The tenth annual international juried exhibit Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century will be on display from January 21 through March 10, 2016 at Clatsop Community College’s Royal Nebeker Art Gallery located at 1799 Lexington Avenue, Astoria, OR.
Gallery hours are from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 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. A reception honoring the selected artists will be held on Thursday, January 28, at 6:00 pm.
This exhibit marks the competition's tenth consecutive year and is being held in memory of Royal Nebeker, internationally renowned artist and beloved instructor who taught at Clatsop Community College for over 30 years and who served as the first juror for the competition. This year's juror is Lisa Harris, the Director and Owner of Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle, which represents thirty Northwest and West Coast contemporary artists including Royal Nebeker. Harris is a founding member of the Seattle Art Dealers Association and a member of Art Table, the national organization of women in the visual arts.
Awards to be announced at the reception include cash prizes, purchase awards, a solo show award to be held during the 2016 - 2017 exhibition season, and a select number of workshop awards. This reception is free and open to the public. The College also thanks the Cannery Pier Hotel, the Bridgewater Bistro, Erikson Floral Company, and the Ft. George Brewery for their support.
A No-Host Post-Reception party at the Bridgewater Bistro, 20 Basin St in Astoria, will immediately follow the reception.
This year, artists from 33 states plus the District of Columbia, as well as international submissions from Canada, Mexico, and Romania submitted nearly 500 images for consideration. The 2016 exhibit will represent 52 artists from 17 states plus the District of Columbia, in addition to international artists from Canada and Romania.
Juror Lisa Harris states, “I was very pleased to be asked to jury this exhibition, which allowed me to revel in subject matter that is less common at our gallery. It was challenging to narrow a field of more than 400 entries to just over 50. Often I did not include second or third works by artists I had already selected in favor of adding a different artist to the mix. In my ideal world, the final tally would have been slightly higher. I reviewed the submissions several times, over several days. Paring down and honing the selections has, I hope, resulted in a group of works that makes for a cohesive glimpse of this moment in time, and also highlights diverse approaches.”
Choosing artwork from among the hundreds of images is an extremely daunting task. Each year, a different juror is invited to select the work for the show, and each juror brings his or her own unique perspective and approach to the selection process. "Rather than ‘jurying,’ I prefer to think of the process of reviewing as ‘curating,’” Harris explains. “What will make for a dynamic exhibition that showcases different intent, voices, media and techniques while provoking a wide range of emotions in the viewer? While ‘judging’ is involved, it’s less about what I find good or bad, and more about what I find interesting.”
Artists participating in the 2016 Au Naturel exhibit are drawn to the subject matter of the human form for a variety of reasons. Nick Reszetar of Milan, Michigan, believes that “the human figure is one of the most profound and challenging art forms an artist can choose to take on, as it is a complex subject in formal, psychological and conceptual terms, and is one of the most engaging forms for an audience to view.”
Portland artist Reed Clarke, also a part-time resident in Gearhart, has been invited for the sixth time to exhibit his work in the Au Naturel. While Clarke is attracted to the rigorous discipline that working with the human figure demands, he is also captivated by the very process of painting itself. “Even though a painting may start with a face or a figure,” Clarke explains, “I'm soon lost in the actual process of painting: the interplay of color, line, volume, tone, value. Always, I'm trying to have the courage to paint over the early pleasing parts of a painting and arrive at something beyond what I thought was going to be the destination when I began - to let the process of painting have a say in the resolution that's right for the specific painting I'm working on.”
Juror Lisa Harris points out that “the inclusion of the nude as subject matter immediately places the artwork in the company of other au naturel works in the art historical continuum.” Robert Bibler of Salem, Oregon is not only inspired by the artwork of the Old Masters but also by the art materials of centuries past. “Renaissance space, allusions, and "quotations" -- sometimes merely the choice of 16th c. drawing media -- are presented ironically, symbolically, or paradoxically ‘in a post-modern context,’ as one critic put it discussing my drawings.” In addition, both Bruce Erikson of Mainville, Ohio, and Laura Viola Preciado of Langley, Washington draw inspiration from art historical sources. Erikson explains that the figure in his painting becomes “a vessel of experiences that is presented in an idealized and iconic fashion, informed by a love of art history.” Preciado’s painting entitled The Naked Toreador is a direct reference to Manet’s famous 19th century painting The Dead Toreador, which was in turn inspired by the work of the 17th century Spanish painter Velasquez.
On the other hand, Kerry Conboy of Monterey, California, explores a very current issue with very contemporary materials. The piece that he is exhibiting in the show is part of a series of pieces in which the artist is exploring “the way selfies turn a model into an artist, who then turns the model into a product. I work primarily in spray paint on plastered canvas, referencing offset printing and graffiti.”
Like Conboy, several other artists in the show are experimenting with unusual combinations of mixed media. Juliette Loquidis of Cottage Grove, Oregon is “exploring the relationship of traditional painting practice and the use of ‘strips’ (cut photographs and cloth) as counterpoint, to say two or more things at once comprehensively, as in musical composition.” Local artist Penny Treat of Long Beach, Washington, who has been invited to exhibit her work in the Au Naturel for the third time, will be exhibiting a piece that combines both painting and printmaking techniques together with her own unique process of layering a transparent hand-painted image on top of a colorful monotype. “I don't feel tied to one medium,” she explains. “I enjoy drawing, painting and printmaking equally. Art and the human experience are inseparable.”
Portland artist Ben Rosenberg, who lives part time in Manzanita, will be exhibiting in the Au Naturel for the third consecutive year. Rosenberg, who has taught the printmaking class at CCC multiple times and always encourages his students to experiment, enjoys exploring a wide variety of media in his own work. “My natural instinct as an artist is to work like a scientist, collecting and investigating through a wide variety of media from drawing and painting to sculpture and filmmaking,” he reveals. “I surrender myself to new materials and use them in new ways.”
Numerous artists in this year’s show have expressed an interest in delving beneath the surface of the skin to explore the inner landscape of the human psyche. Stephanie Fenner of Dundee, Michigan, describes her work as a “visual diary through which I explore the overlap of my fantasies and reality. I am hoping to convey the poeticism of romance, loss, and fleeting emotion. There is the overwhelming notion that everyone else knows what they're doing with their life, and one is alone in their suffering. These moments, although momentary in reality, have a sense of permanence. The uncertainty of my own life seems solidified by the certainty of everyone else's. It is in these insecurities that I wish to explore.”
Katie Genter of Kenosha, Wisconsin is “fascinated by how gender has become so tangled into how our society functions. Why are we uncomfortable when someone is not either or, and can there be beauty in both and neither? I am also interested in the abstract concepts of gender and vulnerability, and the many ways our views can manifest.”
Michael Reedy of Ann Arbor, Michigan, another artist who has exhibited in the Au Naturel multiple times, explains that in his most recent drawings, he has “revisited the timeless themes of life, death, and the human condition. This new interest in the expulsion and the fall of man has been paired with my prior leanings, which have long been rooted in fringe images of the body, medical illustration, ornamentation, dark comedy, and the uncanny. These inevitable aspects of existence bring to mind the most tragic, and most beautiful, images of the body. It is this transitional moment -full of both grace and pain - that I wish to prod and indulge.”
Further information about the 2016 exhibiting artists will be available online at the Au Naturel website after January 21st.
Direct inquiries to: Kristin Shauck, 503-338-2472.