White Bird Gallery will open its summer art show with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 18. The show features new paintings by Randall Tipton, wood carvings by Tom Cramer, and raku-fired ceramics by Dave and Boni Deal. The show will run to Aug. 25.
Randall Tipton is an Oregon artist who has been painting for over three decades. He works in oils on canvas as well as with various water media on paper and yupo surfaces, creating paintings that use the landscape as a guiding orientation. At its core, Tipton’s work suggests something fundamental and primal, drawing from the transcendental relationship we have with the natural world. His compositions interpret the complexity of scene in deep layers of color and gesture, using soft tones and expressive brushwork that is often achieved through a trial-and-error process.
Tipton’s process is informed by the improvisational aspects of Abstract Expressionism as a more direct link to the unconscious. His introspective paintings also stem from a belief in the restorative qualities of nature. Alluding to a dreamlike state, his emotive compositions challenge the relationship between foreground and background as elements of light and depth create a degree of abstraction among his recognizable scenes. Tipton studied painting with Richard Diebenkorn at the Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts. His work is included in several prominent collections such as the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador and Newsweek.
Cramer is a well-known Oregon artist who creates meticulously carved, painted and gilded wood reliefs. The native Oregonian gained recognition throughout Portland in the 1980s and 1990s for his landmark outdoor murals, wildly painted art cars and carved miniature totems — all of which are bright, bold and lean toward American pop-culture. Cramer’s recent wood reliefs are more intimately approached than his previous public works. He draws from the deep histories of spirituality and cultures from places such as India, Egypt and Europe.
Merging aspects of painting and woodcarving, Cramer’s pieces are labor-intensive vignettes that allude to timelessness and emotional experience, rather than any direct representation. In Cramer’s intricate relief surfaces and gilded textures there is a sense of the infinite nature of reality, as he blends a influences and such contradictory things as order and chaos, irrational mental states, romanticism, industrialism and an array of musical, literary, visual and cultural references to turn the viewer on to an expanded view of themselves.
Boni and Dave Deal are a husband-and-wife team who have been creating raku vessels and wall plaques for over 40 years. Their collaborative pieces are mainly classic ceramic forms embellished with themes of Northwest flora and fauna, created at their rustic home-studio in the Cascade Mountains. Dave Deal is a master at wheel throwing, building and firing the ceramic vessels with precision while Boni Deal uses her expertise to create elegant surface design and texture to each pottery piece. The Deals’ nature-oriented ceramic art is also notable for the integrity of process — pieces are created with water from a creek, no electricity, and often use a kick-wheel, before being raku-fired.
The exhibit will include large-scale vessels with heron motifs, wall triptychs and platters inspired by landscape scenes, and their signature leaf motif pottery, which uses real leaves pressed into the clay surface leaving behind an incredible real-life impression of maple, fern and gingko leaves. Some of their newest pieces also use batik methods and wax resistance to achieve detailed landscape designs on the pottery surface.