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If you're in Eugene, check out Karin Clarke galleries

By permission of the gallery.
Robert Schlegel MAN SITTING, C. 2021 Mixed Media

This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you're listening to Viz City, KLCC’s arts review program. We have lots of visitors to Eugene this week of multiple graduations, so if you’re out and about enjoying the hub-bub, make it a point to pop into either one of the Karin Clarke Galleries.

The Karin Clarke of the Gordon is in the Fifth Street Market area in the big, covered, retail area by the Nike Store called The Alley. Go on in: look for a silver raven, a golden bear, a dreamy landscape by Heather Jacks. This is a great place to find that high-end art memento of your time in Eugene.

For big-smile-expanding art that is hugely cheerful, find the downtown Karin Clarke Gallery on 760 Willamette. The show there is called “Remembering Robert Schlegel,” and the press release will tell you he was “one of the region’s favorite artists,” but I had never heard of him–no surprise there!

Schlegel Blue Dress.jpg
By permission of the gallery.
BLUE DRESS (13 ESSENTIAL RUDIMENTS), 2021 Mixed media on found sheet music

However, this big show fills in that gap–I feel like I know who Schlegel is now through his cartoon-like figures in bright, appealing colors. For example, I’m attracted to the image of a tall, blocky woman outlined in black. She wears a blue dress with a red bow in her hair. She's painted on a piece of sheet music titled, “The Thirteen Essential Rudiments.” I have no idea what that means, but something about the juxtaposition of the figure and the words makes me laugh.

Schlegel Man with Cane.jpeg
By permission of the gallery.

In general, Schlegel seems to like to draw things on top of people’s heads,especially birds. A piece called “Man with Cane,” is a very simple shape blocked in of a torso, two legs and a cane with a bright yellow face with a yellow bird on his head. It makes me feel quizzical at the time as I smile at its playfulness.

By permission of the gallery.
Robert Schlegel AMERICAN FOUR SQUARE I, 2020 Acrylic on canvas

Schlegel paints architecture, too, in simple, bold lines and shapes as in “American Four Square.” It is constructed of simple squares and rectangles and triangles. It is a gray house with snow in the foreground and dark woods behind, but the splashes of orange paint that represent the windows and doors give the house soul. Someone lives here, and the observer can just walk right in and feel welcome.

I really enjoyed spending time with this new-to-me artist, and I think you and yours will, too.

This is Sandy Brown Jensen for KLCC.

Sandy Brown Jensen has an MFA in Poetry and is a retired writing instructor from Lane Community College. She is an artist and a photographer with a lifetime interest in looking at and talking about art. Sandy hosts KLCC's long-running arts review program Viz City.