine’s Day, with a sweet message written in Spanglish.
Since the Beat generation of the 1960s, artists and poets have turned towards Zen meditation for inspiration and structure. West Coast poet Gary Snyder studied in a Zen monastery in Kyoto and continues to draw connections between sitting, reality and the written word.
When inspiration strikes Mandee Schroer, an aspiring visual artist and Portland State student, she doesn’t discriminate between plaster, paint and pencils. She just makes what her gut tells her to make. The forms she sculpts are loosely based on sites such as Pikes Peak in Colorado, Zion National Park in Utah, Mt.
Direct encounter with the natural world is one of the primordial facets of what makes us human. In the 1970s, the interaction between nature and culture became a primary concern for many visual artists such as Robert Smithson, Walter de Maria and Dennis Oppenheim.
“If you’re not a student, you’re not an artist.” Byron Kim, artist In 1996, Byron Kim bowed 108 times in front of a painting of Sakyamuni Buddhas at the Metropolitan Museum while his friend conversed with the museum guard. His performance mocked the status of fine art as a dogma that can be separated from religious experience.
When you look at a painting of a male nude, what is your first reaction? What about a nude woman? Why is the female nude synonymous with sexuality? What is it about the male figure that often scares people away while the female figure appears more inviting? In classical art, the nude is thought of as a representation of humanity in its purest state.
While Portland might not have the status of New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, we are experiencing a fresh wave of fine art photography, and one thing will remain ubiquitous in the Rose City’s photography scene-community. “Portland’s photographic community is a small but strong one.
I first met Willy Heeks in Vermont at an 1850s Episcopal Church that had been converted into artists’ studios, and his enthusiasm surely blew away any sermon delivered there. We ended up partying late into the night with other artists-enjoying passionate conversations about art, life and everything in between.
For the best in Japanese visual art in the U.S., the West Coast is the place to be. A new generation of Japanese artists is creating stunning works of intricate detail and optimistic light, transcending previous distinctions between the East and West by seamlessly combining elements of Japanese traditions with contemporary ideas.