January 19 - March 26
Northwest Social Realism and the American Scene is an exhibition focused on Northwest artists and their depictions of scenes of everyday life in the Northwest during the 1930s through the 1950s. Many of the works reflect the industrial, political and social aspects of the Great Depression and WWII period.
Beginning in the late 1920s, younger American artists were turning away from the dominant influence of a completely unique representation of America. These artists utilized subject matter depicting elements of their individual regions and often celebrated the urban and rural environments as well as local industries and recreational activities.
On the other side of the spectrum, some Northwest artists used their talents to reflect their interest in communist and socialist ideology as well as labor causes and racial and class inequities. The Leftist movement was so strong in Washington State that in 1936, Postmaster General James Farley quipped...”There are forty-seven states in the Union, and the Soviet of Washington.”
Image credit: Abe Blashko (1920-2011), The Pillars, 1930. Lithograph, Private Collection
January 18 - September 24
We are featuring a selection of rare sculpture by major Northwest artists covering the decades of 1920's-1960's. Artists working in wood, plaster, marble and bronze include Everett DuPen, John Carl Ely, Marvin Herard, James FitzGerald, Phillip Levine, Ebba Rapp, and George Tsutakawa.
Image Credit: Ebba Rapp (1905-1989), Eve, circa 1938. Bronze, Collection of Lindsey and Carolyn Echelbarger
August 25, 2016 - August 27, 2017
For this iteration of our Gateway Gallery, we present works that offer a different perspective on style, subject matter and intent.
For decades, the art world has attempted to place barriers between stylistic variations in an artist’s production. “Realism” has been denigrated in favor of “Abstraction” with the idea that it is somehow more valid or relevant to whatever decade it happened to be created in. On the other hand, abstraction has also been misunderstood and dismissed by some factions as void of technique and arbitrary in content.
The fact is that all art is abstract even when it appears to represent something that is recognizable at first glance.
An artist might desire to portray a personal or emotional feeling associated with a particular life’s experience rather than a literal or obvious representation. This can be attained by the use of symbols, color relationships and other expressive forms, creating their own specific visual language. This approach is evident in some of the works on display by Matsudaira, Tobey and Tomkins.
Before the Northwest became the center for glass arts in America, the region was known for an outstanding number of innovative and successful studio ceramists.
Several universities in the Northwest created departments that encouraged the craft as a fine art medium. At the University of Oregon, Victorian Avakian Ross (1894-1975) was the first head of the ceramics department having joined the faculty in 1920. She was an influential force in the development of numerous ceramic artists on the West coast. The University of Washington also had several instructors that were among the finest ceramists in the world. In 1946 Paul Bonifas ((1893-1967), the Swiss artist whose associations with Amadee Ozenfant (1886-1966) and Le Corbusier (1887-1965) brought an important level of international sophistication to the region’s ceramic aesthetic. Robert Sperry (1927-1998), one of the most important ceramic artists in the region came under the guidance of Peter Voulkos in 1954 at Montana’s Archie Bray Foundation. The following year he began his influential teaching career at the UW until his retirement in 1982.
Important craft organizations were formed in Seattle including the Clay Club in 1948 and the Northwest Designer Craftsmen in 1954. The Clay Club promoted ceramic art through members such as Virginia Weisel (b. 1923), Lucille Nutt (1908-1996), Lorene Spencer (Born 1923), Robert Shields (1917-2012) and many others.
With this initial exhibition, Cascadia Art Museum is aiming to be a center for the exhibition, collecting and promotion of Northwest Studio Ceramics.
Image Credit: Robert Bruce Inverarity (1909-1999), Untitled, circa 1930. Oil on canvas. Collection of Lindsey and Carolyn Echelbarger