Tradition, Transgression, Transformation
Group Contemporary Mosaic Art From the Pacific Northwest
Saturday, December 12 2020 @ 10AM
Tradition, Transgression, Transformation: Contemporary Mosaic Art from the Pacific Northwest showcases artists from Oregon and Washington who seek new paths to meaning as they absorb, reinterpret, and reinvent the mosaic tradition. Whether our work is representational or abstract, mosaic art lives and breathes through us as we aspire to our own personal versions of the “perfect illusionism” achieved by Sosus of Pergamon more than two thousand years ago.
In lieu of a public reception, we’re offering a live virtual gallery tour. It will be posted at 4 pm on Saturday, Dec. 12, and available for viewing at any time on our Facebook Page, @lincolncityculture Gallery director, Krista Eddy and Mosaic artists, Joanne Daschel and Lynn Adamo will walk you through the exhibit live. Meet these amazing artists virtually and learn about their work.
The exhibit will remain on display through Sunday, Jan. 3, open 10 am to 4 pm Thursday-Sunday, and by appointment. Lincoln City Cultural Center has new business hours: 10 to 4 Thursday through Sunday). Masks and social distancing required in the building.
Northwest Mosaic Artists Alliance
Lynn is drawn to things in decay. Peeling paint, chipping plaster, decomposing brick. Rust and the textures and patterns of age and decay on old walls. The place where the natural creeps over the built environment is where she continually finds inspiration. Her passion is creating work that is rooted in classical mosaic grammar, extrapolated to a contemporary place. When she started making art, her main focus was to create visually appealing compositions with dimensional durable materials. As her experience has deepened, Lynn sees a deeper connection between her attraction to decay and decomposition and the possibility of renewal and regrowth.
Portland, OR native Mark Brody has been a working artist since graduating from Louis & Clark College with degrees in art and education. He discovered his passion for building and working with tile when he built a house in Taos, New Mexico, 20 years ago, and has been a mosaic artist for the past 18 years. Over the years, Mark has learned the importance of choosing the correct substrate adhesive and tesserae, and his finished works are located in public spaces such as libraries, hospitals and community centers. His latest project is a how-to Mosaic book featuring projects for the garden, published by Timber Press.
A writer by profession, Todd spent his adult life using words to make sense of the world until discovering that the materials and tools of a mosaic artist are also powerful a way to explore ideas and search for meaning. In nearly a decade since then, he’s come to believe that piecing together glass, stone, pottery, porcelain, and metal to create a mosaic is both a metaphor for and a reflection of how the human brain works. Or an act much like creating music—where each tessera is a single note in an improvised melody of shifting rhythms, textures, and tonal qualities with the potential to reveal new truths that words are often inadequate to convey. Since 2013, Todd’s work has appeared in exhibits across the Pacific Northwest.
Based in Lincoln City, OR, Joanne creates vivid, textural mosaics with stained glass, stone, and the original mosaic glass of Venice known as smalti. This intensely colored material is hand-cut with the traditional tools of hammer and hardie, then placed directly onto the panel with no grout, for a dimensional effect. Joanne’s work is guided and inspired by the natural world of Oregon’s Pacific coast, where she lives and works. Generally I am less focused on the dramatic seascapes, instead looking closely at overlooked landscapes and quiet botanical vignettes. Her hope is to reconnect the viewer with nature: its lessons, inspiration and consolations.
After earning a degree in sculpture from Bard College, Richard spent many years practicing the art of fine cuisine in the restaurant business. In 1998, he volunteered to help install mosaics on the front of the Craft Center Building in Nelson, New Zealand, and he’s been making mosaics ever since. A dedicated traveler, Richard’s work is influenced by the numerous mosaic styles he has seen in sojourns across Europe, North Africa, Asia, and beyond. Many of his pieces are inspired by and incorporate found or recycled objects and tiles carted back in suitcases from faraway lands. Since 2016, Richard’s work has appeared in exhibits in countries around the world, including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, France, and the United States.
Scott Fitzwater is a Portland, OR artist who has been creating mosaics since 2008 when he retired from a career as a software engineer. He is largely a self-taught mosaic artist who has experimented with many techniques and materials. He works with slate, stone, stained glass and smalti that he fashions into abstract wall and sculptural art. His pieces have been in exhibitions in North America and Europe and have won several awards. Scott is a member of the Pacific Northwest Sculptors, the Pacific Northwest Mosaic Art Collective, the Society of American Mosaic Artists, the International Sculpture Center and the International Association of Contemporary Mosaicists.
Seattle’s Kelley Knickerbocker has been a fulltime artist since 2006, when she founded Rivenworks Mosaics and began designing, fabricating, and installing mosaic artwork for public, commercial, residential, and gallery environments. Her ruggedly dimensional mosaic artworks are a textural distillation of my fascination with the contrast, material properties, and technical challenges of mosaic construction. Kelley’s work is widely collected and regularly exhibited in the United States and abroad. She also travel the world to speak, collaborate, participate in residencies and symposia, and teach in-depth workshops on mosaic style and technique. In 2015, she received the annual Innovation in Contemporary Mosaic award from the American Society of Mosaic Artists.
A professional artist for nearly three decades, Jennifer has been working in mosaic since 2001. Using primarily stained glass, her work ranges from strikingly dimensional figurative and landscape imagery to decorative, stylized installations. Her public art and community projects reflect her strong commitment to environmental sustainability and social justice, and draw on her unusual ability to engage, educate, and create community with all ages and socio-economic groups. Jennifer also creates custom mosaic floors and murals for corporate and private clients across North America. My work has been featured in exhibitions and galleries throughout the country.
Like many artists, Karen discovered her passion for art at a very young age, when clay and drawing classes at the local art association led to a formal education in the arts that included a scholarship to the University of Kansas and a BFA in sculpture from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating, she worked as a mosaic artist in St. Louis and was part of a team that mosaicked thousands of square feet of the ten-story Brown Shoe Company factory. Since moving to Oregon in 2004, Karen has worked on mosaic installations for the Oregon Zoo in Portland, and created pubic mosaics for the city of Ashland and in Grants Pass, McMinnville, Medford, and Talent.
Lynn Adamo has been leading mosaic workshops in Hillsboro, Oregon, through the Walters Cultural Arts Center, Sequoia Gallery + Studios, and in her studio since 2003.
Mark Brody has been teaching in schools and art centers for the past 12 years in Portland, Oregon. He has a fine arts degree in sculpture and a certificate in teaching.
Joanne Daschel teaches glass mosaic at the beginning and intermediate levels at the Lincoln City Cultural Center, the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and Oregon Coast Community College
Kelley Knickerbocker has a full catalog of half-day to multi-day style/technique workshops focused on abstract mosaic design and construction for students at all experience levels.
Jennifer Kuhns teaches advanced workshops for mosaic artists in the Pacific Northwest region and beyond.
The oldest mosaics date to third millennium BC Mesopotamia. In Natural History, Pliny the Elder cites the “perfect illusionism” of mosaics created in the second century BC by Sosus of Pergamon for the floors and walls of opulent Roman villas. For almost a thousand years beginning in the sixth century, the Byzantines built vast cathedrals whose interiors still glow with magnificent mosaics of gold and marble to illustrate the stories of their faith.
For much of human history, mosaic has been among the most exalted of decorative arts—“durable paintings” created by master artisans to humble the faithful, honor the powerful, and decorate the homes of the wealthy.
But in the mid- twentieth century, something transformational occurred as a group of artists in Europe (primarily in Italy) began looking at mosaics for their potential as a medium for self-expression rather than just a vehicle for public decoration. The result has been a remarkable period of creative exploration as artists around the world have adopted and then adapted the tools, methods, and materials of mosaic tradition—often in profoundly radical ways.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, 4,000 years after that first Mesopotamian mosaic was set in mortar, members of the Northwest Mosaic Art Alliance are part of a global movement to mine the possibilities of this ancient tradition for truly modern ends. Drawn to the endless expressive possibilities of stone, glass, and tile—and, today, metal, found objects, and recycled and reclaimed materials of all sorts—using methods and tools that date back to the earliest epochs of human civilization, our work is rich with echoes of the past.
There is much in our work that mosaicists of previous eras would recognize. The process of reducing sheets of hard material into tesserae, the essential units of a mosaic; the quest to build lines that achieve the rhythm and grace of andamento—we share a sensibility and a language with artists and artisans who are remote from us in time and place.
But there is also much that they might find puzzling—even objectionable—as we have pushed far beyond traditional notions of what is appropriate for subject matter, form, and material. Rather than illuminating the tenets of our religion or memorializing the wealth of our patrons, our work reflects a personal search for answers to questions that are deeply personal and inherently political—our response to what it means to be creative human beings in the twenty-first century.