The Studio Gallery in the Miller Fine Arts Center displays a series of paintings called “Blind Corners, Portals, and Turning Points” by Ronald Mills de Pinyas, associate professor of art.
Mills started the paintings in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2010 and completed them in Oregon in 2011.
Mills was inspired by mixtures of ancient and colonial architecture, patterned folk art and the weavings of Zapotec, Mexico.
He also sought to instill the distinct mysticism, romance and worldview inherent in mestizo culture.
More personally, he said he worked through what sometimes seemed to be mysterious mazes of shifting pathways, unexpected events and miraculous opportunities in life—hence the title of the exhibit.
Each painting draws in the viewer’s attention with its unique blend of colors and abstract shapes.
While the paintings don’t actually contain distinct shapes, they produce a feeling of what Mills intended them to be.
“I have been painting since I was in high school, making art all of my life,” Mills said.
He said that his motivations have evolved over the years.
“I first started out of the sheer pleasure of making things and manipulating paint to make illusions,” Mills said.
He said that his motives later became more intellectual and were tied to cultural issues.
Eventually, he said that his art evolved to be more personal, aesthetic and original.
He now combines all these motivations to create complete pieces of art.
“I decided to ‘get serious’ as an undergraduate, thanks in part to having had mentors who convinced me, by example, that the pursuit of art was worth my greatest intellectual effort, emotional commitment and spiritual engagement,” Mills said. “The rest has required steady work and intense dedication.”
Mills has seven permanent murals on display in various universities: two in Linfield; one at the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro; one at the University of Costa Rica, San Ramon; one at a university in Cuernavaca, Mexico; one in Santa Ana, Costa Rica; and one at Oregon State University.
On top of all his murals, Mills has had his art displayed in various galleries, located everywhere from New York to Mexico.
“I love working and find the adventure is open-ended and though often difficult, always rewarding,” Mills said. “Being an artist frequently involves enduring and even thriving in solitude; acting in an open field of possibility without exterior direction or certainty. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Breanna Bittick/Staff writer
Breanna Bittick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.