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Eugene Visual Art : Theater : 5.7.2009

 

Rambling and Rambling

Arts around town

by Suzi Steffen

Hierarchy #1, by Tahle Patton

Though it’s pouring rain as I write this, May often shapes up as one of the nicer months for art in Eugene. If you missed the First Friday Art Walk and/or the opening of the MFA show at the J-Schnitz last weekend, there’s still time to see the new galleries highlighted on the Art Walk and most of downtown’s standby galleries, not to mention various shows on campus.

A highlight of the Art Walk — as it was a highlight of last September’s pre-Celebration art explosion downtown — is the Splinters group show. Splinters, an ironic name for a group that sands, oils and buffs its creations to a sheen, is a local offshoot of a statewide woodworking group. The show runs the gamut from Tim Boyden’s famously whimsical reclaimed art pieces to the fine craft of recent  Eugene arrival Tahle Patton (whom I met years ago at the home of another woodworker in Washington). One of the great things about woodworkers is that their art serves immediate needs with objects people can use — objects made beautifully and with deep care. Check out the gorgeous tables, chairs, mirrors, cabinets and more from this loosely formed but seriously artistic cooperative effort. The Splinters Spring Show is located next to Fenario at 873 Willamette, runs through June 5 and is open Thursday-Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.

At the new Studio Tre Amiche, below J. Michaels Books (which appeared to be benefitting, happily, from the Art Walk crowd), three established local artists — Rogena Degge, Patsy Hand and Kathryn Hutchinson — show paintings, etchings and prints. Hutchinson also displays some of the tools of the printing process, which are great fun to see beside their resulting prints. Hand, whose birds form a sort of discussion with those of Degge, handles reds especially well.

The J-Schnitz sometimes gets ignored by artists in town because, as some have told me, it’s not really a spot for local artists to showcase their work. Well, the J-Schnitz devotes a huge amount of space and time to graduating students from the Master of Fine Arts program at the UO, putting up an MFA show and hosting a large opening each spring. It would be nice if the students so honored would bring their best work to the museum, but I can’t imagine that’s the case this year, with the most disappointing show since the museum reopened. A few pieces stand out — Aaron Foreman and Andrew O’Brien’s photography, Jennifer Harris’ wall piece — but in general, plan more time for other areas of the museum, especially the exhibit of Binh Danh’s photography. 

Don’t forget the opening of LCC student and faculty sculpture at 5:30 pm Friday, May 8, at the Jacobs Gallery under the Hult Center. I’m willing to bet LCC put its best work up for consideration — something the art-loving crowds will appreciate.