Artist Stories

Below is an overview of artists previously featured in the Gallery @ The Jupiter Hotel.


May – July 2016

About Wilder Schmaltz…

Artist Bio –

Wilder was born in Portland, Oregon. His work often portrays anonymous people from earlier decades, as well as outdated notions of mutable concepts like clean living, delinquent or dangerous behavior, good citizenship and masculinity/femininity. He holds a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art and is cofounder of Flight 64 Press, a nonprofit printmaking studio.  His illustrations have appeared in places like Grantland Quarterly, The Portland Mercury, distillery labels for Temperance Whisky and album covers for Small Souls and Eagle Pass.


Artist Statement –




“Beginning a new “black drawing” involves much exploration. Starting with a void-like surface, I take on the task to tease out elements; it feels at times less like drawing or painting than holding a light to my subjects, already in there somewhere, and bringing them out of the dark. Colored pencils, wax pastels, and gouache are my tools- applying varnish makes the colors intensify and the black background deepen in a process full of varying degrees of anxiety, anticipation, and wonder.


These portraits range from the dignified to the harrowing to the ridiculous. In dress and style, the subjects are a 20th-century mish-mash; their unusual colors have a sci-fi futuristic flavor- they meet in the void between past and future.”


March – May 2016

About Karen Wippich…

Our Struggle

Karen Wippich grew up moving across the US, spending time alone creating characters and fantasies. Most of her adult life has been spent working as a graphic designer. Her design work has been widely published in the US and internationally. A few years ago her focus changed to something she dreamed about as a child, to be a working artist.


Karen’s expressionist acrylic paintings show her graphic influence with figures inhabiting and blending into abstract environments, their bodies breaking into geometric shapes, incised by lines. Her paintings have been shown extensively in Oregon galleries as well as shows in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.


January – March 2016
About Joel Barber

Joel is a technician, striving to be expressive. Academic training and decades of DIY creative experimentation have provided him with a broad range of artistic disciplines including technical drawing and illustration, studio painting, printmaking, airbrush and masking, and digital media. Joel thrives in the creation process, exploring the use of materials and methods of execution, while developing his own visual language.


“I’m intrigued by the balance between surface treatment and the content of the piece. I want evolved images that are both expressive and narrative.”


Barber has been heavily active in the Portland visual art and music scene for about fifteen years. He’s been showing work in galleries and alternative spaces, monthly, since 1999, curated exhibition venues, booked bands, freelanced graphic design for many a gig poster and album cover, and painted giant murals throughout the northwest. Joel is known for being unafraid to explore new territory and working in series that present unexpected new styles, always with legitimate skill and execution. He makes figurative pieces with familiarity that pull from a broad visual spectrum, balancing gestural brush strokes and paint application, with contemporary influences such as graphic design, graffiti art and digital illustration. Most recently, Joel has been creating paintings inspired my traditional Japanese woodblock prints, Science-Fiction, disaster dreams and volcanos of the Pacific Northwest.

December 2015 – January 2016   About Gigi Conot

Gigi Conot’s work has spanned a number of mediums throughout her career: from oil paintings, to mixed media drawings and paintings. She moved on to photography, drawing, and digital collage. Conot has looped the thread of creation at the innermost level to many mediums of art. Her most recent series “Coalesce”, is another link in this thread that is perhaps the most unusual – photography and sometimes drawing, digitally blended to the point of being unrecognizable, that appears at first glance to be another medium altogether. While she captures most of the images used for her collages in the field, it is in the studio, through music and meditation, that she is able to fully realize their new existence.



Conot grew up in the Los Angeles area and received her BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and attended art school at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has lectured and exhibited her work in group and solo shows throughout San Francisco, Portland, Eugene, and Los Angeles, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

About Jason Borders

Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Borders graduated from an Ohio art school in 2009 and moved to Oregon shortly thereafter. Some of Borders earliest artistic memories are of collecting small bones and arranging them in the imagined forms of hybrid animals. When he was 15, Jason started working in a small, offbeat art gallery in Kentucky called Cerlan. Through that job, Borders was exposed to a number of incredible, unusual artists – most notably his friend Bob Morgan. Morgan’s work, as well as the work of other Lexington “outsider” artists – punks and drag queens and deranged hillbillies – had a huge influence on him and formed the framework for the first real art community that he felt a part of.


    “I’ve worked essentially in the same style for many years, frequently changing mediums and approach,” says Borders. “Having collected bones almost my entire life, I started carving them sometime in 2011 after my in-laws gave me a dremel. In addition to carving bones, I paint, draw and play guitar constantly.”


September – November 2015

Artist Bio – Leah Hugon

Organizim (good)Leah Hugon graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Studio Art from Oral Roberts University in 2003. She has spent much of her early creative career as a musician writing and performing music across the country as the lead singer of Pablo’s Dove, as well as writing, singing, and playing guitar for her own solo projects. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon where she paints and works with mixed media out of her studio.  Since moving to Portland in May of 2011, Leah has volunteered teaching art to youth for two local nonprofit, shown in over twenty group shows including: the Pittock Mansion, Peoples Art of Portland Gallery, Portland Open Studios, and Gallery 301 in Hood River, and has held one solo exhibition in NE Alberta.  Over the last seven years, Leah has created a diverse body of visual art work that is experimental in nature and pushes the definitions of her chosen mediums.


July – September 2015

Artist Bio – Edith Casterline

Born in a midwestern college town, eleven years of Edith Casterline’s childhood were spent in Nagoya, Japan. Since her move back to the U.S. she has lived in Oregon, having fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest from visiting B.C. as a teen (and for the practicality of being in a convenient spot to occasionally flit back over the ocean to visit family in Japan). The plants and insects in her Portland garden are a continued source of inspiration.

4 Casterline_Insect triangle_42_x48__triangular panel_2 avail - other is mirror image

An art major who managed not to take a painting class, and who had become more comfortable with databases than with artistic creation, Casterline was inspired to paint after dreaming of a strange flower. Initially the painting was private, just for herself – a way to bring out through her hands the feeling of the dream. She developed discipline in other areas: 1,200 miles of rowing up the Inside Passage with her sweetheart, long-term work in the nonprofit world, early motherhood. Then, encouraged by a couple of risk-taking curators, Edith focused more on painting. The result is work that draws from both her city upbringing and connection to nature, imagery from both sides of the Pacific Ocean, and both formal structure and fluidity.


April – June 2015 : Artists Jill Torberson and Jeff Schnabel


Jeff Schnabel’s encaustic work owes much of its influence to his education in architecture and landscape architecture.  His studio is the place for patterns in art and design to converge. Since 1985, Jeff has designed buildings and landscapes throughout the U.S.; always exploring and challenging the media used to develop and present design ideas. Painting, collage, and printmaking are not merely a means of representation, but are his way of thinking.  Encaustic is a relatively new means of expression for Jeff.  He has been manipulating beeswax with a torch and knife for only seven years. His joy comes from pushing the possibilities of wax into profoundly new directions.


In addition to his art explorations, Schnabel is an assistant professor in the Architecture Department at Portland State University where he teaches design studios, site planning, and contemporary design theory. His research is currently focused on spatial and narrative light strategies for the built environment. Jeff has done multiple collaborations with other artists on temporary light installations that take light away from neutral surfaces to spaces that transform the experiential qualities of the projected light.  He recently returned to Portland from Baltimore, where he was principal in a practice that specialized in transforming abandoned industrial sites into new mixed used developments and landscapes while preserving the fragments and patinas of the past.


While living in Baltimore Schnabel’s yard became the site of an urban archaeological excavation.  He was fascinated by the subsurface layers that suggested patterns of human activity that sometimes aligned with (but more often did not), the contemporary organization of buildings, paving, and landscapes. The deep layers of wax in his work allows him to make marks that sometimes influence the final surface of the work and just as often remain faintly visible, even invisible.  In addition to building up layers of beeswax and assorted other materials, he is constantly scraping away the wax.  The excavations in the wax give a glimpse into the work’s history.


Jeff is currently the Managing Director for the Portland Winter Light Festival.  This is a new light art and light performance festival scheduled for February 3rd through February 14th.


Jill Torberson is a steel fabricator and artist in Portland, Oregon. Aside from her artistic work, Jill plays the horn, and has always been a musician. Music is essentially created from lines and layers, and this can be seen in much of her work.


Torberson is a licensed contractor, and builds custom artistic fabrication in Portland. Her company, Weld Metal Works, builds railings, gates, fences, and custom art features for home and business. Public art and fabrication venues include the Maryhill Museum, Portland General Electric, the Hoyt Arboretum, as well as several other commercial and residential spaces. Site specific and timeless design is visible in these works.


Aside from the 3-D sculptural welding, Jill works in a 2-D painterly style. These works evolve from examining the patinas of the surfaces of found steel.  Jill sees the rusty and galvanized steel as the canvas. She then manipulates the found surfaces with acrylics and/or graphite. Welded steel elements may added to these surfaces to create depth and layering, shadows play a large role in the overall design concept.


Jill is an adjunct educator in the School of Architecture at Portland State University’s College of the Arts, where she teaches metal shop skills classes.


 March / April 2015 : Artists Brin Levinson and Paige Wright

The Garden -LevinsonBRIN LEVINSON BIO

Brin Levinson grew up in Northern Vermont and moved west in 1997. He attended the California Institute of the Arts, graduating from the character animation program in 2001. After moving to Portland Oregon, focus shifted to painting and eventually the subject of urban landscapes. A “new place” has emerged in his work based on the collision of urban landscapes and the natural world.


Being raised by medical professionals directed many interests towards the body, making it a constant subject in Paige’s work. Starting at a young age in an after-school art class in Portland, Oregon, she discovered an access to play and a fulfillment of purpose through making.

After attending the University of Montana for her Bachelors in Fine Arts in 2006, Paige participated in two Artist-in-Residency programs. Living and working on site allowed her to connect with other artist that also had a need for celebrating their craft and discovering their own meaning of play.

Paige researched portraiture and the avenues of self-perception for her Masters in Fine Arts at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 2012. During her time in graduate school, Paige traveled to Hungary to broaden her understanding of perceptions about the ceramic figure and exposing herself to foreign working environments to truly show her needs as a maker. With travel still tempting her, she made her way to Denmark for 6 weeks in 2013, as part of an international ceramic networking project. This experience built relationships with other young artists, helping validate her motives for making and the desire to heighten her craft.

Currently Paige is designing and producing ceramic drinking vessels as the Studio Manager/Lead Craftsperson at a local Portland brand, Mazama Wares, that focuses on ways to enjoy the vast array of craft beverages. With an ever-growing need to still make the figure, Paige keeps a separate studio to produce work reflecting her perceptions of memories and ideas of her relationships, experiences, and existence.


 January – March 2015 : Artist Micah Krock

Coy Libby


Micah Krock is an artist living in Portland, OR with his wife and two kids. He graduated with a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2001. Throughout his schooling he concentrated on drawing and painting figures and portraits. He found that the true likeness of his subjects was not achieved by copying their appearances realistically, but rather by exaggerating their features to really capture the core essence.
Micah moved to Portland in 2003 and found inspiration in the bridges and buildings of it’s cityscape. Applying the same expressive, exaggerated technique, he created portraits of buildings, full of character, and added an almost living quality to the stationary bodies of bridges. Micah has since regained his passion for the figure and now fully concentrates on capturing their personality through color and form.

December 2014 – January 2015 : Artist Rio Wrenn

CoreRio Wrenn is a native of Portland and graduated from the University of Washington in 2002 with a degree in sculpture. During her last year in school she discovered her voice and love for textiles; specifically rust printing and natural dyes. In her youth Wrenn began dancing in multiple disciplines and discovered the importance of movement as an expression for emotions. Simultaneously, she also learned about the cycle of life in her father’s garden planting, harvesting, and sharing. A long time interest in botany and dance is the foundation of her work.

In 2007, Rio started a fashion label “R A W”, in which she dyed and designed lingerie and various couture garments. This label runs parallel to her visual art and has garnered much attention in the fashion world.

Currently, Rio is an instructor for workshops demonstrating her techniques in rust printing. Wrenn’s work has been shown across the United States and published in various publications, including a book, “Surface Design for Fabric” by Kim Irwin, scheduled for release December 2014.

October – November 2014 : Artist Steven Lopez


Born in Los Angeles, Lopez was heavily influenced by hip hop culture and graffiti art. He is a painter of a new generation that has emerged from the wake of graffiti subculture and academic influence. While attending the University of Oregon Lopez studied under the guidance of master sculptor, Dora Natella and design theorist, Leon Johnson. Lopez absorbed attention to form associated with Natella’s sculptures, while refining his own visual and conceptual vocabulary that emerged through Johnson’s critique on visual continuity.

In 2000, Lopez received his B.A. in Fine Art. His work can be found within a myriad of corporate and private art collections both in the United States and abroad. He currently lives and works in the City of Los Angeles.

August – September 2014 : Artist Hickory Mertsching


Mertsching spent the early part of his life in a “back to the land” movement in the northern woods of the Lake Superior region of Wisconsin and the coastal range foothills of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Hickory attended an art school in Milwaukee where he drew extensively, and learned traditional sculpture techniques.

After completing his BFA, he returned to Oregon and began working in a fine art bronze foundry. Upon spending a decade in the foundry world making master molds, welding together statuary, and “doing all things involved in bronze foundry work”, Mertsching began to spend his evening hours pursuing painting and creating bodies of work that he began showing in coffee houses and out of the back of his truck at street fairs. In the late-2000’s, Mertsching decided to focus entirely on his own work and paint full time.

August – September 2014 : Artist Brooke Weston
red wood 1


Artist Brooke Weston’s work is primarily made from old taxidermy and almost all recycled material. The majority of her pieces share the concept of small worlds and dioramas situated within objects. Weston gathers inspiration from antique fairy tale illustrations, amusement parks and artists like Bosch and Joe Coleman.

Originally from Monterey, California, Weston is currently residing in Portland, Oregon, where she spends her days gluing, sawing, and sewing any one of her many projects.

June – August 2014 : Artist Beth Yazhari

Crimson CloudsBETH YAZHARI, Artist

Beth Yazhari studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1995 to 1998. Entering her studies primarily as a painter, she soon became interested in what might broadly be called the “fiber arts”, partly for their aesthetic, but also because they focused on traditionally under-appreciated media that were associated with “women’s work”, as opposed to the “high art” of painting on canvas.

Generally working on stretched canvas, Yazhari begins with washes of paint, collaging fabrics and stenciling. Many hours are spent stitching and beading directly into the canvas, mirroring the work of the anonymous women of the past with whom she is collaborating. At each stage she paints to adjust colors and relationships as the work evolves into its final form.  Beads, doilies and lace are gathered from around the world to be incorporated into her global art.

Yazhari lives in the Portland area with her husband and two children. In addition to creating her own work, she has been an active participant in the Art Literacy education program in Lake Oswego for over a decade.

March – May 2014 : Artists Erin Leichty, Bridget Benton & Kindra Crick

Artist Bio – Erin Leichty

WebFile.#2.Erin-Leichty1304Born and raised in Southwest Portland, ErinLeichty graduated from the University of Portland in 2000. Having always been an artist, Erin at first surrounded herself with a flurry of cut paper and glue, since evolving to paint and plaster, hot and cold waxes, blue tape, propane torches, palette knives, and an endless supply of letters and words. “I delight in the chaos and routine of everyday life and am grateful and fortunate for a life full of family, friends, art and community.”

Erin Leichty paints in her south facing basement studio that looks out onto a bountiful vegetable garden, filled with the sounds of calling birds and visiting squirrels. When she is not in the studio painting, you will find Leichty in her kitchen inventing recipes, making soups, or running in Tryon Creek State Park. “I delight in my daughters laugh,” says Erin, “And my son’s zest for life, and his ability to find beauty in everything and everyone around him.”

Artist Bio – Bridget Benton

#4.font1_textonhand_webBridget Benton has been an artist most of her life, working in text, fiber, acrylic, performance, adornments, collage, found-object assemblage, reclaimed plastics, and, starting in 2006, encaustic.  Bridget is a passionate teacher, coach, and facilitator, crafting supportive environments and exercises that allow adults to access and develop their own creative voice. In addition to an art degree, Bridget holds a Master of Science in Creative Studies and leads workshops in intuitive creative processes in her hometown of Portland, OR, online and across the country.  She is the author of The Creative Conversation: Artmaking as Playful Prayer, an award-winning “workshop in a book” that supports people in making art more intuitively, spontaneously, and joyfully. Bridget Benton is also major contributor to the 2013 release Sober Play: Using Creativity for a More Joyful Recovery.

Artist Bio – Kindra Crick

#1.Crick_Feeling_and_Knowing_wKindra Crick is a Pacific Northwest native, an artist, and experimentalist whose artwork combines a passion for scientific inquiry with visual expression. Crick’s interest in both science and art has been a constant in her life. Her grandfather was a biologist, while her grandmother painted the female form and encouraged her to paint at an early age. She has a degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and a Certificate in Painting from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Crick was a recent recipient of a RACC Grant for a solo show in Washington D.C., and has shown at the New York Hall of Science and the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

She is happy to call Stumptown her stomping ground and has been exploring, living, and working in Portland since 2006.

January / February 2014 : Artist Michael T. Hensley


6Michael T. Hensley was born in 1967 in Charlottesville VA. He studied art in high school and, afterwards, worked as an apprentice to Robert E. Bricker at the Bronze Craft Foundry. He studied sculpting, lost wax casting, and drawing, as well as philosophy and mythology. In 1993, Michael moved to Portland, Oregon, and studied at the Pacific Northwest College of Art where he received a BA in painting and printmaking from Portland State University. Before his final semester, Hensley decided to push on with his career by renting a private studio and foregoing graduate school. His interest in being a working artist was greater than being a student of art. Hensley has been successfully working, and showing, art ever since. He has completed a number of public art commissions in the city of Portland and his work is featured in may prominent regional collections including the city of Seattle, Microsoft, Oregon Health and Sciences University, and the city of Portland.

September / October 2013 : Artist Gigi Conot

GIGI CONOT, artist


Living in a small urban studio in San Francisco circa 2004, deprived of plants and trees, the more Conot missed nature, the more she obsessed over it. When the artist moved to Portland in 2007, she found herself in the middle of a nature that she so desperately missed in San Francisco. Gigi has exhibited her work in Portland, Eugene, Hillsboro, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Conot studied painting and drawing at the University of Santa Cruz in 1991, University of Colorado, Boulder, from 1994 to 1995 and is a member of the San Francisco Photography Center.

July / August 2013 : Artists Ursula Barton and Rachel Wolfson


From 2004-2006, Ursula Barton began her schooling in The Bay Area at California College of Art to learn from an artist she had admired for most of her young adult life, Barron Story. In 2006, Barton took a semester to travel to South America to learn Spanish and experience new environments. Once she returned, it was clear that Ursula missed the Pacific Northwest and moved to Portland to finish her degree. She graduated in 2010 with a BFA in Illustration from Pacific Northwest College of Art. Barton currently utilizes pen and paint for various subjects, from iconic urban landscapes to organic figures. In 2008, she worked with fine art photographer Katharine T. Jacobs on a portrait project that took the duo on a road trip to all 50 states. That experience made it clear to Ursula the importance of taking time to travel, paint, and strive to use art as language. “Ink will forever be my first love, and is a prominent medium in my work,” explains Barton. “As an artist, my goal is to make art that is better than the art I made the time before, and learn from my surroundings.”


WS_waiting for sun



Baltimore native Rachel Wolfson is a landscape painter, and because of it, an avid traveler. Having lived and painted in Maryland, Indiana and Oregon, Wolfson has also created bodies of work in Italy, Egypt, Turkey and Canada, and looks for the similarities between the places she travels to.

Wolfson received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, and her MFA from Indiana University, both in Painting. Her work has been exhibited nationally: from New York to Portland, and internationally: from Turkey to Japan. Wolfson is currently an Art Professor at Western Oregon University.

Postcard and Bio.the nile

Bio.wolfson morning


May / June 2013 : Christopher St. John “SPRING RITES”

Main Image for Bio SheetARTIST STATEMENT
The impetus for this work began with me thinking about renewal and trees and Vivaldi’s Four Sesons. As an artist my heart is always getting in the way, and when the heart is in a dark place, the work can suffer and occlude the beauty in the world.
I remember being seven and watching this very large tree in the school playground for weeks and weeks and having this growing, gnawing idea that I could draw that tree. I did not share this idea with anyone and was excited when I found the nerve to take paper and pencil to the schoolyard and put my motivations on paper. However, when I sat down to try to draw the tree, I did not have the skills or the knowledge to put my desires into reality. This was probably my first artistic awakening, and that failure has always stuck with me.
In another life I studied music. Music remains an integral part of my creative and intellectual process. For a long time I have been fascinated with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and his use of orchestral color to describe landscapes. Debussy and Scriabin later would mesmerize me with similar musical ideas, but the way that Vivaldi’s work encapsulates the essence of seasonal color and the shift of light and weather in four short movements still boggles my mind.
With these paintings I want to honor a very honest yearning for beauty, light, and pure artistic intent. The larger paintings embrace a world of shifting light and color where the figure is on the verge of being assimilated into the landscape. The smaller paintings of flowers in vessels offer a distillation of these larger landscapes. I want to leave the door a little more open for the viewer than I have been want in the past and try to step out of the way to let in some of the beautiful light the world offers to us all.
I studied art at the University of Alaska, BFA in painting and printmaking. I was in the army for four years, worked as a mechanic. I studied music when I was younger and thought I would be a musician. I have a son who is fourteen, my wife spent 15 years in the army and was deployed to Iraq twice. I have lived in Hawaii, Colorado, California, Oklahoma, Alaska, T ennessee, Virginia, and Ohio. I have shown in Hawaii, New Mexico, Tennessee, all solo shows. I have work in the Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Hawaii State Art Museum. (both were purchase awards). I also have shown in France and Bulgaria. I have a weird thing with cats and my other job if I couldn’t make art would be a mortician.

March / April 2013 : Braeden Cox “ARTIFACTS AND RIDDLES “

 'Untitled No. 1”, 60” x 72” charcoal and goache on paperARTIFACTS AND RIDDLES My drawings are fueled through emotions and feelings, driven by a sense of exploration. I want to translate this emotional energy and sense of discovery onto paper. Using abstract gestural marks, my drawings suggest geological and botanical forms. My digital images present surreal landscapes that challenge reality. These images contain dream-like rejections of physical laws and suggest mysteries of lost or hidden meaning. Underlying these images is the realization that things are no longer understood by known rules. My work is an exploration into the emotional and physical responses of life’s journey, the search for understanding, and the acceptance of questions that may have no answers.


Braeden Cox is an artist working and living in Portland, Oregon. Born in Eugene, Oregon she also lived in Christchurch, New Zealand from 1997 through 2001 before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee. She studied at the University of Oregon in Eugene where she earned a dual major in Fine Art and Digital Art. Braeden went on to complete her BFA degree in Digital Art at the University of Oregon’s Portland campus. Braeden is currently living and working in Portland.


January / February 2013 : Sarah Mikenis “HAUNTED BY THESE AMERICAN DREAMS”

I take immense pleasure in the materiality of paint: clumps of fur interspersed with sticky globs of ambiguous pink flesh; transparent orbs of bubbling fat next to red-pink meat; the silky, wet skin of a raw chicken melding into human hands; pig flesh turned hard, shiny and metallic; neon pink and green thick and heavy against fast, swirling line; lush red cosmetic smears bleed and drip onto a flat leopard print pattern.
These paintings are inspired by the excessive and decadent world around me. I draw from a wide array of sources including fashion magazines, reality TV, science fiction, and food culture. Collages cut from magazines and Internet images overflow with vibrant colors, animal print, models, and reality television personas. They mirror the assault of images from a culture obsessed with technology and social media. I enjoy the ambiguity of these paintings; when some forms are visible and some are implied, where they oscillate between the sensuous and beautiful and the vulgar and uncomfortable, and when smooth hyper- reality contrasts with thick, painterly abstraction.
Sarah Mikenis
Sarah Mikenis was born and raised in Portland, OR. She studied painting and art history at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and spent a semester at the Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy. Following graduation she attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston, Massachusetts, where she received her Post-Baccalaureate Certificatein painting. This is her first solo exhibition.

November / December 2012 : Hickory Mertsching “DECAY, GROWTH & THE STILL LIFE”

mountainsongThese paintings are about illustrating and presenting unavoidable natural realities by utilizing mundane objects as symbols. The realities are simple, yet powerful enough to be beyond our control. The rise and fall of a garden in the span of summer offers sustenance but requires toil for any reward of consumption. Within this cycle all allegorical manners of life occur, crossing paths, pursuits of enlightenment, conflicts of survival, and the passing of time.
I attempt to present this in a quiet traditional manner, creating paintings that are calm, balanced in composition, and contain soft palettes that are reflective of the subject matter. I am and can be guilty of influence from the following: the Dutch 17th century “vanitas” genre, post war pop art, Americana, nostalgia, romanticism, naturalism, music, contemporary painting, and good books, (which is subjective). I view drawing as the core root of my paintings in oil and currently render from observation/life by setting up each painting scene with actual objects when available. I involve myself in all aspects of the process, building canvases, researching props, and milling out custom frames.
Hickory Mertsching 2012
I spent the early part of my life being raised by two young hippies involved in the early seventies “back to the land” movement in the northern woods/Lake Superior region of Wisconsin and the coastal range foothills of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. As time passed, hanging out on National Forest logging roads, canoeing inland lakes, having bonfires in the winter snow, and becoming a young adult, I struck out to attend art school in Milwaukee. There I drew extensively and learned traditional sculpture techniques. After completing my BFA, I returned to Oregon and began working in a fine art bronze foundry. I spent a decade in the foundry world making master molds, welding together statuary and doing all things involved in bronze foundry work. In the evening hours I pursued painting and created bodies of work that I began showing in coffee houses and out of the back of my truck at street fairs. In the late-2000’s I decided to focus entirely on my own work and paint full time. I share a home with my two children in southeast Portland and work as a professional painter creating and exhibiting series of paintings, and completing commissions/freelance work for a variety of clients.

October 2012 : Gina Hartmann “DEVOTION OF TIME”

Artist Statement

We are not made to think about our place in the world and are surely never pushed to think about who we are and where our responsibilities lie. The decision to fully take part in the act of living, and to choose to share from that personal knowledge is what truly makes up the human experience. This level of individual understanding is defined by our own intellectual and emotive capabilities.

The work has moved from the personal to the universal within the exploration of my individual vision. There is a consistent theme found within it: a conviction to convey our relationships to ourselves, each other, and to the world. In essence, the human condition. Despite diversities in cultures we all feel, breathe and search for that which will ultimately provide us sustenance. There is a need to share with others that heightened awareness; our humanity, if just for one moment. These works are about healing and searching, not just outside of ourselves but within as well. The new series started with feverishly working on several weavings. The layers began to build and abstract. I have often incorporated weaving in my work but now it has become metaphor: weaving as symbol for life. All that we are, the complexities of our being form an intricate pattern of experiences, people and places. Our lives we build and strengthen through time, but with just a touch it can be unraveled. This woven life, a tapestry, are layers to peel away and discover. The warp and the weft a

Gina Hartmann creates sepia-toned multimedia works which often incorporate text, plants and other elements from the natural world. The work is rooted in assemblage, presenting an open-ended narrative both universal and personal, resembling weavings in both physical and metaphorical ways. Hartmann earned her BFA at the Art Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio and has exhibited her work since 1990. Hartman has shown nationally including at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio and the Laundry Art Space of Queens, New York.


September 2012 : Holly Senn “Inhabit”

Artist Statement

“Inhabit” is an installation that is site-responsive to the Jupiter Hotel. I am responding to structures that take hold temporarily in nature and ideas that temporarily inhabit the mind. Viewers are invited to explore the making of a temporary home–a place of shelter to live and be present in, to make one’s own temporary space. Ideas engage the mind in a similar way; some are temporary, others are more permanent and all are related in networks of connection. The temporal nature of my installation considers the permanence and impermanence of ideas dwelling in the mind, as well as the temporary
nature of being physically situated in the world. My work explores the lifecycle of ideas, how ideas are generated, dispersed, remembered or forgotten. Because I look at permanence and impermanence, forms of plants and other organisms that have visible regeneration cycles are interpreted in my art. An underlying tension in my work is that the discipline and practice of librarianship, from which I draw upon, is often romantically imagined to be aligned with print while contemporary practice is driven by patron desire for digital access. I transform books–recognizable symbols of recorded and
shared information–and their pages into new forms, using the iconic materials to consider the recursive nature of ideas.

HOLLY A. SENN, sculpter
Holly A. Senn is known for her botanically inspired sculptures and installations created from discarded library books. In these labor-intensive works she explores the life cycle of ideas—how ideas are generated, dispersed, referenced or forgotten. Senn has exhibited in venues including the Brooklyn Public Library, 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, and spaces in Tacoma including Spaceworks Tacoma, Tacoma Contemporary’s Woolworth Windows, Fulcrum Gallery, Kittredge Gallery, and Collins Memorial Library. Born in California, Senn earned a Master of Library and Information Studies from University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. from Mills College. She works as a librarian at Pacific Lutheran University. Since 2001 she has lived and worked in Tacoma, Washington.


August 2012 : Carol Basch “Some Are Torn…Some Are Not”

Artist Statement

I like paint

I like color

I like shape and form

I like playing hide and seek with color, shape and form

My starting point for many paintings has been old black and white family photographs in Brooklyn, NY. I love the formal composition and static quality of the people and then I become absorbed with another reality, no longer referring to the photo. Recently I have been reinventing my old monoprints by the rip and tear method where the figure plays hide and seek with other figures and added textures.

I have always loved the figure and forms from nature. I enjoy the exploration of these forms on canvas, how the contour or edge disappears and then reappears is a brushstroke thrill, with colors getting pulled in from a somewhat realistic realm.

CAROL BASCH, painter 

Carol Basch has been a painter her whole life. She did both undergraduate and graduate work in Fine Arts, Queens College, New York, before moving to Portland, Oregon in 1971. Once in Portland she received her teaching credentials in art at PSU and subsequently studied art therapy, Marylhurst College. Carol taught art full time at the middle school level for twenty years at many Oregon and Washington schools. She guided students in executing large-scale school murals, one being “From Hood to Coast” at Kellogg Middle School in SE Portland, an outstanding 68 feet exterior wall. Her work with these young artists through the years has kept her own art expression fresh. She is now painting and reinventing her old monoprints by the rip and tear method.


2012  some are torn…some are not, Gallery @ the Jupiter, Portland, OR

2012  New Work, 12x16gallery, Portland, OR

2009  Nudes in Downtown Astoria, OR

2004  Wall Mural, Circle Healthcare, Portland, OR

2001  Graystone Gallery, Portland, OR

1997 Cassidy’s Restaurant, Portland, OR.


June and July 2012 : Louis Delegato “The Practice of Loss”

Artist Statement

Starting is easy. I use a tool of marking and make a mark. Undoubtedly, the mark is out of balance relative to the unmarked. The process now becomes an attempt to bring everything back into balance. The fresh, blank surface was in complete balance yet the information I can derive from such a “painting” is vague at best. It is like the most general statement in the world, concluding the most general thing and offering the broadest possible reflection. Profound? Yes. Worth looking at? No. So I make a mark. Suddenly the calm is thrust into chaos and only I can bring it back. I make more marks to balance out the first, yet my mark-making is dirty and inconsistent relative to the purity of the original void. Each alteration leads to a need for more and more alterations. Each mark requires three more marks to prevent the whole thing from jettisoning off into disharmony. Throughout this undertaking, I discover aspects that offer clear direction and balanced composition. I fight both consciously and unconsciously to hold onto these aspects in an effort to justify. Often I find myself clutching tightly to many different aspects that do not work together. But which ones to keep and which ones to lose? If I choose incorrectly, the whole process could be a bust: I could end up flailing through hours and hours of emotional struggle just to find myself with a pounding headache standing in front of an incoherent tantrum. But what my ideological agenda can’t seem to incorporate is that every mark and misstep, every try and retry, every epic failure leads precisely to where I find myself and this “position” is the entire point of painting. I paint to represent my position. This undertaking requires loss. The loss of harmony. The loss of pride. Loss of specific parts in pursuit of the whole. The loss of identity. The loss of control. Not to mention the loss of time, materials and energy.

Not only must I experience this loss in pursuit of conscious self-expression, I must also practice it. And so I do, whether I like it or not.

Artist Bio

Louis Delegato is a Portland born painter and sculptor. He has been making artworks all his life and doing it professionally for the last few years. He says making a painting is much more an emotional expression than creating sculpture because of the instantaneous nature of mark-making. His sculpture tends to be a highly planned and laborious process of an intellectual expression while his paintings are records of action with very little boundary or rule. Both endeavors though, focus on a balance of elements and strong relationships between the “foreground” and “background” representing the dualistic nature of reality and the relationship of such. Louis believes the same compositional elements and activities that define “art” exist everywhere and his work is an effort to distill that notion.


May 2012 : Paul Solevad “Layeradium”

Radiolarial Elements, by Paul Solevad
Artist Statement

“Layeradium” is a group of paintings which function as a whole, developed over the years from numerous drawing studies, all evoking the idea of a continuum.  Socio/ political and metaphysical themes are manifested through inorganic and organic shapes, flowing continuously. I sought to create an expanse of imagery that spoke on many topics, yet felt overall united as one larger work.

I work on multiple pieces at the same time, creating paintings in layers. Color palettes form the groundwork for multiple overlay drawings, washed out and then built up again on one another. This notion of layers is constant, just as our reality, in a sense, is built in layers. So making images that evoke this idea became my driving inspiration.

Layers of systems, layers of spiritual continuity, layers of energy creating mass and form. All interwoven. All connected. Therefore, I entitled this body of work The “Layeradium” – some kind of simple yet illusive word that spurred my curiosity.

More recently I embarked on an evolution of this idea through a self assigned project of daily drawings. I thought: how entertaining would it be to begin this mythical year, 2012, by creating a small drawn painting for every day of the year, dated as such and followed through to December. So, here I am, drawings continue, and manifest numerous topics, thoughts and feelings. A visual journal if you will titled “365.”


April 2012 : Alan Rose “Bemusement and Confusement”

Alan Rose
Artist Statement and Bio
“I create images of ordinary people in everyday situations, but with a quirky, offbeat point of view,” explains the artist, “Does humor have a place in serious art? I think so because I believe that humor is an essential part of reality, not merely a distraction from it.”  The titles of Rose’s works are an essential part of his art.  First reading the title and then looking at the art, encourages the viewer to interpret the pieces from a different point of view, creating a thoroughly enjoyable interactive experience.Born in rural Nebraska, Rose moved to Chicago after being discharged from the Navy and took advantage of his GI Bill at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts for two years before transferring.
The painter eventually received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the Pacific Northwest since 2008.Since his resignation from an art direction position in 2007, Rose continues to develop artistic ideas based on intuition and spontaneity. Current works use a variety of techniques that begin as rough drawings but evolve into peculiar, accessible and thought-provoking paintings. Rose currently lives in Portland with his wife Kathy.

March 2012 : Rebecca Merrill  “COAL”

Artist Statement

My work explores the relationship between emotional and physical states of being.  This particular series is an autobiographical narrative about my experiences since I moved to Portland.  Coal is a series of snap shots, taken through a lens made entirely of sensation, free of logic and linear plots.  They are, in a sense, portraits of different emotional states.
My interest in emotional language stems from the idea that many emotions occur to us as actual physical sensations, which we apply simple labels to: sad, happy, jealous.  But emotions are much more complex than language implies.  If emotional states manifested themselves physically, their nuances would be visibly apparent. Furthermore, if emotions took a form we could relate to, such as human, how would it change our interactions with them?  How would we lay them to rest?
This body of work explores these questions, with influences from Marquis de Sade, to Hans Bellmer, and Odd Nerdrum.  These artists have been able to describe experiences through reconstructions of the human form.  I hope to further this conversation by presenting my own ideas about the emotional state of the human condition.

Artist Bio

Rebecca Merrill was born and raised on the Central Coast of California.  She studied figure drawing in San Francisco before moving to Atlanta, Georgia to study at the Atlanta College of Art.  In 2006 she traveled through Europe, and spent two months in Lacoste, France.  At Lacoste School of the Arts she was named curator for the anual Vernissage, and broke the school’s art sales record.  She moved to Portland, Oregon in 2007 to finish her BFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.  She enjoys seasonal work as a farmhand and is passionate about food, from cultivation to preparation.  Rebecca currently lives and works in Portland.


January / February 2012 : Christopher St. John, Artist

Christopher St. John, Artist

Artist Statement

I don’t usually write these things with work still in progress, less so when the work
seems to come from two very different directions. This work feels transitional to me, although it could be a return to home in disguise. Home is a good thing, although I realize that statement is probably meaningless to you, occasional reader. I am not the greatest spokesman for my work. Honestly, I never know as I try to be earnest about what I do. I live as much as I work, which is to say I really have no clue. In this work, patterns emerge, things fall apart, split, twist, become crumpled. Things bleed and smile and breed. Things become desperate to exit their skins. I need to break something with these images. I want to destroy something. Perhaps it is an ambient notion of beauty which only belongs on a vase in a museum; perhaps it is the monstrosity of the world around me. This is what I mean when I say the work comes from two different directions. Certainly this is why the title Gargantua occurred to me, something large and lumbering and composed mainly of appetites and destructive desires, an embodiment of both anguish and joy which renders it base, stupid, mutated. I have tried to use the body to make the glass shiver, but perhaps that can be the warmth that draws you, gentle viewer.

Artist Bio
I studied art at the University of Alaska, BFA in painting and printmaking. I was in the army for four years, worked as a mechanic. I studied music when I was younger and thought I would be a musician. I have a son who is fourteen, my wife spent 15 years in the army and was deployed to Iraq twice. I have lived in Hawaii, Colorado, California, Oklahoma, Alaska, T ennessee, Virginia, and Ohio. I have shown in Hawaii, New Mexico, Tennessee, all solo shows. I have work in the Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Hawaii State Art Museum. (both were purchase awards). I also have shown in France and Bulgaria. I have a weird thing with cats and my other job if I couldn’t make art would be a mortician.

January 2012 : Michelle Berlin – Metal Artist
Artist Statement
I believe that we are all artist in some way, creativity is in our DNA.  Our ancestors survived and thrived by being creative. Knowing how to make a clay pot or hammer out a metal spoon, was a necessity if they were to eat. Today we see the people who make these things as artists, but really, can it be that some of us have just decided to nurture that part of ourselves and develop it? So whether you are the actual creator of a piece or an observer, we can all stand there and allow a piece of art to wash over us awakening and stimulating our inner artist.I am influenced by artists that celebrated their creativity by reaching outsideof the box. Charles and Ray Eames created films, paintings, textiles, furniture, and architecture. Alexander Calder not only created amazing mobiles, he created toys, jewelry, set designs, large sculpture, prints and paintings. Artists like these give me a sense of permission to create anything for as long as I want, without feeling unfocused or frivolous. I love the idea that art and ideas can come from inside of you or from the outside in. It’s just there to be celebrated!Artist BioWhile I don’t have a degree in fine arts from any one institution, for over twenty five years I have been actively creating art.  I have studied ceramics and life drawing at UCLA, watercolor at the University of Washington, sculpture, jewelry, metal at Pratt Fine Art Institute, Seattle. My work has been shown around the world including galleries in Japan and Europe. I have sold to pieces to the San Diego MOMA store and the LA Symphony store. My bronze sculpture was permanently exhibited at the Silverwood Gallery on Vashon Island, WA for three years and I continue to let my curiosity and desire direct my interests and creations.


December 2011 – Kelsey Bunker

Woman Lounging, by Artist Kelsey Bunker

Woman Lounging, by Artist Kelsey Bunker

Art begins with perception but perception is influenced by knowledge. Discovering the influence of knowledge on my perception of objects, relationships, even my life has been the goal of my artistic expressions. Learning that an arm is not “an arm” but rather a series of abstract shapes shaded in a wide variety of colors has led me to believe that most everything we have labeled is not really what the label names but it, being whatever it is, is a much deeper and richer experience. Our minds tend to shortcut the process of observation and inquiry by creating a generic label (based on knowledge) and when we rely on the labels we no longer see. Learning to draw what I see and not what I think was the first step in discovery of the laziness of relying on knowledge. I continue to look at common everyday objects (such as people) and see the connections, the relationships, the conversations going on within each.

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