It’s easy to find conformity, and even easier to purchase it. Sameness has a siren call of convenience that draws people in and churns out trends. Those trends seep into the core of periods of time and creep up the walls of every home like overgrown ivy. Sameness stemming from mass production has its place but there is no better time of year to veer off of the beaten path than during holiday giving. Purchasing an art piece for your own home or a family member's is an investment, a statement, and scintillating step away from sameness. The depth of artists and range of mediums that you can select from in Oregon is close to unmatched. My list could go on and on, but for this post, I’ve narrowed my showcase to 5 painters. There are incredible photographers, fiber artists, silversmiths, designers and so many more to choose from here in Central Oregon and throughout the state. No matter where you live, you will find an abundance of artists thankful for your recognition of their contribution and insistence to create in a society that can sometimes diminish this honorable and challenging profession. A great place to support local artists in Bend is at The Workhouse.
DARREN ORANGE: Darren is a close friend of mine – he’s an accomplished artist and a genuinely damn good human being. His work draws me in with his bold use of color and light, and the raw grit and power that radiates from his pieces keep me in their hold. When you stand face to face with one of his larger pieces you slowly begin to feel engulfed and at one with the energy emitted – sharing space with his creation. Darren understands how to translate energy onto the canvas – his abstracts mimicking the feelings provoked in us that are less about what we see and more about what we feel.
Find out more at www.darrenorange.com
SHEILA DUNN: I first saw Sheila Dunn’s work at the Workhouse in Bend. Her figure series was being showcased and I was immediately drawn to her pieces. Each one of her paintings, free and honest, reflect a woman beautifully holding her own space and Dunn pulling me into each story with every rhythmic stroke of paint. I felt like in a small way, through her work, I got to discover Dunn and I very much like what I’ve learned. Dunn’s understanding and use of color seem to showcase a vibrancy inside herself that makes its way onto her canvases.
Find out more at www.sheiladunnart.com
NICHOLAS CAMPBELL: I randomly found Nicholas Campbell on Instagram and admittedly don’t know much about him. But what I did see got my attention and had me searching out more. Campbell’s paintings are genuinely alive and dynamic with color and complexity – his shapes and layers both masterfully and playfully combine. There is a freedom in his work I’m drawn to – and I’m looking forward to seeing his continued evolution.
Find out more at @nickodemos on Instagram
RODNEY THOMPSON: I’ve yet to see any of Rodney Thompson’s work in person, but I discovered him on Instagram and was immediately moved by his style, specifically his ability to capture men. His portraits of males seep the essence of each individual and shine a light on the complexity of their stories – stories that are probably not often told. Thompson has found a way to let his portraits, in one fell swoop, knock you over with a lifetime of information barreling through eyes that are anything but hollow.
Find out more at www.rodneythompsonart.com
MEGHANN HANOUR: When you view a Meghann Hanour painting in person it’s as though a source of energy lunges out of her life-size creations and wraps itself right around your heart, clutching it for just a moment, affecting every part of your body. Your breath first seizes, then it quickens. Your heart begins to race as though you unexpectedly saw someone you once knew but haven’t seen in what feels like a lifetime ago. Hanour’s ability to connect the past with the future, exquisitely understand and expresses the journey that is womanhood, and draw to the surface the emotions that unify our humanity, is extraordinary. And frankly, what she is capable of is just beginning to be unveiled. There is so much more to come from this artist, keep an eye out.
One of the biggest honors I’ve ever had is sitting for her most recent work and discovering a cherished friend that I feel like I’ve known for lifetimes.
Find out more at www.patreon.com/meghannhanour
And a few more talented folks to look up!
Austin White, Photographer on Instagram @austingwhite
William Techler, Photographer on Instagram @williamtechler
Emma Gurney, Silversmith on Instagram @sub_luna_
Robert Paulmenn, Painter on Instagram @robertpaulmenn
JM Brodrick, Painter on Instagram @j.m.brodrick
Toby Putnam, Artist on Instagram @whiskeyymouth
Angela Schwer, Sculptor on Instagram @dillypad_clay_sculpture
– Denise Faddis