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New Gresham Arts Committee theme sends imaginations into overdrive in latest exhibit

If You Go

What: "Outside the Box," presented by the Gresham Arts Committee

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Thursday, Nov. 7, excluding holidays

Where: city of Gresham Visual Arts Gallery, Public Safety & Schools Building, 1331 N.W. Eastman Parkway.


PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Simeon Bassett, 10, started work on his abstract, multicolored Tree of Imagination earlier this summer. For Gigi Matacco, sharing her paintings through gallery shows and receptions in the greater Portland area provides a fun and creative way to network and get to know people in the place she now calls home.

The artist recently moved to Northeast Portland from Northern California.

"I've been looking for ways to connect to the community," Matacco said at an artists' reception on Tuesday, Aug. 27, in the Gresham Visual Arts Gallery. "This has been a wonderful door opener."

She's referring to "Outside the Box," the Gresham Arts Committee's latest themed installment. Two of Matacco's pastel creations, "Waves Radiate" and "A Clear Path Forward," were chosen to join 30-some other creations on display in the gallery at the Gresham City Council Chambers.

"I love how this connects to the city council (space)," Matacco said of the well-lighted, high-profile public corridor. "It's a wonderful way to exhibit and connect art with everybody's day to day lives."

PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Clockwise from left, Sergey Bezhinets Rain and Leo Hartshorns Viva La Raza and Tiki Road are among the colorful and thought-provoking paintings on display at the Gresham Visual Arts Gallery through Thursday, Nov. 7. Conceived and curated by Debra Dunlap of the Gresham Arts Committee, "Outside the Box" was meant to encourage artists "to reflect a new perspective" for those who "see, feel, create and design their art through a new dimension — art that is spontaneous, innovative and imaginative," the show's description reads. "Whatever your medium, step outside that box."

Dunlop and her fellow committee members winnowed around 60 submissions down to the approximately 40 that ended up on display.

Artists featured include Matacco, Patricia Armstrong, Simeon Bassett, Sergey Bezhinets, Kristen Caldwell, Beverly Curtis, Dianna Ferenz, Dominique Fitowski, LindaLee Frazier, Bogdan Gheorghe and William Thierfelder.

"Thinking outside the box is a metaphor for getting the brain working to come up with something different," Dunlop explained. "We try to bring in artists who encourage other artists."

PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - The recent artists reception for the Gresham Arts Committees Outside the Box show brought out a good crowd to check out a wide variety of imaginative and in some cases surreal artwork.  At 10 years old, Simeon Bassett, the youngest artist taking part in "Outside the Box," seems to fit that description well. The Gresham resident started work on his abstract, multicolored "Tree of Imagination" earlier this summer.

"I really like nature and colors," Bassett said during the artists' reception while standing by his creation. "I figured for a show called 'Outside the Box,' I would make it a little different, so this is what I came up with in my mind when I started to paint."

Once the idea took hold, Bassett completed the painting in only three hours.

"I thought for awhile," he said. "I kind of had a picture in my head of where to paint and what to paint."

After painting for about a year, Bassett thinks he's going to stay on the artistic path.

"Painting," he said, "it's pretty cool."PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Gigi Matacco stands by her Waves Radiate pastel painting, one of two she submitted for the Outside the Box show.

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