Road Trip to Port Orford for Janet Pretti at the Hawthorne Gallery
This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s arts review program. Labor Day is shaping up to be a blazing hot one here in the Valley, so I know a lot of you will be heading to the coast to cool off. If you’re headed to the less crowded South Coast, please stop in Port Orford to see the bright and cheerful art at the Hawthorne Gallery. It’s right there on Battle beach--if you’re eating at the Crazy Norwegian or the Redfish Cafe, you can’t miss it--it’s pretty big.
Everything at the Hawthorne is worth looking at, but look up front for a special show by guest artist Janet Pretti. She has a baker’s dozen sculptures made of bronze, wood, found objects, and painted words. Her concepts here are didactic; that is, she poses questions about such issues as politics, art, the future, and power relationships. Her obviously deep thinking in each case has been simplified to a 3-D image that carries both a message and a mood.
Let’s take a close up view of one of Pretti’s sculptures to get a better idea of what I mean.
One of my favorites is a half-real-sized bronze female figure sitting on a polished wooden bench. Her body is bronze, but her arms are of a warmer, carved wood. Her hands are cradling a spiral seashell. Beside her on the bench is a wooden box spilling over with shells and the many lovely found objects of a beachcomber.
So I really see this as a woman who is like me and loves the treasures of the sea. The mood of the piece is what I might call sacred or a moment of meditation. It reminds me of what I love most about getting lost on the beach looking for shells; it resets both my heart and my mind.
I look now to the title card to see what the artist might have to say. It is called, “Learning Curve of Gratitude.” I think of gratitude as a feeling that arises spontaneously in response to a moment rather than as something that has a learning curve, but I may be wrong about that. In this case, I have experienced a work of art perhaps somewhat differently than the artist indicates was her intention, but you know, that is really not important.
Please go and experience all of Janet Pretti’s evocative sculptures for yourself. See what you think. The show will be up through the end of the year.
There are wonderful galleries all up and down our beautiful coast. Slow down, visit, enjoy.
Viz City is co-produced by Terry Way and Sandy Brown Jensen.