Tag Archives: Art
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
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Students and professors gathered for a presentation about the worldwide art exhibit, CowParade, on Oct. 16 in TJ Day Hall.
CowParade is an art exhibit that consists of a group of life-size fiberglass cow statues.
Corporations sponsor local artists to paint these statues. The finished statues range from cow-shaped advertising space to symbolic representations of pastoral history or references to local legends.
CowParade began in Zurich, Switzerland, to promote business in 1998 and quickly spread to Chicago in 1999 and New York City in 2000.
CowParade events have been hosted in more than 50 cities worldwide.
Dr. Sarah Wagner-McCoy, an assistant professor at Reed College, linked CowParade to Irish national pride, the Great Chicago Fire and Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” and explores connections between these seemingly bland, inoffensive cow statues to the deeper cultural meanings that sit behind the public’s opinion of the statues.
The vandalism of the statues in Dublin was one of the topics that Wagner-McCoy focused on.
“The vandalism was surprising,” Wagner-McCoy said. “In other cities, the public loved the cows so much that they would defend them if anyone tried to vandalize them, but in Dublin, the cows were smashed, stolen, beheaded and covered in graffiti, even after the exhibit was officially over and the cows were moved to less public places.”
Wagner-McCoy’s explanation of this phenomenon went back to the British colonization of Ireland and the destruction of statues that Irish rebels saw as symbols of British rule.
She contrasted the vandalism in Dublin with the popularity of cows in Chicago, where the legend of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow is celebrated in songs, reenactments and even a movie.
Wagner-McCoy said that her interest in CowParade first came from working with children in New York.
“It was the summer that CowParade came to New York City, and the kids just loved them,” Wagner-McCoy said. “We took field trips to see them and had activities based around them. There was one activity where the kids made their own little cows out of paper.”
The second time she encountered CowParade, Wagner-McCoy said she was in Dublin when the exhibit returned to the city.
“The teenagers got to paint one of the cows as a group, but they just were not interested,” Wagner-McCoy said. “It was basically a ‘No’ cow. They had these stickers with the red circles with diagonal slashes through them, saying no to drugs, marijuana, guns, all these things that they thought the kids would do, and the kids were supposed to paste these stickers onto this cow statue. It was incredibly insulting.”
The weird contrast between the children’s reactions to the cows in New York City and in Dublin intrigued Wagner-McCoy, she said.
“Pastoral images are everywhere,” Wagner-McCoy said. “It seems like a shallow hype, but it’s also very complex.”
The event was sponsored by the English Department.
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Transformed from an Iranian girl, suffering from restrictions of religion and gender injustice, to a “free” man who was recently granted asylum by the U.S. government, senior Shayne Oanes shared his entire 24-year-old life story, except for his real name.
Difficulty of being a woman in Iran
“I always felt I was a different person among my peers. It was hard to be a woman in Iran because of the way [people in Iran] treat women,” Oanes said.
Coming from a poor family in South Iran, Oanes’ mom had 20 siblings. The highest education she received was through fifth grade elementary school, because she was told it was enough for a woman to survive in the household. She married Oanes’ father when she was 15 years old.
“My dad forced my mom to marry him. My mom’s family also wanted to get away from her,” Oanes said.
Born into an extremely religious family with Islamic values, Oanes said he never felt comfortable with who he was because he didn’t even believe in God. He attempted his first suicide when he was 18 years old.
On the way to finding himself
When Oanes was 10 years old, he took a 20-day trip to India. Oanes said he was totally lost in India because he couldn’t speak English, and he realized that learning English is the way to communicate with people around the world. He started to learn English and made connections with relatives who lived in the United States.
In May 2006, he came to the United States with his father, who is a well-known filmmaker in Iran. As an assistant producer for a documentary on the role of the United Nations in mediating the debates over Iran’s development of nuclear programs, Oanes got a Media Visa (I-visa), a nonimmigrant visa for temporary travel.
When he came to Oregon to visit his uncle, he talked with Floyd Schrock, assistant director for International Admission, who promised to give him financial aid for studying at Linfield.
In February 2007, Oanes started at Linfield and decided to study psychology.
Oanes said that before he came to America, he watched Disney and Hollywood movies and thought that he knew America pretty well, but he still felt uncomfortable about the values in U.S. culture. He said that even though America is still a religious society, it was a great move for him from Iranian culture.
“I would never say that the U.S. has a big problem with religion, but you can definitely see the influences of religion on cultures. Religion plays a big role here,” Oanes said.
After he heard that women in America were unable to vote until the 1920s, he said that he realized women’s rights as a universal issue women in every culture still need to fight for.
“Once we try to make laws for a whole set of people, we get injustice,” Oanes said.
In gender theory class, he met Brenda Marshall, chairwoman of the Theater & Communication Arts Department, who taught him the politics of power distribution.
“She opened my eyes to the reality of why women’s progress is still hindered in the Middle East,” he said. “[The class] helped me put my experiences back home into perspective, because I come from a patriarchal society where men dominate all arenas.”
Changes coming from inside
However, positive influences from his outside environment didn’t stop his second suicide attempt after three years of being in the United States.
Fortunately, at the moment of having the pills, he said he realized that he was just born in the wrong body, wrong time and wrong society; so, he went to the hospital alone.
“The change I needed had to come from the inside, not the outside world,” Oanes said. “Transgender was the missing piece that completed the picture for me.”
Since then, he said the depression has been lifted and everything makes sense for the first time. However, he also got some criticism from feminists who thought he became a man because he wanted dominant power.
In summer 2009, he went to a homosexual community in San Francisco, where he applied for asylum and made friends who were in the same situation as him.
He said homosexuality is not allowed in Iran. After being discovered once, homosexual people would suffer floggings and would be killed if found more than three times.
“My young generation in Iran wants to have more freedom. They are inspired by Western values — liberty and
individual expression,” Oanes said.
He also said many newspapers get closed every day and the editors go to jail because they point out the problems in the society that should be taken care of.
“The Middle East is getting ready to adjust to the society, moving away from religion that the government enforced,” Oanes said.
Free expression of art
Once the confusion of his gender lifted, he started to express himself freely starting with his art piece exhibit in Portland.
Oanes’ Islam & Homosexuality gallery, which features a projector installation with 40 photos, runs April 8 through May 28 in Mile Post 5.
“I never thought my life was relevant to others. This semester is the most wonderful time for me, because I became an artist and even wrote my artist statement,” he said.
In his artist statement, he said: “Everyone has a story worth telling, but some of us have been told otherwise. Islam & Homosexuality is one of those stories deemed too unnatural, perhaps possessive of a counter-cultural quality, a dangerous blend of a frustrated generation of Iranian youth aching for the freedom to tell their stories and the harsh reality of everyday oppression. Islam & Homosexuality lies in the narrow line between a frustration for expression and the outright brutal oppression of the voice of a generation in need.”
The art piece includes 40 photo shots of two girls wearing loose-fitting chadors and rusaris that cover the hair. They hug, kiss and take off each other’s clothes. At the end, both girls are naked, only wearing thongs.
Junior Emily Shults was a model in the photos.
“Body is a good thing; no one should be ashamed about it,” she said.
As a graduating student of Linfield, Oanes has his proposed plan for the future. He said he is planning on making a documentary on transgender experiences in the United States this summer.
Through the Department of Psychology, he said he designed a study to test if viewing a realistic image of the transgender community, where they share their own life stories and engage in perspective-taking, would change the negativity in American society toward people who don’t conform to the binary definitions of gender.
He said the findings allow him to believe that viewing the transgender community in a realistic human light and attempting to take their perspectives could reduce negative attitudes toward this minority group. His effort could be effective in the future.
His plan includes more than the transgender or homosexual population.
“In this narrow-minded society, why don’t we let men cry? Why is homosexuality a gender disorder when I am healthier than I have ever been? The most basic thing for human beings is emotion, [my effort] is not just for homosexuality, but humanity,” Oanes said.
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Ceramic teapots, an artist’s performance and wood carvings gave presence to the Miller Fine Arts Center on May 11, at the opening reception of the 2011 Thesis/Portfolio exhibition “Concentrated Chaos.”
The event, sponsored by the Linfield Gallery and the Department of Art and Visual Culture, began with presentations by junior and senior art majors in the Withnell Commons in front of family and friends. The students explained their influences, progression and style behind their beginning works to their final portfolio and thesis projects.
The artist talks were then followed by a reception in the Linfield Gallery, where the students’ artwork could be viewed up close. For nine of these students, the event marked the end of a collegiate career.
“I’m hoping I can do this for a living,” said senior Amanda Holtby, who has already made a profit selling one of her 25 handcrafted, ceramic teapot sets. “I have several people interested in buying my sets.”
Holtby, one of four students required to create a website for her artwork, in addition to the final project, said she was inspired to create the teapots because they are the classic test of the potter’s skill, integrating the basic elements of a functioning piece. She also described her work as introspective and meditative.
Holtby said she has an idea of how she hopes visitors of her exhibit will react toward her project.
“Ceramics is not deeply philosophical,” she said. “I hope viewers will take away a sense of playfulness and appreciation [for my work].”
Senior Adriana Doust used her education in theatre courses and acting experience in the Linfield Theatre production “Execution of Justice” to perform her artwork. In her piece “Loss of Innocence” Doust confronted her own spirituality and sexuality in front of viewers during the reception, using a knife to cut open a white, pillow and her hands to crush strawberries over the fabric.
“It was more heartfelt than any object could convey,” Doust said about her performance. “It was the easiest and genuine way to convey the message behind my art.”
Doust said she often relies on her journal to resurface emotions that influence her work.
“It helps me reflect on how I felt during a certain time and get back into the zone,” she said.
Junior Ebonee Atkins used the theme of man’s relationship with nature as the driving force behind her collection of pieces titled “TIMBER!!,” which featured two wood-carved pieces mounted on the gallery wall.
Atkins said she wanted to make a political statement with her art.
“It’s about the relationship between man and nature and how we destroy and take advantage of the environment,” she said.
Atkins said she is influenced by land art, the use of natural materials and organic media to make art in nature.
“I like the fact that it will be here forever and it would be interesting to see how it can change or stay the same overtime,” she said.
Other portfolios displayed works centered around beading, photography, video, sewing, paint, drawing and the use of sheet metal and chicken wire to convey diverse personal and political messages.
After listening to the artist talks and viewing the students’ portfolios, senior Emily Hopping found a connection within the exhibition.
“They all look physically very different, but in several of the artists’ speeches they mentioned elements such as identity, memory and the ephemeral which indicates passing and things that don’t stay the same,” Hopping said. “I see an exchange of ideas, but then the artists took those ideas and went in different directions.”
“Concentrated Chaos” will be open to the public for viewing through May 29. The gallery, located in Building B of the Miller Fine Arts Center, is open Monday-Friday from 9-5 p.m. and Saturday from 12-5 p.m.
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His piece, titled “Masterplexed,” is a maze-like design that challenges perceived and actual space. It features temporary walls set up at 45-degree angles that confuse the eye’s perception of the installation. The continuity of the walls and lines are interrupted by the artist’s manipulation.
“The main point was to create space visually instead of physically,” Gilly said.
Gilley uses the installation of makeshift walls using gray panels to develop and elaborate on the room’s already existing walls. The lines on the panels are contrasted with additional orange lines. Everything in the exhibit is set to a grid with simple angles.
He said he wanted to reinforce the grid and then break it at the same time.
“The orange lines have no grid relationship; they are less measured and less predictable,” Gilley said.
Cris Moss, gallery director and instructional associate of art and visual culture, shared his perceptions of the exhibit.
Gilley’s work “questions how we view our personal space and perception. His art is busy yet clean. It uses simple lines and colors that allow the viewer to extend viewing past the walls,” Moss said.
The simplicity of the display is one of Gilley’s artistic traits. At first glance, the piece looks complex and busy but is simple at it’s core.
“The goal is to create a perplexing space with a minimal amount of visual stimuli, allowing the viewer to explore and experience subtle perceptual phenomena. The space is optically playing with color, spacial depth and flatness,” Gilley said.
The exhibit translates as something different to everyone who sees it.
“The exhibit is sort of a maze,” freshman Harry Bayley said.“It reminded me of a fun house. I like that it suggests depth without using shading. It looks like you could almost walk into the wall.”
Gilley reflected on his work.
“I like making visually challenging spaces, specifically referencing contemporary architectural developments,” he said. ‘Masterplexed’ is a pun on ‘master-planned communities’ and developments with a confusing twist.”
Gilley’s artwork has been showcased in many venues including the Las Vegas Museum of Art, the Arthouse in Austin, Texas, and even the East West Project in Berlin. He has received many grants from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and was awarded an artist fellowship by the Oregon Arts Commission in 2010.
He is an adjunct professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and the Art Institute in Portland.
The exhibit will run through March 12. Gilley’s flat artwork is also featured inside of the James F. Miller Fine Arts Gallery.
For more information, contact Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelsey Sutton, Staff Reporter