The Arts Council of Lake Oswego's next showcase may be a bit haunting.
The exhibition titled "Abandoned, Images of What Remains" will have about 90 pieces of art on display from Sept. 3 through Oct. 29 at the new ARTspace Gallery located in City Hall, 380 A Avenue, Suite A. The opening reception, where about 45 artists will talk about their processes, will be from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10.
"The west coast of America has a unique history from Indigenous Peoples, early frontier days and the Oregon Trail, to the boom and bust industries of logging, mining, and agriculture. As result, the landscape is dotted with abandoned sites and structures," read a July 22 press release from the ACLO. "Once thriving and burgeoning, these now discarded, neglected places bear the mark of past human presence."
Lake Oswego's Public Art and Program Manager Stephanie Johnson said the theme was inspired by her experience living near ghost towns and abandoned mines in New Mexico and Colorado.
"I enjoyed exploring and learning their history," Johnson said in the press release. "There's something so hauntingly beautiful about an empty house that used to be someone's home standing alone on the landscape. Many other people share this fascination and create artistic images of what they see and how it makes them feel."
Johnson told the Review she believes the theme will resonate with the community, and that throughout the pandemic, she thinks more people explored rural areas. She added that in many of the artist statements and descriptions, she noticed people talking about the feeling of abandonment as well — especially during the last 18 months.
Artwork will include photography, paint, collage and 3D pieces, all capturing different interpretations of the theme.
One piece of art that stood out to Johnson is a painting of a former Portland Gas Company building, which has since been demolished.
"There's cool little historical tidbits that you don't run across every day, but someone took a picture of it and did a little bit more research on it," Johnson said.
Similarly, a photograph of the now-disappeared Boardman Tree Farm will be displayed. Another photograph, which personally resonates with Johnson, is of an abandoned mine.
"Prior to this job, I was in Colorado working in a mining town at a mining museum. And it's always really interesting to learn about the history of mining, especially because these mine towns and the mining camps and the big mines were set up in really backcountry locations that were really rugged and hard to get to, and really hard to live near," Johnson said. "So you come across these man-made structures and giant hills of things people pulled out of the ground. It's interesting to think what life would have been like working there and living there."
Work is available for sale and people can visit the exhibition at the gallery from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Visit the ACLO's website for more information and for COVID-related updates.
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