NSH Gallery Features Four Northwest Artists

John Van Dreal oil painting - "Again #2"
Four Willamette Valley artists will be exhibiting a wide variety of media in the third annual LBCC Invitational from Jan. 7 to March 1 in the North Santiam Hall Galleries at Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW, Albany.

Eugene sketchbook artist Ken O’Connell and Salem painter John Van Dreal will share the gallery walls with multi-media artist Shelley Jordon and photographer Julia Bradshaw, who are both on the faculty at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

A public reception and gallery talk with the artists will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 30, from noon to 1 p.m. in the NSH second floor atrium.  At 2 p.m. O’Connell will lead a workshop on the use of sketchbooks in the art and design process in the Fireside Room on campus.

“These four artists are great examples of the vitality of the local art scene,” said Dori Litzer, chair of LBCC’s Visual Arts Department. “That’s why we organize the invitational show every year—to show off the wide range and high quality of creative work being done right here in our own backyard.”
   
•Ken O’Connell is the senior member of the quartet. An emeritus professor of art at the University of Oregon, O’Connell is a highly regarded sketchbook artist and teacher who has published more than 50 articles on drawing and sketching. The exhibit will showcase 15 of the more than 75 sketchbooks he has completed over the past 50 years.

“I believe that the greatest use and benefit of working in art is the development of one’s ideas, observations and questions,” O’Connell says. “Art is about experimentation, and sketchbooks can be a tool to keep the spirit of inquiry alive in your work.”

•Shelley Jordon is a Portland-based painter and a professor of art at OSU in Corvallis who works in a wide variety of media. For the LBCC Invitational, Jordon has chosen to exhibit two grids of small-scale gouache paintings, as well as three animated video shorts.

A recipient of several arts fellowships and residencies, Jordon has exhibited her work all over the world, from Europe to Asia, and the Middle-East to Australia. Her recent film, “Terremoto,” won the Best Art and Animation Award at the Radar Hamburg Independent Film Festival.

“My work explores themes of everyday life,” she explains. “They range from the complexities and challenges of family relationships to the beauty of everyday objects.”

•John Van Dreal is a third generation artist who began painting at age 7.  He has exhibited in several museums and galleries in the Northwest, including the Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, the Halley Ford Museum and the Oregon Governor’s Mansion. After living and traveling on three continents, he has settled in Salem, where he also works as a school psychologist for the Salem-Keizer School District.

His oil paintings, many of which are executed in large scale, deal with figure studies, portraits and still lifes. Van Dreal said his canvases reveal the many layers of the artistic process, from the initial sketch through the evolving composition and paint color choices, even including accidental organic material that comes into contact with the wet paint during the process.

•Julia Bradshaw is new to the area, having recently taken a position as assistant professor of photography at OSU in Corvallis.  For the Invitational Exhibit, she has selected pieces from three different bodies of work that deal with communication, constraints, and library book vandalism.

A native of Manchester, England, she spent nine working years in Germany before moving to northern California, where she received her Masters of Fine Art in photography and video art from San Jose State University in 2007. Before coming to OSU this fall, she taught photography at California State University, Fresno.

“I create art as a means to problem-solve or comment on issues of the everyday, such as social interactions, language or being an artist,” says Bradshaw.

The four artists will be exhibiting on both floors of the NSH Galleries, which are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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