Concrete & Grassland Exhibit

I attended the opening artists’ reception for Concrete & Grassland June 3rd. This juried exhibit is a collaboration between Studio Art Quilt Associates and the Grants Pass Museum of Art and features 57 art quilts by 57 artists.  SAQA artists were asked to submit works that explored either the soft lines of nature or the hard lines of urban structures, or a combination of both. Almost 400 entries were submitted from around the world, including the United States, Israel, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Lithuania.

Several of my friends from the Bay Area have work in this exhibit and attended the opening reception so I was eager to see their work and them. The exhibit had a nice splash of notice in the Grants Pass Daily Courier on June 3. Click on an image for a larger view.

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The date was also the First Friday Art Walk day for Grants Pass so attendance at the opening was very high. I heard one of the museum docents comment that well over 200 people had come in during the first hour.

Photography was limited — prior permission from the artist was required — so I have only a few images to share here.

Dolores Miller wrote this about Monument for Humanity in the catalog: “La Grande Arche de la Fraternite, the westernmost element of the Triumphal Way in Paris, was inaugurated in 1989. Rather than glorifying military victories (as does the Arc de Triomphe de l”Etoile), the hollow cubic structure with its grand staircase was designed to express humanitarian ideals and inspirations.”

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Jennifer Landau says this of her entry Root & Branch:  “Natural and human-made systems are positioned side-by-side, one grounded in the concrete grid and the other in topographic meandering.  Peel away the outer layer of urban structures and peek beneath the streets.  There is a branching infrastructure of pipe and wire that maintains human life, just as roots and branches sustain trees in the natural landscape.  Roots may curve as they delve into the soil and pipes may stretch straight beneath the pavement, but both allow water and energy to flow where needed.  Streams wind through the landscape, small branches joining into rivers, while neighborhood streets connect to cross-town arteries.  The relationship of the two worlds is not always benign, yet on good days we experience them seamlessly, two halves of our existence neatly zipped together.”

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Denise Oyama-Miller shared her joy in creating Grass Lake for this exhibit:  One of my favorite spots is a lovely rest area along Highway 97 at about 5000’ elevation, just outside of Weed, California.  At one point, it actually was a lake created by a lava flows that blocked a drainage path on the east side of the valley.  There was a hotel on the same site as the rest area.  In the early 20th century, a development project inadvertently broke through the seal of the porous lava rock, and the water drained out through what is called “The Glory Hole,” which is still visible today.  What is now left is a large, beautiful “wet” meadow just east of the southern Cascade Range.  It is a quiet, peaceful spot to watch the herds of cattle in the distance, nesting sand hill cranes, and the rare tiger salamander.”

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Geri Patterson-Kutra created Room With A View 2.  She says, “We create urban environments not only to provide shelter, but also to satisfy economic mandates, neglecting our natural world and limited resources.  Power lines march across the landscape delivering the electricity to light the cities and power industries.  Our homes are built shoulder to shoulder on concrete slabs, ignoring the fragility of the earth below.  My work explores the juxtaposition between grassland and urban demands.  Will the lines between the two continue to be blurred until our only memory of grassland becomes a screensaver on our computers?”

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The artists enjoyed lively conversations about their inspiration for the work.

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And there was catalog signing.

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And then just a bit of happy-moment posing. Here I am with Denise and Dolores — each of us is a former regional representative for the Northern CA SAQA Region.

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The exhibit continues through July 29, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Grants Pass Museum of Art which is located at 229 SW G Street. If you are near the area at all, stop by to take it in — it’s worth the effort.

8 replies
    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      Thanks Denise. And we were thrilled to have you and Dean stop by on your way to Grants Pass. We’ll have to create more opportunities for meeting in the future.

    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      This really is a wonderful show. I’m not sure of the venue line up, but if it gets to your area it’s worth a visit!

    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      It was really wonderful to see so many people enjoying the exhibit! BTW, let me know next time you’re in Oregon — we may be able to connect.

    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      Oh good. But you would have really enjoyed the whole thing and we would have loved to have you there.

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