Erik Sandgren: Land & Sea at the Karin Clarke Gallery

Apr 4, 2018

This year, Erik Sandgren retired, relocated to Portland, and is now a full-time artist, To celebrate this transition, gallerist Karin Clarke curated this impressive show of nearly 40 paintings, mostly watercolors and acrylics on panel, all landscapes and seascapes of the Northwest.
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

RE: Karin Clarke Gallery Erik Sandgren - Land and Sea April 4 - 28th.

Artist Reception: First Friday, April 6th, 5:30-7:30 pm


You’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s Arts Review program. Meet Erik Sandgren who just retired from a career as a one-man art department at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen.

"I’m Erik Sandgren, and I’m showing here at Karin Clarke Gallery--again! I’m thrilled to be doing so. This is the first show out of the many that Karin has held for me in which, or for which, she has chosen the paintings."

Erik gave a Watercolor Workshop in conjunction with his current show at the Karin Clarke Gallery, shown here with enthusiastic participants.
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

  When you walk into the gallery, you will be surrounded by 40 paintings, mostly watercolors and acrylics on panel, all richly colored and textured landscapes and seascapes of the Northwest.

"I’m very much part of the Northwest and interested in painting the Northwest as part of the whole Pacific Rim. So that’s what the show’s about, really."

When it comes to landscapes, every artist has to think about how to go deeper than a pretty postcard, how to imbue the painting with layers of meaning. Erik calls this “coding.”

"The “code” in a landscape painting is a way for the painter to show some of the invisible realities of the landscape. The landscape painting to me isn’t a snapshot. It’s not scenery. It’s a layered experience. "

As an example, Erik points out a painting called “Cliffside Perch.”

"On one level it is a pretty straight forward reportage of a house in Hoquiam, Washington, kind of perched on the edge of the cliff there. <<4:05>> <<4:10>> And then one realizes that oh! The bank has been eroded away from under that house. There is an allusion to the young geology of the Pacific Rim and how it’s all changing and moving, and we’re expecting the Big One, and I’m trying to ...suggest some of the tectonic movement...that happens visually in the painting."

When you come to see the show, take the time to really look deeply into Erik’s landscapes and try for yourself to decode his layers of meaning that give structure to the beauty.

  Land and Sea runs through April 28. The Karin Clarke Gallery is downtown at 760 Willamette. Learn more and see images of Erik Sandgren and his work at the Viz City blog on

Viz City is co-produced by Terry Way and Sandy Brown Jensen.

The Karin Clarke Gallery changing shows. Erik Sandgren, Karin Clarke, Kathryn Cotnoir and Erik again.
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen