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Ciy of Gresham's current art exhibition explores the outer limits of reality, imagination

If You Go

What: "Myth & Magic" art display featuring the works of 27 area artists

When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays through Feb. 6, excluding holidays

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

Details: The exhibition conjures the artistic spirit of the legendary and unknown with artists exploring mystical worlds and creatures in fairy tales, folklore and stories through painting, drawing, mixed media, photography, digital art, sculpture, jewelry, pottery and more.

Info: Visit greshamoregon.gov/Gresham-Art-Committee/

PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Myth & Magic, the current exhibit at the city of Greshams Visual Arts Gallery on Northwest Eastman Parkway features a wide range of fantastical creations including Jeanie Bates Spellbound (foreground) and Linda Zirkles Mystic Wanderers to its left. As far as reflecting his creative sensibilities, sculptor Enitan van Dalen probably couldn't think of a more stimulating theme for an art show than "Myth & Magic."

He spoke of what led to his striking, mysterious, mostly stone sculpture, "Youth Revisited," which is among the imaginative works currently on display at the city of Gresham's Visual Arts Gallery at an artists' reception held at the Northwest Eastman Parkway facility on Tuesday evening, Nov. 26.

Van Dalen spoke in depth of his background as a screenplay and TV script writer, and how lucid dreams, nightmares, sleep paralysis and other psychological phenomena he reckoned with informed his segue from the written word to abstract artistry.

"In lucid dreams, I was able to learn how to control my dreams," he said, crediting making his way "through an existential crisis" with fueling his transition. "Lucid dreams (and other intense sleep-based experiences) lead to a lot of creativity."PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Enitan van Dalens mostly stone sculpture 'Youth Revisited' is one of the manifestations of the artists transformational experiences with lucid dreams and other sleep-related phenomena.

The city's latest art exhibition, on display through Feb. 6, was intended to conjure the artistic spirit of the legendary and unknown. To be included, artists were asked to explore mystical worlds and creatures in fairy tales, folklore and stories shared through the millennia via painting, drawing, mixed media, photography, digital art, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, glass and other 3D works.

"The title kind of is the concept," said show curator Jonathan Scott. "'Myth & Magic' was an idea that appeared to allow for many types of media and approaches to creativity. Through 'Myth & Magic,' (artists) can explore something they may not have (fully) explored before. People enjoy painting magic things: dragons, fantasy creatures and (mystical) places."

For "Myth & Magic," Scott and fellow members of the Gresham Arts Committee chose works by 27 artists out of about 50 from throughout the Gresham and Portland metro area who submitted.

The committee chooses themes with veteran members there to help new members curate and plan for the shows and exhibits.PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Megan Calfos All For You exemplifies the intense creativity and imagination that went into submissions to the Myth & Magic show on display through Feb. 6.

"It was fun to work on the selection process," said Scott, a Gresham resident. "The process is highly collaborative. The themes are selected as a group and then (pieces) picked by the committee."

Scott, whose own "Woodland Castle" submission conjures up a mystical scene of a castle surrounded by water, dark green trees and snow-capped peaks, tries to remain as objective as possible in the curation process. While he likes all the entries, he said he was especially intrigued by the "magical feeling of discovery" in Linda Zirkle's "Mystic Wanderers." The stark, earth-toned painting depicts eight anonymous figures roaming around a desertlike landscape.

"The quality of work from local artists never ceases to amaze me year after year," he said. "Area artists create fantastic pieces of art that incorporate the theme remarkably."

PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Sculptor and writer Enital van Dalen discussed how lucid dreams, sleep paralysis and out-of-body experiences informed his creativity during an artist talk in Gresham City Council Chambers on Tuesday, Nov. 26.


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