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Art Gallery Show Opens Feb. 6

Four artists feature works

The Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River will kick off early spring with the February Show titled "1Show, 2Dyptich, 3Tryptich, 4Artists."

Area artists John Maher, Susan Murrell, Marshall Stokes, and Melanie Thompson explore related pairs and triples through painting, photography, clay, and pyrography, in this show featuring diptychs and triptychs.

The public is invited to attend the artist reception on Friday, Feb. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Co-curator Jim Diem reflected, "Diptychs and triptychs were first seen in early Christian art and often used as a storyboard, providing the artist with a unifying format for related paintings or carvings. I've always enjoyed these forms; dividing the picture plane or illustrating related pairs opens us up to new ways of seeing things."

Co-curator CJ Rench commented, "As an artist myself, I like to break apart pieces and make them into diptychs and triptychs to add a feeling of movement and expansion to a work that would other wise fill only a single frame."

Mosier artist Maher's career spans 30 years, working in both fine and commercial art. His work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, Esquire, Runner, Atlanta, and Oregon Home, among many other publications. He has been featured on OPB's Oregon Art Beat television show and his work has been collected internationally. Maher's newest work uses multiple media and regularly focuses on water/land interfaces. His art focuses on the spiritual in nature. His interest is in the essence of a place and its connection to the rest of the universe.

Murrell is a relative newcomer to the area, moving to the Gorge in 2007. She has quickly become active in the community as both a teaching and working artist. Murrell regularly exhibits her work on the national stage, and has been recognized both regionally and nationally with numerous awards and residencies at art centers and universities. Murrell's printmaking background has given her a special affinity toward works on paper, although she also utilizes painting, sculpture, encaustic, and manufactured objects in her installations. Her current creative interests explore the acquisition and recall of knowledge as well as the parallels between our analysis of the natural world and the scrutiny with which she views her creative process.

Thompson began playing with clay around 1996, her hobby evolved to livelihood very quickly with her first juried show in 1999. She leans heavily toward organic shape and is intrigued with high contrast, delicious color and silhouette -- things found in nature all around us. Most of her work is traditional slab work and kiln low-fire clay. She is working both in two and three dimensions for this show.

Portland artist Stokes enjoys working with pen and ink and acrylics, and has experimented with oils, but pyrography remains his medium of choice, partially because of the ties it has to childhood, and partially because of the connotations that fire and the burning of wood carry. Stokes' work recently has been inspired by the urban environment he lives in, the structures of the human body, and also Japanese printmaking. When not burning pictures into wood, he works as an architectural designer and goes to school for structural engineering.

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