Genesis #1 (Edition of 7) 1965
9 3/4" x 10" x 3"
Be certain to check out two significant historical shows that close this
First of all the Hilda
Morris show of small sculpture and sumi ink drawings at Laura Russo Gallery
additional perspective to the retrospective at the art museum. There just weren't
that many abstract expressionist sculptors (and even fewer female ones) but
Hilda Morris adds an interesting counterpoint to David Smith, de Kooning and
a fascinating series of parallels to Louis Bourgeois' very early totem work.
Hilda Morris' craggy forms are known somewhat on the east coast as well and
hopefully this show at the museum will spark some additional interest in her nationally.
Clifford Gleeson (far left), Milton Wilson (large center painting), anonymous sculpture (foreground)
Then there is Milton
Wilson and His Peers at Pulliam Deffenbaugh
. I think it's the nicest survey
of these mostly regional artists Ive seen, it's not as grandiose as the Sondland
and Durant gallery in the Portland Art Museum (4th floor of the Northwest wing)
but its more comprehensive and ultimately the nicest compact survey of Post
1955-1979 art in the region with Wilson, Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, Margaret
Tomkins, Lee Kelly and Louis Bunce. There are plenty of parallels between de
Kooning and work by Wilson, Callahan and Bunce but only Wilson seems to have
de Kooning's zest for pop assemblage. Clifford Gleason makes a great showing
as well. He had a great hand and his pallet knife work has some of the zest you see also in Wilson's brushy use of fuchsia.
I like the earthiness of these fine regional painters but let's not forget
that it wasn't all musty earth tones, as Gleeson and Wilson can attest. The zip of the current Portland art scene
has all sorts of long standing historical precedents and Wilson and Gleeson
have more than a tangential relationship to it, both were mentors to many prominant
artists. True they were both characters and that has made the condition of their
estates (and contribution) less visible than other historical artists but their legacy amongst
artists plus joie de vivre
place their importance much higher than some
casual observers might expect. I think talking to top local artists like Lucinda
Parker and Tom Cramer for 5 minutes would make that abundantly clear. Actually
just looking at their work for a minute or two gives Parker and Cramer's work
a lot more context.
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