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February 2024 Exhibit

February 2024 Exhibit
Corey Arnold
Far From Home
February 10 – March 4
 
In conjunction with the annual FisherPoets Gathering and in honor of the importance of the maritime industry to our region, we are proud to present the powerful photographic work of commercial fisherman and artist Corey Arnold. Arnold brings an incredible collection of large-scale photographic prints, narrating his work experiences in Alaska, both on the Bering Sea and Bristol Bay. His up close and intimate look at the working environment is an inspiration with a solid nod of respect to those who depend on the sea for livelihood. Far From Home opens during Astoria’s Second Saturday Artwalk 12 – 8 pm, February 10 and will remain on view through March 4th.

Known for his high drama photographic imagery, Arnold has enjoyed a dual career, merging his love of the sea with his art. Respected internationally, he has fished, photographed, and exhibited his work around the world. His love of the sea and fishing began as a child, about the same time he first picked up a camera. What began as weekend family adventures quickly became a permanent part of life. Arnold began fishing commercially in 1995 as a deckhand aboard various vessels and skiffs in Alaska. His career as a fine art photographer and fisherman has taken him far, both documenting and fishing the world’s oceans. Despite his international success as a photographer, Arnold returns every summer to Bristol Bay, Alaska where he captains a skiff, fishing for salmon.

Arnold’s work is without doubt a celebration of the lifestyle of the fisherman. Through his lens he captures the raw and rugged reality of hard work, with brutal and honest images that depict both danger and beauty, sometimes in the same moment. Arnold is not one, however, to overly romanticize, he is critically aware of the struggle of a rapidly changing global fishing industry. His photographic work runs deeper than capturing a way of life, he tackles environmental issues, food production and man’s complex relationship to the natural world, all on a global level. Within this series, Far From Home, he considers the sacrifice that comes with the career, leading to days, weeks even months away from home and loved ones.

About his work, he states: “During my seasonal adventures at sea, there was plenty of down time to reconsider one’s place in the world. This seasonal escape from the “real world” has its meditative benefits but, not without a certain feeling of loss, especially being far from those we love. While we are not alone on these boats or distant islands, a shared experience of loneliness, the vulnerability of longing bonds us with our fellow crew. Photography has always been my way of sharing my life at sea with my friends and family back on shore, a way of connecting distant worlds. This exhibition is a collection of images I have made over many years, moments of reflection, suffering, adventure, storms, and unlikely beauty far from home.”
 
 
Arnold, who graduated from the University of Art Academy in San Francisco has enjoyed a diverse and exciting career. His series Fish-Work was launched after receiving a commission from the PEW Charitable Foundation, taking him to Europe and photographing from aboard fishing vessels in eight European countries. He has also been awarded an American Scandinavian Foundation grant which led to the documentation of the work of fishermen in Northern Norway. His work has been exhibited in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York as well as numerous other venues worldwide, and published in Harpers, The New Yorker, New York Times LENS, Art Ltd, Rolling Stone, Time, Outside, National Geographic, Mare, and The Paris Review, among others. He is a Hallie Ford Foundation Fellow as well as a National Geographic Explorer, and the recipient of multiple awards including the 2023 Wildlife and Nature Professional Category of Sony World Photography Awards and first-place in the Nature Category of World Press Photo Awards in 2018. Arnold has published two books of photography by Nazraeli Press including Fish-Work: The Bering Sea, and Fishing with My Dad and his work can be found in the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum as well as many other private, corporate, and public collections.
 

January 2024 Exhibit

January 2024 Exhibit
Nicholas Knapton    

Conversations with Gavi


We are excited to be presenting a long-awaited exhibition for Nicholas Knapton, a Pacific Northwest artist who has been balancing his career between Astoria, Oregon and Berlin, Germany for nearly three decades. This series, Conversations with Gavi encompasses years of connection to a long-time friend, despite distance, via artistic expression. Knapton brings paintings, drawings and silk screen prints for his solo exhibition that opens during Astoria’s Second Saturday Artwalk, January 13. Knapton will be at the gallery Saturday, January 13, 5 – 8 pm, come say hello and learn more about him and his diverse career. The exhibition will be on view through February 5.
 
Knapton, born in York, England and raised in Astoria has a fascinating story. His sense of connection to home is strong, regardless of how far away he found himself and with the ever present need to immerse himself in other cultures, studying other languages and always gathering knowledge from wherever he landed to then imbue into his artwork. Back in his Astoria studio he has been creating new paintings, considering conversations with a longtime friend in Berlin. These conversations may feel insignificant in the moment but sometimes lead to the framing of one's identity. This exhibition is about personal connections, enjoying years of shared philosophy over tea and ultimately exploring what may seem mundane, to the life altering profound. He also includes drawings done while still in Berlin, the bridge from here to there.
 
Knapton continues with his recognizable direct and edgy abstract style, however within this series he brings brighter color to his palette. Gone is the moody darkness inspired by old gritty Astoria and war-torn East Berlin, instead turning to a more playful upbeat pallet, perhaps reflecting a hopeful future that we all look towards. His style still contains reference to the avant garde German Expressionist movement, an inescapable influence from his years living in Berlin within the rebellious counterculture, after the Wall came down and the unification of the country.
 
About this series he states: These painting relate to the conversations I would have with my Scottish friend Gavi who still lives in Berlin. They are quite indulgent in color and abstraction similar to what Gavi would talk about. They are not difficult or demanding but simple and entertaining, but also with some deep, stimulating intellectual meaning behind them. These conversations would always get me through hard times, but also just to pass some time, almost like reading a book or indulging in a fascinating film documentary. Many people have asked me why I moved to Berlin, which I did in 1994 at the age of twenty-three, and then again in 2011 when I was aged forty. The question is always difficult to answer because Berlin especially East Berlin is a place where people stereotypically escape from, but strangely enough people of my ilk, artists, rebels, political activists, musicians, and people who basically did not fit in to wherever they had come from fled to. These people were basically people from everywhere, congregating in Berlin in the 1990’s after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. And Gavi and I were a couple of the people amongst thousands who just ended up there. These years were extremely formative for me and have basically shaped my personality and my work as an artist.

Knapton, who began his art studies at Clatsop Community College under the tutelage of Royal Nebeker and Richard Rowland has balanced a career that has taken him back and forth between two very distinctive art communities, exhibiting his work here in Astoria, Portland to the other side of the Atlantic in Berlin, Paris, Estonia, and other European art houses. This dual career is what inspires him, allowing him to participate in an epicenter to creative thought while also bringing it home to a quieter village lifestyle. It is living here, in a more rural setting, that gives him space to contemplate his broader experiences, shaping and defining his focus. His experience in both communities translates to a bold painterly style where both dynamic layers of energy and spontaneity find spaces of open calm and dynamic use of color.
 
Knapton’s flexibility in lifestyle has allowed him experiences few will encounter. After finishing studies at Clatsop Community College, he headed to Portland where he attended Portland State University, studying under Northwest notables such as Mel Katz, Linda Wysong and Susan Harlan. With a strong core of knowledge, Knapton then jumped into the then burgeoning Berlin art scene. While in Europe he assisted with the restorations of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, London, and participated in the Wrapped-Reichstag project by famed installation artists Christo and Jeanne Claude in Berlin. Back home, his figurative work has been juried into the annual Au Naturel International Juried Exhibition multiple times by acclaimed art professionals, including an awarded purchase prize from the college. He continues to exhibit his work both in the Northwest as well as Berlin.
 

October 2013 Exhibit

October 2013 Exhibit
The Things We Leave Behind
Diane Kingzett     

Diane Kingzett of Portland brings a new series of mixed medium paintings for her fifth solo exhibition at Imogen. Describing herself as a painter of emotion, Kingzett leaves preconceived ideas of content and composition to consider her own internal dialogue, allowing psyche to become muse. The Things We Leave Behind is consistent with Kingzett’s abstract style of expression but with a departure, giving pause for clarity and acceptance. The exhibition opens during Astoria’s second Saturday artwalk, October 14. Kingzett will be in attendance and available to answer questions about her work from 5 – 8 pm that evening. The show will be on view through November 6.

For Kingzett, the process of painting is a basic means of communication, a place where ideas and life experiences are gathered and utilized to distill into pictorial narrative. Within this series she considers the physical and emotional relics once so significant, which we ultimately abandon through maturity and a state of inner knowing. Through this process one may grow to understand and accept what to carry or what to put down, easing the burden of a lifetime of experiences. Through abstraction, her compositions might bring vague imprint of place which for her are personal documentations of time and memory.

With calculated use of palette, she brings exquisite blues melting into golden color fields; the warmth of vibrant, passionate pinks balancing quiet washes of grey, lending to memory of landscape while offering a sense of peace with what was.

Exploring new ideas, she has also incorporated the use of new medium. Working with flashe paint for the first time along with oil, her first love, she brings an intensity of color with a deep matte finish. Flashe paint is typically utilized on stage sets in theaters for its ability to absorb light with less reflection. For Kingzett this has granted a new-found freedom in the process of painting itself. Her painting style has always held the element of confidence, the addition of a medium new to her has enhanced that assuredness, freeing her hand and eye even further to explore her own ideas while bringing a deeper level of richness to color, texture, and finish. Consistent to her work is her ability to provide space for intuitive consideration of process through an ethereal sense of reality.

About this series she states:
These paintings address physical and emotional relics once significant to me that I ultimately had to abandon to embody maturity and a state of inner knowing. Tired attachments to places, ideals, fears and false securities become inert. The idea that abandonment, once such a detriment to us when we are young, can ultimately compel us forward into self-evolution.
 
While exploring a new medium in vinyl flashe paint, I found a fresh freedom of expression in the intense opacity of the paint, both as an under painting and in final layers partnered with oil paint, graphite and paper. The intensity and immediacy of the saturated color of flashe paint adds a new sensibility to intuitive painting for me coupled with a more decisive, authoritative hand. A sense of saying more with less has arisen, an old theme in contemporary art but relatively recent in my process. Painting feels more contemplative now, and paint has become a partner rather than something to conquer. 
 
Kingzett, who has painted for well over 30 years earned her BFA at West Virginia University and studied at the San Francisco Art Institute as well as the Vermot Studio Center. Having lived in all four corners of the country, Kingzett has taken inspiration from her experiences and utilized that towards the development of her work as a painter. She is also an accomplished silversmith, translating her love of color and texture to exquisite bezel set stone jewelry pieces, also available at Imogen.
 

OPB's Think Out Loud interview of sculptor M.J. Anderson

OPB's Think Out Loud interview of sculptor M.J. Anderson
Click on picture for OPB's live interview

For nearly 40 years, sculptor M.J. Anderson has been making annual trips from her home on the Oregon Coast to Carrara, Italy. She spends up to three months there, traveling along a winding road to quarries with towering walls of marble, the same kind of stone that was used to create Michelangelo’s sculpture of David and other timeless works of Renaissance art.

But Anderson isn’t interested in recreating classical, idealized representations of masculine or feminine beauty. Instead, as a recent exhibit of her work in Astoria showcased, a unifying theme of Anderson’s work is “the distillation of what it feels like to be woman.” Starting at her studio in Carrara, she uses grinders and air hammers to carve torsos evoking the female form out of massive blocks of marble, onyx and travertine. The pieces are then shipped, unfinished, to Anderson’s studio in Nehalem where she polishes them while retaining drill marks and other raw reminders of the stone’s past and its “power.” We’ll talk to Anderson about her artistic process and the themes that animate her work today.

Review of Darren Orange's Paracosm By Richard Speer

Review of Darren Orange's Paracosm By Richard Speer
Darren Orange has maintained a long inquiry into the landscape of the region that nurtured him, the Pacific Northwest. (The show's title refers to an imaginary world, which Orange likens to "creating your own universe.") Born and raised in Yakima, Washington, to third-generation apple orchardists, he earned a B.A. in painting with an art-history minor at Western Washington University. Since 2000 he has lived in Astoria, Oregon, except for a two-year stint in Santa Fe. Over that quarter century Orange has transliterated the Northwest’s rivers, mountains, forests, and logging towns into the genre of abstracted landscape.  
 
Orange’s palette has tended toward earth tones, his gestures toward natural and human-made referents such as the cut of the horizon line across the Pacific Ocean or the span of the iconic Astoria-Megler Bridge, which connects Oregon and Washington.  This stylistic and thematic consistency makes his new exhibition, “Paracosm,” all the more surprising a departure.
 
The 33 oil paintings that comprise “Paracosm” (all from 2022 and 2023) leave concrete referents behind in favor of pure abstraction. He also trades in his customary color palette of browns, blacks, and subdued gray-periwinkles for bright, bracing, edible sherbet hues. Nothing in Orange’s prior work prepared me for the pinks and juicy oranges of the show’s centerpiece work, the 7 by 5 1/2 foot “Synesthesia,” nor the lemon-yellows and bubblegum blues in “Proclivity to Shadow the Sun,” nor the scrumptious cherry reds of “Glass Skies.” His handling of paint, however, retains the flowing, self-assured brushwork viewers will recall from previous bodies of work. In fact, arguably Orange’s most successful paintings have been those in which bravura representational passages verged on abstraction.
 
His current deep dive into pure gesture seems to have liberated and invigorated him. There is a newfound ferocity, a jittery kineticism in his dashes and daubs with brush, palette knife, and spatula. A powerful centrifugal force animates “Thorn of the Recalcitrant” and “Abstracta Botanica,” their crescent-shaped gestures telegraphing mass and motion hurtling outward.
 
He comes to abstraction not on a pointless mission to change art, but to discover himself personally and aesthetically. The works on aluminum panel, in particular, lend themselves to what Orange calls “a wild ride in slippery, wet viscosity that makes the painting action fast and loose.” The surfaces are thick with impasto, perhaps a nod to the mutant textures of Anselm Kiefer, one of his big influences.
 
I place Orange’s style in the company of four Northwest painters of roughly his generation: Timothy Scott Dalbow, Jason Dickason, my late partner Dorothy Goode, and Scott Wayne Indiana in his work circa 2004-2007 — assertive, intuitive, and very much in the lineage of Abstract Expressionism. Lucinda Parker and Barbara Sternberger began working in this mode a generation earlier.
 
Orange has reshuffled the bones of this approach into something appreciably fresher that — having ditched the woodsy hues and heavily varnished surfaces of his incipient years for a brasher, more exultant palette without varnish — evinces a hyperspace jump after two decades of a consistent aesthetic message. His abstractions look suave and commanding here, their nubby surfaces, bold gesturalism, and Pop Art palette exuding a heady confidence as they update the painter’s Northwest ethos with an agreeable jolt of flash and verve.
 
Although this is Orange’s fourth solo exhibition at Imogen, it’s his first in the gallery’s expanded exhibition space, which doubled in size with a remodel in late 2021/early 2022. Some background about this gallery’s location far from an urban center; it is unique in Astoria. Imogen is a light-filled white cube, warmed by rustic wooden beams holding up the ceiling. It is well suited for the large-scale paintings that Orange favors, and for sculptures such as those of M.J. Anderson, whose show preceded Orange’s. It’s hard to overestimate Imogen’s impact on the Oregon Coast art ecosystem over the past decade.  
 
Director/founder Teri Sund opened up shop in August 2012, incorporating coast-based artists such as Anderson and Marc Boone, as well as Portlanders like Corey Arnold, Tom Cramer, and Matthew Dennison, Lauren Mantecón from Santa Fe, and Anne Grgich from Seattle. Sund has an eye for work that is regional but not regionalist. This is not the place to buy a sunset-and-sand print to cart home as a souvenir of your vacation on Cannon Beach, and while the gallery does have a section for ceramics, glass, and jewelry, the doubling of the exhibition square footage keeps the ratio of contemporary art to craft at around 85/15, which is just about right for an integral but pragmatic seaside art space.