CCC Announces the 2012 Opening of Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century

The Clatsop Community College Art Center Gallery is proud to announce that Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century -- CCC's sixth annual juried international art exhibition -- will be on display at CCC's Art Center Gallery.

The Au Naturel exhibit will run from February 23rd through March 29th, 2012. The exhibit will open with a reception honoring the selected artists on Thursday, February 23rd at 6:00 pm.  This year's juror, Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, will be present to give a gallery talk.  Awards to be announced at the reception include cash prizes, purchase awards, a solo show award and a two-person show award to be held during the 2012-2013 exhibition season, and a select number of workshop awards. A  No-Host Post-Reception party in the Tap Room of the Fort George, at 1483 Duane St. in downtown Astoria, will immediately follow the reception.

Now in its sixth consecutive year, the competition continues to draw a tremendous number of submissions from across the country and around the world. As in previous years, this year's juror was faced with the extremely difficult task of selecting the artwork from among hundreds of submissions, and after much deliberation, 52 works of art were selected from over 700 images submitted by nearly 200 artists from 35 states plus international submissions from Japan, India, Denmark, Italy, and Canada. The 2012 exhibit will represent 48 artists from 18 states as well as international artists from Canada and Denmark.

Serving as this year's juror is Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art at the Portland Art Museum.  Appointed in August of 2010, she is responsible for the Museum’s distinguished collection of Northwest art from the late 19th century to today. Her duties include the research, documentation, and building of the collection and presenting exhibitions based on the collection and the work of artists living and working in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming.

Prior to her appointment at the Portland Art Museum, she was president of Oregon College of Art & Craft (OCAC) from 2000 to 2010. Ms. Laing-Malcolmson served from 1994-2000 as executive director of Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art in Great Falls, Montana, and she was director of academic affairs and admission at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon from 1981 to 1987.  Ms. Laing-Malcolmson was born in Seattle and has a BFA in Painting from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and an MFA in Painting from Montana State University. She has taught studio courses and art history in the Montana State University system and at art schools in Portland, and has exhibited her own artwork in the west and abroad.

Ms. Laing-Malcolmson describes her experience in selecting the artwork for the show as both “a great pleasure” as well as “a significant undertaking.” In spite of the focused subject matter, the nude human form, she was presented with “an astonishingly wide variety of imagery to review.”  Artwork that appealed to her the most she describes as “somehow honest.” “I love direct and competent mastery of line, form and color. I like work by artists who seek to capture a real moment or person, not an idealized one, for it is in each unique individual that real beauty lies.”  Sensitive to the feelings of the artists who were not invited to exhibit in this year's show, she explains, “Narrowing the exhibition to approximately 50 finalists necessarily caused the elimination of some outstanding works of art. To those who were excluded, my apologies; next year’s juror will likely include you.  The artists and particular pieces by those artists that I chose to include resonated with me somehow, so that I kept looking at them over and over and then, in my delight, wanted to share them with you, the viewing public. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!”

Exhibiting artist Thomas Jackson of Cedar Rapids, IA explains that current artistic expressions of the human figure represent a profound connection that we have to artists of the past reaching back thousands of years: “I often think that Man hasn't changed much in 30,000 years. Men have always depicted the human form, activities, and personalities. I am interested in conveying more than the generic human form, and attempt to capture likeness and personality. My approach to drawing from life suits my personal skills and acknowledges historical achievements of artists who came before me.”  Jackson was invited to exhibit a drawing entitled Man 45, which was created using the medium of ink and brush.  “I enjoy the challenge of ink brush drawing. A friend told me it's like working without a net. You put the ink on paper and you get what you get, no erasures, no second chances. The only pencil involved is my signature.”

Agata Augustine of Plymouth, WI, exhibiting in the Au Naturel for the second consecutive year, describes the challenges and rewards of working directly from observation using a life model: “As an artist closely working with a model, I try to focus on capturing the emotional relationship between us. For me it is more important to capture the 'spirit' of someone or the situation we are involved in, rather than creating a physical portrait of that person. I would say that I try to focus on capturing the essence of the human beings, their movement or their emotional state. It is not an easy process and exposes an artist to at least two types of contradictory feelings; struggle and passion, while creating a drawing or a painting.”

Thomas Kitts of Portland, OR also enjoys both the challenges and contradictions inherent in his approach to artmaking.  He describes himself as “an observational painter who prefers to work directly from life. Not to mimic it, of course, but to draw upon it. This is because the world we live in is infinitely more interesting, complex, and challenging than anything I able to invent on my own. Life provides an inexhaustible source of material to work with and its ability to school me at times keeps me humble.”  On the other hand, he also embraces the process of discovery that is so crucial to the creative process. “The 19th to 20th century Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla once said, 'Go to nature with no parti pris. You should not know what your picture is to look like until it is done. Just see the picture that is coming'.....which pretty much says it all for me."

Annie Heisey and Jan Madill, both of Portland, OR and both exhibiting in the Au Naturel for the second consecutive year, each explore deep philosophical questions with their artwork in different ways. Heisey captures her subjects in quiet moments of self-examination.  She describes the figures she paints as being “lost in the world of his or her own mind seeking to answer the eternal question "who am I?"  Madill, on the other hand, prefers to use an interdisciplinary approach to the creative process.  “Dance, poetry and music often inspire my paintings. A part of me is often asking, 'What's it all about?', even as I suspect the answers will remain full of mystery. I am more country and wilderness than city, but definitely some of both.”

All artwork selected for this year's exhibit will be posted on the 2012 gallery page of the Au Naturel website which will be launched on opening night, February 23rd. 

Also for the second consecutive year, other venues in downtown Astoria will be exhibiting nudes in a collective show entitled Nudes Downtown: A Compendium of Art Inspired by Au Naturel.  This multi-venue exhibit will run concurrently with the Au Naturel, and there will be a special gallery walk scheduled for Saturday, March 3rd.  The participating venues are RiverSea Gallery, Light Box Photographic Gallery, Old Town Framing, Lunar Boy Gallery, KALA at HIPFiSH, Studio 11, and Salon Vervé.

The Au Naturel exhibit and opening reception are free and open to the public. Special thanks to the Cannery Pier Hotel, the Fort George Brewery, the Bridgewater Bistro, and Erikson Floral.

The CCC Art Center Gallery is located at 1799 Lexington Avenue in Astoria and is ADA accessible. The gallery hours are from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The gallery is open on Sundays and holidays by appointment only. Please note that special Spring Break hours from March 26th through March 29th are 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please direct inquiries to: Kristin Shauck, 503-338-2472.

Clatsop Community College is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution. ADA accessible: for other accommodations call 503-338-2474; TDD 503-338-2468 at least 24 hours in advance of the event.


Attached Images:

Image 1:
Lillianne Milgrom, Fairfax, VA.
Back View
Acrylic on canvas, 12”x12”

Image of woman from the back with hands on head.


Image 2:
Annie Heisey, Portland, OR
The Doubting of St. Thomas
Oil on canvas,


Oil painting of St. Thomas; tatooed man exploring wound in side


Image 3:
Ira Upin, Philadelphia, PA
Chapter 6 – Focus (Strong Man Series)
Oil on door panel, 36”x36”

Image of seated man from the back looking at painting; woman to the side on couch


Image 4:
Victoria Selbach, Port Washington, NY
Nicole at Mille Fleurs 4
Acrylic on canvas, 36”x60”

Image of woman laying across a chair; looking down and to the side


Link to 2012 Au Naturel Poster. Design by Lucien Swerdloff.


Poster for Au Naturel exhibit including nine images of nude figures, listing participating artists and providing event details

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